Five Key Steps to Critical Thinking

If you are on a mission to become a better critical thinker  – i.e. analyzing a scenario early on instead of acting on it or forming an opinion based on things like spiritual ideals,  health, wellness, Emotional health, environment and other factors, there are 5 key steps which you need to use to use your thinking to your best advantage. They are: – 

If you are on a mission to become a better critical thinker  – i.e. analyzing a scenario early on instead of acting on it or forming an opinion based on things like spiritual ideals,  health, wellness, Emotional health, environment and other factors, there are 5 key steps which you need to use to use your thinking to your best advantage. They are: – 

1. Practice trouble-solving techniques – begin with considering a particular problem you’ve got. Do this when you have a few spare minutes – for instance when traveling in the car or using the treadmill, when your mind is free from distracting thoughts. 

First, make sure the problem is foremost in your mind. Then, decide what you need to solve the problem. With all the facts clear in your mind, interpret it and start to visualize approaches to solve the trouble. Before acting on your decision you will need to revise your strategy several times to make sure its right for you.

 2.  Give over wasting time – although we all waste time, some of that time may be used to think through problems or issues and remedy them rather than be sorry afterward that we didn’t think it through properly. Become extra aware of your time and begin to make full use of that time by means of working towards better and clearer thinking. For instance, as opposed to playing a game on your computer for an hour, reflect on the day you just had. Ask yourself ”Could I have made it better?” 

3. Redefine situations – as opposed to making up your mind immediately in a snap decision ponder on the state of affairs.   For instance, if you lose the job you really don’t enjoy or like very much, think about the possibilities you now have to make a better life for yourself. Turning a negative situation into a positive one with crucial thinking will let you think about ways to clear up a bad situation 

4.  Become aware of your surroundings and feelings, a heightened sense of awareness could make you intellectually sound. Your thinking becomes clearer and also you’ll realize the significance of what’s going on round you. For example, you could keep a journal of what is happening around you in your daily life, pay attention, examine and analyze what you are feeling in your waking moments. Try to use clear and concise words in your writings. Use analogies to compare and describe things or use pictures and photos to highlight and illustrate what you found. 

5.  Examine the influences in your life – what or whom influences you the most? Do you belong to a club, group that expects certain beliefs, ideals and behaviour of you?  Reflect on and consider the pressures these influences are having on your day-to-day life and if it may be in your best interest to walk away from those pressures.

Crucial thinking will become easier the more you practice. You’ll soon find it easy to analyze situations and make a decision very quickly whether it will add any real benefits to your life or not.

1. Practice trouble-solving techniques – begin with considering a particular problem you’ve got. Do this when you have a few spare minutes – for instance when traveling in the car or using the treadmill, when your mind is free from distracting thoughts. 

First, make sure the problem is foremost in your mind. Then, decide what you need to solve the problem. With all the facts clear in your mind, interpret it and start to visualize approaches to solve the trouble. Before acting on your decision you will need to revise your strategy several times to make sure its right for you.

 2.  Give over wasting time – although we all waste time, some of that time may be used to think through problems or issues and remedy them rather than be sorry afterward that we didn’t think it through properly. Become extra aware of your time and begin to make full use of that time by means of working towards better and clearer thinking. For instance, as opposed to playing a game on your computer for an hour, reflect on the day you just had. Ask yourself ”Could I have made it better?” 

3. Redefine situations – as opposed to making up your mind immediately in a snap decision ponder on the state of affairs.   For instance, if you lose the job you really don’t enjoy or like very much, think about the possibilities you now have to make a better life for yourself. Turning a negative situation into a positive one with crucial thinking will let you think about ways to clear up a bad situation 

4.  Become aware of your surroundings and feelings, a heightened sense of awareness could make you intellectually sound. Your thinking becomes clearer and also you’ll realize the significance of what’s going on round you. For example, you could keep a journal of what is happening around you in your daily life, pay attention, examine and analyze what you are feeling in your waking moments. Try to use clear and concise words in your writings. Use analogies to compare and describe things or use pictures and photos to highlight and illustrate what you found. 

5.  Examine the influences in your life – what or whom influences you the most? Do you belong to a club, group that expects certain beliefs, ideals and behaviour of you?  Reflect on and consider the pressures these influences are having on your day-to-day life and if it may be in your best interest to walk away from those pressures.

Crucial thinking will become easier the more you practice. You’ll soon find it easy to analyze situations and make a decision very quickly whether it will add any real benefits to your life or not.

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HOW TO SET SMART GOALS

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SMART GOALS

 

 

 

We can all struggle sometimes to achieve our goals whether its business or individual goals.   Often our struggle is not because of a lack of effort, but rather how our goals have been structured.

 

Anytime you set a goal and you find yourself struggling keep in mind the word SMART.  SMART is an acronym that can be used to help evaluate and add structure to your goals.   SMART stands for :-

 

Specific

Measurable

Actionable

Relevant

Time Bound

 

SMART begins with asking yourself “how specific is a goal?”


Specific:  This is probably the most important part of establishing or evaluating a goal.   The less specific a goal is the more difficult it is to determine how long the goal should take to complete or how to measure success.

 

Consider the difference between a goal to get healthy versus the goal to lose weight versus the goal to lose 10 kg.  The goal to get healthy is much less specific than a goal to lose 10 kg!

 

Measurable -The next question to ask is “How will I know if I am achieving my goal?” “How is the goal measured?”  What determines success? Some goals may be best measured by a simple yes-or-no, like running a marathon, while other goals are better measured by using metrics such as the goal to specifically lose 10 kg.

 

The key to measurement is making sure that in whatever way the goal is measured, it accurately reflects success.  For instance, if you do not have access to a scale then measuring weight loss will be difficult and less accurate, but an alternative measure may be to track how many inches you have lost around the waist. But, to what extent does this accurately reflect the goal?

 

Without access to a reliable way of measuring weight, we may want to consider buying a scale or restructuring our goal.

 

Actionable is not asking yes or no, but how will the goal be achieved?  What is our action plan? Do we have the resources and capabilities required to achieve success? If not what do we need?    Well-designed goals provide clarity of action. If the actions required to achieve a goal are unclear or there are a large number of actions that need to be taken, we should consider breaking down the main goal into manageable, actionable sub-goals. In isolation any single goal is relevant, but in life we most often are in the process of pursuing multiple goals and having too many goals at the same time.

 

RELEVANT:

 

We need a tool to help us track our goals to make sure we are pursuing our most relevant goals at any given moment in time.   One technique is to place goals in a matrix that looks at effort required versus perceived value of achieving the goal. Not always, but most of the time we will want to focus our energy on low effort high value goals.

 

Another technique is to use the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. Ask, which are the 20% of goals that will provide me with 80% of my return? 

 

Time:  We need to include a specific date by which a goal should be accomplished, it helps provide incentive and allows us to monitor progress.  Consider the difference between the goal to lose 10 kg and the goal to lose 10 kg in 10 weeks. Simply by including an element of time we can now calculate how much we should be losing each week, and if after 5 weeks we have only lost 1 kg, we can revisit our action plan and ramp it up.

 

Goal setting is an on-going process of action, evaluation, and revision.  It is not about lowering goals or standards to ensure success it is about recognizing goals are dynamic, because life is dynamic. We do not live in a static world. Life happens. A goal that is relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow.

 

When using SMART, stay flexible and motivated by setting aside time to re-evaluate your goals on a regular basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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