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Take Charge of Your Life Smart DIY Workbook

Ashok Grover

© 2020 Ashok Grover [email protected] +91 9873722083

ISBN: 9781649511843


The Way Forward To make effective changes in your life, you need not make big, elaborate plans; but take some small, practical, on-ground steps that will shape your life journey. Books are a tremendous source of knowledge. However, reading any number of books will not bring improvement in your life, unless you pick up at least one workable idea for yourself and implement the same. Ultimately, it is your action in practice, what makes a difference. This workbook has been designed with a dual purpose - to give the reader implementable effective tips AND further facilitate the process of implementation. And who monitors the same? The most appropriate and effective person… that’s YOU. Keeping this approach in focus, I present this workbook to you. Apparently simple, this practical guide is not a pastime reading; but a workbook that helps you with tips that you can apply in your daily routine with definite measurable action steps. It helps you to track your progress, and the impact on your life will be visible to you as well as the people around. The weekly timeline is only indicative, and you are advised to increase or decrease this timeperiod as per your convenience. You will find it quite interesting and motivating to be in the driving seat and witness the positive changes taking place in your life.

How to use this workbook… A workbook is a WORK book. You will need to read the weekly tip, do some introspection, supplement with related reading if need be, and respond to create your own plan on the following page. Life is already quite complicated. Let us work to make it simpler. If any tip is not very clear to you, do not hesitate to seek help / guidance from someone, you feel can be helpful – including the author. And, against any tip, if you are not able to, or do not feel the need to, make a specific plan, just fill in your views in the following section “moving ahead” and move on to next week’s tip. Why is it necessary? Because, the life is a continuous journey; but not a straight one. In your journey, quite often you should come back and refer to your earlier actions… and make amends. So, do not move further without recording at least “your understanding and views” for the tip of the week.


And just to ensure that you safeguard your resolutions, here are a few simple suggestions: 1. Do not worry if you are not able to achieve 100% of what you want. Yes, aim for 100%, put all your efforts to achieve the same; but do get disheartened just because you have achieved only a part of it. A small setback should never be a allowed to become a cause to snowball into a tendency of giving up. Being partly successful is much better than total failure. Keep going. 2. Make a habit of celebrating and rewarding the achievement of milestones in your journey instead of being extra harsh with your setbacks. Regular review and selfintrospection are important; but too much self-criticism puts brakes on your enthusiasm and hence progress. 3. A strong desire can put you on the fast track; but what will really take you forward is a well laid out track, i.e. a systematic goal setting with proper action plan, milestones, and specific timelines. Therefore, howsoever small your task may be, it should always be taken up in a project like manner. 4. You need to look beyond simple feel-good factor. Add punch to your action by ensuring that you treat your resolutions as what you “need to have” rather than something “nice to have”. Just think about it and feel the difference! 5. Last but the most important point. Focus on action. A good intention and a good plan become a great achievement only if followed by on-ground action. In any case, the journey does not end at the 52nd week. You can give it a re-start and even while with the same tips, it will be another enjoyable and fulfilling journey. And here is the bonus! In the following pages, one of the tips is about collaborative learning. To facilitate it further, a social group has been formed at LinkedIn. In this exclusive open forum, you can share your views, seek feedback / suggestions, and learn from each other. You are invited to join this group TCYL Champions at https://bit.ly/TCYL-DIY, to accelerate and enrich your developmental journey. So, dear reader, now is the time to take charge, be your own master and move ahead… Bon voyage!

S m il e s mart






Ashok Grover


The journey begins…



Getting ready Week


GOAL SETTING & BEYOND – SIX STEPS TO SUCCESS Setting goals does not only motivate you, but can also improve your mental health and guide you towards higher levels of personal and professional success. As such, goal setting is considered to be an integral part of any improvement plan. It helps trigger new behaviours, keeps you focused and helps you maintain the momentum in life. Even though not an easy one, the process need not be boring. If taken up in a systematic, planned and step-by-step manner, it will make your journey exciting and enjoyable. Moving ahead, there are six steps involving some fundamental principles that ensure success or otherwise of your efforts. Let us have a look at these steps. 1.

SETTING GOALS - While working out your Personal Improvement plan, the first step is to set definite goals. Otherwise, even your strenuous efforts remain scattered and most of the times, pull you in different directions. The following guidelines need to be kept in mind to set effective goals: •

Analyze what you want: Before deciding on any goal, ask yourself whether you really want it. It should not be something which others want you to do or just because, it sounds good. Even if it is an organizational goal, you must personalize and own it, if it is to be achieved by you.

Write your goals: Many a times, you feel that all your goals are clear in your head. It is only when you put them in writing, you realize how clear or otherwise you were about them. Written down goals bring clarity on one hand, and on the other, enhance your commitment to yourself.

Express all your goals in a positive manner: Goals should be stated positively – “Be punctual in the meetings” makes much better sense than a goal like “Don't get late in the meetings.” Your subconscious mind simply works in the direction provided by the straight instructions rather than analyzing the same.

Be specific: Avoid vagueness while setting goals. The tracking becomes meaningless if the goal is not specific. “Earning a lot” and “Getting rich” are vague expressions because they have no finishing line. If you really do not want to limit yourself, you can go on with a goal, and set another one, after achieving it. 7

Start small: When you are starting with your action plan, begin with small goals, which can be achieved with small effort. If a goal is really large, then break it can into smaller ones so that the progress is visible, and you have a reason to reward yourself and get encouragement to move ahead faster.

