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Difference Makers for Achieving Goals
As we round the corner into Q2, it’s time to revisit our goals. Remember those?
Chances are that you took a lot of time setting them in early January, but might have lost track of them as life got busy and you focused on the dumpster fire
immediately in front of you.
From my experience, goal setting is the easy part.
It’s the goal reaching that’s hard because there’s a lot that can get in the
Maybe you’re overly ambitious . . .
Or perhaps life gets in the way . . .
Or you face an unexpected obstacle . . .
Or maybe you’re just too busy.
So, how do you stay on track? Here are six ideas for achieving your goals.
#1: MIND YOUR MINDSET
First, it’s important to reflect back on the quarter that just ended. Too often
we’re hard on ourselves when we don’t make progress on our goals.
We fail to give ourselves credit for what we have accomplished – the progress we’ve made.
Here are three ways to reframe your thinking:
- Celebrate small wins.
What step or steps toward your goal did you make in Q1?
- Reflect on the journey.
What did you learn about yourself in Q1?
- Consider unexpected benefits
What is a related benefit from the progress you made or actions you
#2: THINK BIG
Now that you’ve given yourself grace on where you may have fallen short,
think about how this goal will change your life.
To create that vision, I love an exercise that Rich Litvin uses:
Fast-forward to a year from today. You’re catching up with a friend and
toasting your success. You say to your friend:
“You won’t believe it… ___________________________”
Hold on to that vision to propel you towards this important goal.
#3: START SMALL
What is the smallest step you can take towards your goal this week?
According to the progress principle, taking incremental steps toward a goal provides a sense of accomplishment and contributes to positive emotions (e.g., endorphins),
which in turn increases motivation and forward movement.
In other words, momentum begets momentum. Starting small gets the flywheel moving.
#4: BEFRIEND YOUR CALENDAR
Next, you need well-designed habits that keep you on track to achieving your goals.
You’ve probably read about time blocking. If you’re not doing it, now is the time. There’s a correlation between productivity and staying on track with your goals. I’ve written before about using your calendar to get overwhelm under control.
The same tactics will support your efforts to reach your goals. Start with designing your week. Block time on your calendar each Friday to reflect on the week that’s past and plan for the week ahead. Then, create a daily close-out routine. Carve out five minutes to bring your workday to a close.
Dan Pink author of, WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, takes two to three minutes to write down what he accomplished for the day-his very own “I did it” list! Then he spends two to three minutes planning his next day. Next, schedule regular goal check-ups. Just like going to the doctor and dentist for regular check-ups, Adam Grant, author of Think Again, recommends doing the same for your career, business and life. These scheduled reflection times allow you to pause, reflect and activate a rethinking cycle.
#5: FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
One of the most effective ways to stay on track with your goals is with an accountability partner-a colleague, a friend, a peer advisory group or a coach. According to a study by the American Society of Training and Development, you have a 65% chance of reaching your goals with an accountability partner.
That chance of success increases to 95% if you establish an ongoing appointment with your accountability partner. (There’s the power of your calendar again.) During your regular check-ins, report on what’s working, what’s not and what’s next. Look to your accountability partner for ideas, encouragement and support.
#6: DON’T STAY STUCK
If you currently feel stuck, don’t stay there.
My number one way off getting unstuck is connecting with others-catch-up conversations, coffees, walk-talks, networking events and mastermind groups. The energy and ideas I gain from these connections are usually all I need to get the flywheel moving again. Even when time is at a premium, carving out 30 minutes or an hour a week for networking and conversations pays dividends.
(Yep, back to #3 again — time blocking is key to making things happen.)
Now that you’re armed with a few ideas, my hope is that you’ll think about pursuing your 2022 goals with more intentionality. To put these ideas into action, download my How to Be a GoalGetter worksheet and get started right now.
[An earlier version of this article was published on SmartBrief on Leadership.]