How to set Goals in Life? 11 Practical Ways to Select Goals

This is the master guide to set goals in life. This post will use the reference of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of Bharat. Because he had achieved Nobel laurels coming from humble beginnings. 

This is this step by step guide to set goals in life.

How to decide your goal, detailed guide to select the right target, 11 tips to choose your aim, can my passion be my career, happiness or success

Step 1: What is the right question to ask? 

While evaluating your aim, what should be the right questions to ask? Don't decide your goal by asking yourself 'what shall I become?' instead, ask yourself 'what shall I do'? 

Why? Because several factors decide what you become. It is not in your hands to become something, say a certified doctor, engineer, lawyer or politician. 

But, what you will be doing in the long run, is definitely in your hands. 

If you are passionate about treating others with kindness, whether or not you have a certificate, you are a doctor. 

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam decided very early that he will work in the field of flight. He aspired to become a pilot in the Indian Air force. He got 9th rank on the merit list. The first 8 got an entry into the academy. Abdul Kalam faced failure. 

Nonetheless, he never left the field of aeronautics. He was fascinated by aeronautics. He accepted the failure and moved on to become a junior scientist in DTDP. 

Had he become the pilot, Bharat would have lost one of the finest presidents in history. 

Therefore, while deciding your aim, the first question to ask yourself is what shall you do in the long run and not what shall you become. 

Life is like a test cricket match and not a one-day cricket match. It does not test you occasionally, it tests you every day, every minute. 

Step 2: Put happiness over success 

Why happiness over success one would ask. Take the example of an Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput. My Indian fellow citizens might answer this question correctly. Was Sushant Singh Rajput successful? Yes. 

Was he happy? No. 

Therefore he had committed suicide in the year 2020. 

It is okay not to get success in life. But it is not ok not to be happy.

Happy people may or may not achieve success. But at least they are happy. 

Therefore while setting up goals, choose happiness before success. 

Step 3: Why set a goal? 

The reason for setting a goal is that it helps you to focus on one task. It does not divert you. 

At one point in your educational career, you have to choose majors/subjects. When you don't know what to choose, you become sad. But once you finish selecting, you get happy. Because now you know where you need to focus. 

Hence choosing a goal always helps. 

Step 4: Be positive while choosing the goal 

Sometimes people become negative while deciding goals. Once a girl told me that she would opt for a job after completing her engineering. Her family owns a business worth millions, but she still wants to do a job. When asked "why"? she replied "if my marriage fails in future. We will have to take divorce. I will be on my own. At least then, I will be standing on my own feet." 

It seems that the lady is not preparing herself for a job, but a divorce. Such a negative approach is bad while choosing a goal. It prevents you from choosing big and positive aims. 

Hence, be clever about your approach. Else, by the fear of failing you would choose small goals.

Step 5: What to choose between job and business 

I have written a detailed post on what to choose between a job and business. You can read it here.

Job vs Business, what to choose?

The conclusion is that business is a far better option than a job. 

The people who have a family business and that business involve no violence, there is nothing like it. You should go for it. You should expand the existing business of yours. This should be your priority. 


Because, unlike startups, you already know your business. You know where the merchandise comes from, where it would sell. What would sell? You already have answers to these questions. Whereas it would take a novice 10 years of experience to get the knowledge like yours. 

You would live a happy life if you are into your family business. It looks pathetic when in a family business, the owner has 4 servants of his own. And, his son is working in the company of others. 

Step 6: To those who are preparing for government exams 

Government entrance exams are held in every country. They have another level of difficulty in India. Pupils in India appear for an average of 5 to 6 times (which means 5 to 6 years they spend) in civil service exams before getting into it. 

To the pupils who have already failed 5 to 6 times, it is high time that you should move on and decide on another career option. There are ample of those. 

Why do you want to compete with others when you are unique? Suppose your arms become your legs then you would become an animal. Then why should everyone be the same, fighting for the same position? Your selection in any of these exams is not in your hands. Most of it depends on the other person's point of view say, the evaluation committee or the interviewer. 