Set performance goals, not outcome goals: While you can have a reasonable control on your personal performance, the same may not be true for the outcome. To score 90% in a competitive examination is a better goal as compared to top in the class. Even if really topping in the class is your goal, and your competitor is at 88%, you can target 90 or 91% considering what he or she can achieve and what your capabilities are. Performance goals are more specific and motivate you to have a more specific plan. On the other hand, they do not put you down, when you are not able to achieve it for the reasons beyond your control.

Goals should be realistic: While fantasy and imagination are a desirable part of life, goal setting must be on the ground. Having a goal of working with an MNC in Mumbai and another one living in a mansion in a hill station contradict each other and hence far from reality. Most of the efforts made to achieve both these goals will go waste and be a source of disappointment.

Make it measurable: You must have some yardstick to know how much you have progressed towards your goal and whether you have achieved it. A goal should be measurable in terms of a number or an event, bringing in clarity on the issue of having achieved your goal. Reaching your goal makes you feel more confident and builds momentum in your journey. This is a clear-cut way to know that it is the time and reason to celebrate!

Have achievable goals: Just wanting to achieve something is not enough. You have to work for it. Therefore, it is especially important to set goals that are aspirational or what you may term as stretch goals; but achievable. Very often parents and employers tend to set unrealistic goals for you without realizing your desires, ambitions, and capabilities. You yourself may be tempted to set goals that are too high, because either you may not appreciate the obstacles likely to come in the way, or may not realize how much skill you need to develop to achieve the targeted performance. The result in such cases, can be only frustration.

Set priorities: Starting with many goals at the same time is something that cannot and should not be avoided. However, to facilitate implementation, you need to 8

prioritize them. This helps you to avoid confusion due to occasional ‘too much to handle’ syndrome. Prioritization will enable you to concentrate your attention on the more important ones. 2.

CHARTING OUT ROADMAP - Having a goal, you need to work out a roadmap to achieve the same. You cannot reach a goal unless there is a definite detailed plan to realize the same. •

List down activities: A roadmap is a list of the activities or tasks you need to perform and complete in order to achieve the goals you have set. These must be specific, doable activities, which you can put into practice rather than nicely sounding statements. Needless to mention that these make your efforts meaningful and tracking becomes easier. These activities are not random, but carefully chosen ones, as will become clearer in the following lines.

Individual contribution:

Estimate how much each of the above-mentioned

activities would contribute to your overall goal. It is necessary to ensure that all your efforts put together help you to achieve your targeted level or more. If it is not so, either you need to add more activities or have a relook at the contribution of each activity and still if it is not adding to the desired level, there is a need to have a serious thought whether the goal set is realistic. Maybe you need to go back to the basics and question your own wisdom in setting those goals! 3.

IDENTIFYING INFLUENCERS – Since none of us can work in isolation, you need to list down all the factors, which may influence your efforts aimed at putting into practice the roadmap activities to achieve your goals. •

Facilitating Factors: Factors that help you achieve your actions, must be listed down so that you make real use of them to leverage your efforts and multiply the resultant outcome. The list would be a helpful reminder for making best use of these positive elements in order to achieve your goals.

Hindering Factors: Similarly, all the factors that may come in your way to accomplish what you want to, need to be summarized. By listing them, you can have a proactive approach to ensure that they are taken care of before starting your efforts. Also, if some of them are unavoidable, you can suitably modify your targets / expectations from specific activities to reach at more realistic figures. This will indemnify you from missing on the targets resulting into demotivation and / or blaming circumstances or your luck. 9


WATCH THE TIMELINE – Any activity without a specific timeline is just a wishful thinking. While the journey may be long, you will need to have a timeframe to achieve what you desire. •

Be realistic: Being too optimistic and putting impractical tight timelines results into failures and demotivation. At the same time, being too pessimistic and liberal allows you to drag more than required and you lose interest and enthusiasm. A balanced approach needs to be adopted to have practical timeframes.

Be precise: Be tough with yourself. Do not accept vague timelines. When you say December 2021, you may mean December 31, 2021. Don’t mean it, specify it as December 31, 2021. Similarly, mid-April will not do. It can be April 15 or April 16. Avoid phrases like First week of March, early January, end December et cetera. Such vagueness helps you to cheat yourself. You certainly don’t want that!


USE THIS TEMPLATE – Here is a template you can use for each of your goals. Spend enough time checking out all the aspects to work out a detailed plan. You will be amazed to see how it works! GOAL SETTING TEMPLATE GOAL



Expected Contribution to the goal


ROADMAP Activity



People/ Material/ Activities

People/ Material/ Activities



REVIEW WITH PERSISTANCE – After making a plan of action, what is required is the ACTION. A carefully developed plan itself is a big motivation, since you can visualise the results coming to shape. Still, what you need to remember is the simple mantra – Never, never, never give up! Regular review is required to ensure that you maintain focus on your activities towards goals, and personal development remains your high priority. There can always be a risk to side-line your development plans, especially if you have just started a new job or course of study. But a regular review of your development plan keeps the process on track. The review is a reflective process, which will tell you if there is a need of some course correction. It essentially has three main purposes: •

To confirm that you have really followed your development plan;

To confirm that your plan has helped you move towards your goals; and

To assess if some of your goals need updating, or are even no longer valid.

A systematic review process can therefore lead to the revision of both your goals, as well as planned development activities. Remember that the aim is to ensure that you trek the path that takes you where you want to go. If you follow the above six steps, you do not need anyone to guarantee your success. Success will be yours, successively!


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