Wow! what a massive few weeks, I feel like we haven’t chatted for ages. Over the past three weeks, traveling, self-learning, assignments, conferences, client appointments and sickness has consumed me and I’ve loved every minute of it (apart from being unwell of course). Recently, every time I’ve stood in front of a room to introduce myself, I’ve ended up speaking about goals or visions and reminding people how near we are to the end of the year and asking them to check in to see if they are going to achieve the goals they set out this year. It’s important to make sure we are finishing the year strong because productivity is unfortunately about to go out the window. Seven weeks to achieve your goals AND get prepared for Santa coming……… now that’s going to be a challenge.
What I’ve noticed across the board with small business owners is that we are really good at goal setting and not so good at the goal getting! Now, this is not to say that this is true for everyone, but it is definitely true for the majority of people I speak with. And the reason…… we get busy, we lose focus, we get distracted, we don’t check in and we don’t reward ourselves when we achieve our goals, and sometimes, we just set the goals and don’t know why we really set them or how to go about achieving them. Breaking down your goals is like unpacking a set of Russian Dolls.
So here’s the thing – ACTION is the key to your success!
A person whose actions are not aligned with their goals is not being productive. By the definition of productivity, you should be working on things that bring you closer to your dreams, aspirations, vision, and goals. Anything else is relative is a waste of time. It sounds crazy, but by simply doing a check in with yourself at the start of every week during your planning and every morning after you’ve written your list of things to do, and asking yourself one question, “Will this activity help me to achieve my goal?” you will give yourself a huge leg up to stay on track and stay focused.
As the philosopher Elbert Hubbard so eloquently put it, “Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage but simply because they have never organised their energies around a goal.”
According to the best research, less than 3 percent of people have written goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. Even more interesting is the type of goals we tend to set at the start of every year. I found this data on the New Years Resolutions that were set this year by Australians.
The national survey of 1,059 respondents found that 58% of Australians – an estimated 11 million people – broke their New Year’s resolutions this year, with women the more likely to break it (64%) compared to men (54%).
Pretty confronting stuff right! I think what we can draw from this is that it’s all good and well to set goals but what are you doing to make sure you go out and get them and make them a reality? Do you have broken down tasks/steps to make sure you achieve your goals? Do you visualise them, continually remind yourself of them? You want to soak in every aspect of your goal as if it were real in front of you right now. This will help align your focus, your body and your attention to what it is you’re working towards, and make it both possible and real to you.
I’m sure most of you have already heard about SMART goals, it’s certainly not a new concept but one that is handy to refer to when it comes to setting goals we actually want to achieve. Here’s how they work:
‘SMART’ is an acronym for 5 characteristics that help you set well-defined goals:
Say your goal is ‘to lose weight’. Here’s how to make it SMART…
Step1.Make it Specific
‘To lose weight’ is vague. What exactly do you want your weight loss to look like?
-Specific: I’ll fit into my black skinny jeans
-It helps if: You can picture it clearly
Step2.Make it Measurable
How precisely will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What’s at the finish line?
-Measurable: My black skinny jeans will zip up all the way
-It helps if: There’s an objective, defined point
Step3.Make it Achievable
Here you run a reality check. Are you prepared to make the commitment your goal will take? If the skinny jeans are 5 sizes away, are you willing to dramatically alter your life? Is there a more achievable target you are willing to work for?
-Achievable: My black skinny blue bootleg jeans will zip up all the way (choose a smaller achievable checkpoint first)
-It helps if: Your goal and your commitment level are well-matched
Step4.Make it Relevant
Make your goal Relevant to your life and other priorities. If it’s a ‘should’ inherited from someone else or out-of-date thinking, ditch or revise it. For instance, if a weight-loss buddy thinks your goal should be to finish a marathon but you loathe running, competition and the outdoors, choose something else. Make it relevant to you or you’ll run out of steam early on. It has to be relevant to you and what you enjoy!
-Relevant: My black skinny blue bootleg jeans will zip up all the way – which is relevant to my goals of being healthy and looking my best
-It helps if: You aren’t fighting with yourself to reach your objective
Step5.Make it Time-Framed
What’s a reasonable date for achieving your goal? Strike a balance between being so ambitious you never expect to succeed and aiming so low you lack the incentive to try. You can tweak the date as you make progress, that’s the beauty of constantly checking in and measuring your progress.
-Time-Framed: My black skinny blue bootleg jeans will zip up all the way – which is relevant to my goals of being healthy and looking my best – by January 31, 2017.
-It helps if: The time frame is close enough to energise you (sometimes you need a series of smaller broken down checkpoints or milestones to ensure you are progressing at the right rate to achieve the goal within the given timeframe)
If you really want to optimise your chance of goal success, here are a couple of bonus steps you can adopt:
To really boost your likelihood of reaching that outcome, here are some extra questions to ask yourself during goal-setting activities and lists of examples. These move you from planning and strategizing to action.
What resources do you need?
Make a list of all the things, people, and information you need to achieve your objective.
-Ask Sally to be my goal buddy
-Buy comfortable walking shoes
-Buy a rain hoodie
-Get some motivation magazines
What needs to be scheduled in your diary – Make time for your success!
Set an intended time for your activities – make sure you have these allocated in your diary.
-Schedule 3 x 30-minute walks per week
-Schedule 2 x bike rides per week
-Schedule menu planning
-Schedule menu shopping
What milestones are important along the way?
It keeps you motivated if you mark your progress along the way with rewards. Start by deciding which milestones to reward.
-Jeans go over my knees
-Jeans go over my hips
-Jeans zip up with effort
-Jeans zip up comfortably (final)
What recognition will you give for yourself to reach those milestones – Remember to give recognition to yourself along the way to keep up your motivation!
Next, choose your rewards.
-Jeans go over my knees – Get a manicure
-Jeans go over my hips – Get a pedicure
-Jeans zip up with effort – Get a facial
-Jeans zip up comfortably – Get a full-body massage
Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals! If you want to check on your goals for this year and get some help to define some actions to achieve then book in for a session with me and let’s get it done! I’d also love to hear any other tips and tools you use to keep yourself on track to achieve your goals. Let’s finish the year strong and proud of the goals we achieved.