Of bucket lists, goals, and all things related

It was the Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman 2007 cult movie ‘The Bucket List’ that really made those words eponymous. When the movie was released, many of my generation started making their first bucket list. Mine had ‘meeting Bryan Adams’ as one of the top dreams to achieve if possible. Of course, little was I to know that in 2011 Bryan Adams would be in Mumbai and that I would, like a love-struck girl, be willing to stand for seven hours just to listen to his melodious voice.

Next came swimming. Learning Kathak. Visiting my school friend in Australia. As I ticked each item off the list, the list never really shortened. Some more lost dreams resurfaced. If you have a bucket list like I do, I am sure most of you look at it often and makes plans to fulfill at least some dreams. After all, we live only once.

And then there are goals. Goals that help us live in the moment and the present. Goals, which give us a sense of purpose and direction. 

There’s a note towards the end of American Actor Mathew McConaughey’s 2020 memoir ‘Greenlights’.  The note, dated September 01, 1992, is a list 10 goals that Mathew wants to achieve in life. The beauty of this note is that Mathew had forgotten all about it and memories came rushing by as he was going through his diary while writing Greenlights. What this shows is that even if you have written your goals down somewhere and never thought of them for a long long time, over the years subconsciously you may have perhaps been working towards achieving them. 


Barriers to goal setting:

While it is easy to pen down our bucket list, many of us get struggle when it comes to articulating clear-cut goals. Even when organisations have systems and processes in place that make you write goals every year, we tend to fall into classic traps that make this whole exercise overwhelming and laborious. As a consequence, people tend to put off writing down clear goals and instead stay tuned in getting the job done on a day-to-day basis.

  • Too many goals 

Do not try to make a long big list. Gone are those days when one had to have a minimum number of goals. Today, many organisations have adopted the ‘flexible’ goal setting scenario wherein you can stay focused on achieving just one or two clear goals.

  • Role ambiguity

One of the top excuses given for shrugging off this very important exercise is ‘I don’t know what my job is.’ There is never going to be that perfect ‘job description’ that has listed all your tasks to the T. That is a myth. Doing tasks that are not listed down in the JD is part and parcel of everyone’s life – question is – how clear you are on what you wish to achieve. Works towards that clarity. 

  • Self-doubt and fear of failing

If you don’t have a goal, you can’t fail in not achieving them, can you?! How easy it is for us to let self-doubt engulf our rational thinking and stop us from listing down our goals. To overcome this fear of failure and rejection, it is important that you write down your goals, break them into manageable tasks and tick off each task as you go along the journey.

As you build your goals, be kind to yourself. Be patient. Goal setting is a journey and you need to celebrate every small win and victory.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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