CONRAD Hilton, the founder of the Hilton chain of hotels, said: "Success is made to order." He was right. An achievement is a sum total of many things - talent, aptitude, knowledge and desire.

If you analyse each of your achievements, you will soon discover that it all started with the goal that you wanted to achieve.

Well-defined goals, tackled with competence and confidence through a proper plan of action, are the building blocks of achievements. They are our escalators to tomorrow, a vehicle that takes you to success.

What are some of the important points to remember when you go about setting goals and planning for them?

Set smart goals

It is very important that your goals be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

Put your mind to it

Swami Vivekananda, the influential Indian spiritual leader, is credited with introducing the philosophies of yoga and vedanta (quest for self-knowledge) to America and England.

Once when he was in America, he saw some kids standing on a bridge, shooting eggshells floating in the lake.

The children were always off target. Swami took a gun, stood still for few minutes and then fired 12 shots. Each time it hit an eggshell.

He turned around and told the awestruck boys: "Whatever you do, put your whole mind into it. If you're shooting, your mind should be on the target. If you're learning, think only of the lesson."

Be enthusiastic

The worst bankrupt is the person who has lost enthusiasm. Lose everything but enthusiasm and you will come through your trials and find success.

Of course there will be difficulties and obstacles in life. There are two possible attitudes to take at such times.

One is to let the difficulties discourage you, making you feel helpless and hopeless. That attitude is disastrous. The other way is to cultivate a positive attitude towards what you can do to solve the problem in the best manner possible.

Take effective decisions

Most people have no idea how much stress they can create through indecision.

If you are the kind of person who cannot decide between two courses of action, afraid that the course you choose might turn out to be a mistake, bear in mind that indecision is expensive and nearly always the worst mistake you can make.

Some decisions require a great deal of thought and plenty of information. But once all the facts are available, the successful individual will reach a decision and stop thinking about the various pros and cons, so that he can devote all his energy and effort to making the decision work.

Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the greatest disease that afflicts mankind. Although the disease is widespread, it is important that you do not ignore it.

Successful people do not procrastinate, especially in matters they know are important to them.

As someone has rightly said, "People don't fail because they intend to fail. They fail because they fail to do what they intend to do."