Moreover, the chances of getting success in any of such exams are less than 0.1 %. 

For example, the number of students who appeared for UPSC 2020 was 10 lacs, out of these only 796 vacancies were there. 

The probability of your success can be determined by the simple maths: 

(800 / 1000000) * 100 = 0.08 %.

Step 7: Can you have more than one aim?

It is wise to keep two open options, say A and B. If I cannot achieve goal A then goal B is available. This will ensure that success is near.

Step 8: Decide your goals keeping your capacity in mind

I have seen people wasting their time in futile expectations of the future. 

Students know their capacity, that they cannot clear the exam upon them. They fail to clear the exams. But still, they aspire for their dreams. Such students are simply wasting their time and their parents' money. 

One such girl was there in India, who aspired to clear the NEET exam and become a doctor. Her brother was intelligent. He cleared the exam in the first attempt and saved a seat in government medical college, whose fees was rupees 8 lacs for the entire 5-year course. 

The girl could not clear the NEET exam. She was adamant about her decision to become a doctor. She made his parents sell their piece of real estate, to submit the fees of the private medical college. The fees were 45 lacs for 5 years. 

Don't be adamant about your decision if it requires this high capital investment. Be wise enough to choose your dreams. 

What would such a person do, when she is in debt of 1 crore and becomes a doctor? She would like to cease this amount from her patient's pockets. The doctor's aim would then change from serving the patients with kindness to stealing their money. 

Therefore choose your goals keeping your capacity and parents' investment into consideration. 

Step 9: Should earning money be the sole aim of life? 


Why? Let's look at the story below. 

There was a king. He used to pray a lot. One day God appeared to him and asked "my child what are you seeking". 

The king replied, "your majesty, can you bless me with the power that anything I touch here should turn into gold. 

The god gifted him with the power and disappeared. The next moment, the king experimented with his gift and touched the palace, it turned into gold. He would touch his thrones in his palace. They turned into gold. The king danced with joy. 

After some time, the king got hungry and ordered food. When we started to eat, upon touching his food, it turned to gold. 

Now the King became sad. He wanted to relax. He went for a nap where he saw his daughter coming towards him. He bowed towards his daughter to hug her when her daughter turned to gold. The king lamented and asked God to lift the spell. 

You see we human beings do not eat gold and diamond, we eat dal-chapati. 

You might have heard of Ravana and his palace - Lanka. His palace was built up of 24-carat gold. But, Ravana was hated by everyone. 

Money doesn't buy you fame. It is your personality that makes you great or a loser. 

Step 10: Should you decide your goals based on other people's opinions? 

You should not decide your goal based on other people's opinions. Why? How hard you try, the world won't understand and recognise you. 

Once a couple was travelling with their horse. All three of them were moving separately. People saw this and remarked "how foolish are they! They are having a horse, still, they are walking. 

Observing this, the husband sat on the horse and the wife decided to keep walking. Seeing this, again some people remarked "how rude is the husband that he left his wife moving on her feet." 

The couple then exchanged their positions. The husband started walking and the wife sat on the horse. Watching this, again some people remarked, "women are growing stronger than men, that woman is riding and man is walking. 

Both of them decided to sit on the horse. Watching this some people remarked, "humans are keeping no sympathy with animals. How sad it is that heavy humans are riding on a poor animal. 

This is the situation of the world. Therefore don't let other people decide your future. Let your passion and good intention decide your aim. Step 

11: Should you aim for competitive goals? 

No, you should not. Because you are unique. 

In the words of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, "every one of you is unique. The people around you are doing their best to make you like everybody else." 

Albert Einstein once said, "you cannot judge a fish on her capacity to climb a tree." 

I have shared with you everything that you need to know while determining your goal. 

I hope that you will follow this guide and achieve endeavours in future. 

- Digambar Muni Nirveg Sagar

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