Work In Progress: Goals are promises

Yom Kippur is a day of repentance and a time to reexamine our personal and professional goals.

Office desk 370 (photo credit: Wikicommons)
Office desk 370
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
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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.
Yom 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 future accordingly.

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