Ready. Set. Goal!
January is nearly half over. How are those resolutions holding up? Thought so. Whether you are setting personal goals, business goals or financial goals we all tend to fall into the same traps. We set goals that are either too numerous, too vague, too big, or unrealistic. It’s easy to get off on the wrong foot. It’s enough to make you decide to throw up your hands in frustration and go eat that piece of chocolate left over from Halloween.
Not to worry, help is on the way. To make and achieve goals you only need to do three things; make no more than three goals and follow the two basic steps to setting goals.
Step 1: Identify the Goals
There are, naturally, three steps to indentifying your goals.
1) Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish.
2) Weight each category as to its importance to you. Total weights should equal 100%
- Biggest impact
- Most Interesting
- Biggest Stretch
- Should do
3) Prioritize the list using these categories ranking each goal from low 1 to high 5. Calculate an overall score for each using the weights and ranking.
Step 2: Make Three Goals
Why no more than three goals? The real answer is rooted in our brains and how we think. The practical answer (supported by research and empirical evidence) is that it is a manageable amount of the extra focus you will need to be successful.
To select your top three goals
• Get a clear picture in your mind of what the future looks like when the goal is achieved. Draw a picture, list adjectives, write an article celebrating the achievement. With the outcome firmly in mind, rewrite the goal in concrete language. Use less than 8 words.
• Review the three goals. Are they really the top three? (Hint, if they are all shoulds, I suggest you rethink them. Starting with a negative often externally derived goal makes it more difficult to put the energy and focus on achieving. )
• Write your final set of goals on a several cards. Leave the cards in visible places; on your desk, your mirror, the door you open to leave the house.
Step 3: Mapping
Mapping is where the rubber hits the road. How are you going to get to the future you envisioned in Step 2?
• Make a list of what you need to do to make it happen. What resources do you need? What is time frame to complete each item on the list? How will you measure progress? Post the list in a prominent place so you can be reminded every day.
• Identify an accountability partner. Who will be your accountability partner? Who will help you stay on track? It is easier if you have someone helping you – and you them. You don’t have to do everything yourself. You many who would look forward to being able to support you in a concrete way.
• Reward yourself along the journey. It is a nice sentiment to think that achieving the goal is reward enough. However, we humans need more tangible rewards. Reward yourself for the milestones on your journey to achieving your goal. Celebrate with your accountability partner when you get there.
As with most things it often helps to start small and short term to build confidence that future big goals are attainable. So don’t delay. Start setting goals that will take you where you want to be.
By Barbara Blake, Longview Associates, LLC