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Throughout the year we create many goals for
ourselves in both our personal and professional lives. A goal is a kind
of promise that we make to ourselves. Perhaps there is no better time to
examine how we make and keep those promises than on Yom Kippur.
Kippur opens with one of the most famous Jewish prayers, “Kol Nidre.”
These Aramaic words mean, “All our vows.” On Yom Kippur we examine the
vows and promises that we have made over the past year, to others, to
God and to ourselves.
Setting defined goals is an important
aspect of job search, career planning and our work life. It is vital to
analyze our goals, how we created them, what we did to achieve them, as
well as where we struggled and fell short. Taking this time to reflect
on the past and plan for the future, here are five guidelines for
success in achieving our goals:
1. Be specific about the goal.
“Send out resumes,” is not specific. “Send out 10 resumes per week,” can
be measured over time. It is clear when the goal has been accomplished.
Create a schedule. Designate time to work towards the goal. Stick to
the schedule by dedicating that time exclusively to the goal. Turn off
electronic devices or alerts if they are too distracting to avoid.
Reevaluate, reexamine, reflect and redefine. It’s important for a goal
to be both challenging and manageable. Setting unreasonable goals will
lead to dejection or failure. Take a step back to see what progress has
been made and how far is left to go. It is vital to adjust deadlines and
targets along the way.
4. Focus on positive behaviors. Goals
should include positive actions. For example, “I will take a twenty
minute walk when I feel frustrated” instead of “I will not give up for
the day when I feel frustrated.”
5. Don’t overdo it. Setting too
many goals or goals that may hinder each other will be overwhelming and
lead to burn out. Limit goals to a set of activities that can be
successfully achieved in a set amount of time.
In the solemnity
of Yom Kippur there is also joy in knowing we will be forgiven.
Likewise, we must have compassion for ourselves. We must honestly
confront our mistakes and short comings, learn from them and plan the
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