After the Goal
We live in a success-oriented society where there can be significant rewards for personal achievement such as high self-esteem; money; fame; a long life; deep spirituality; a lasting legacy, and so on. It all starts with having clear, challenging goals for yourself (or your company if you’re a business owner). As the old adage goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going,… “ Goals provide you with a clear map.
But you’re probably as sick as I am of hearing about goal setting. “Set 3 – 5 goals for yourself!” “Write them using S.M.A.R.T. criteria!” “Put them in a place where you can see them every day!” “Create a dream board and harness the energy of the universe!” “Rewrite your goals every day because “you become what you think about most of the time!” The goal setting mantra is a constant drumbeat, for good reason, even if it does get annoying. Even I find it tiresome at times.
But honestly, setting the goal is the easy part! The hard part is execution, the day-in, day-out work that has to be done to achieve your goals. So how do you get from point A to point B as efficiently as you can? Here are 5 proven tips for achieving the most important goals in your life:
- Cultivate a success mindset. You’re going after something you want that could change your life and the lives of those around you. Eliminate negative self-talk. Even if you come up short, the journey will be fulfilling and you’ll have grown as a person.
- Define the specific activities that must happen to achieve your goals. Break an annual goal, for example, down into quarterly objectives, which in turn can be broken down into monthly objectives, weekly objectives/activities and then into daily activities. Get as specific as you can about what has to be done, by whom, and by when. Establish clear responsibility for each team member, in writing if necessary, and hold them accountable to executing against the plan.
- One of Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits” is to “Put first things first.” It was his way of saying to not fall victim to “the tyranny of the urgent”. Once you apply priorities to the actions that are needed, schedule them into calendars and hold that time sacrosanct. Use technology to help you stay on-task and on-schedule. Schedule your toughest action first thing in the morning (Eat that frog!) when you have the energy to knock it out: it will propel the rest of your day.
- Schedule regular reviews of progress with the people involved. On track? Great! Off-track? What can be done (by whom, by when) going forward to get things back on track? The more complex or critical the goal, the more often progress reviews should be scheduled – daily if necessary.
- Create a support system of people who believe in you and what you’re trying to do. People who regularly share their progress toward goal achievement with a mentor are 77% more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t.
Goals are necessary for success, but they’re words on a page. Develop the skills and tactics you need to conquer the real-world challenges that stand in the way of you and the success you deserve.