It’s that time of the year again. Early January gets our mind thinking towards our goals and what we want to achieve. How to get our goals achieved in another year filled with changes, almost weekly, will be challenging, but not impossible.
Here are some guidelines that you can follow to start working towards the finish line of some of your goals.
Achieving goals is a two-part process. In order to help my clients become successful and accomplish goals, I’ve developed a system that is broken down into two parts. One part involves digging deeper and getting clear on the motives of the goals, and the other are figuring out the road map or system for achieving the goals. Both are equally important.
Part One – Laying the Groundwork
In the first part, we look at three questions that help a person clarify their internal process to validate why getting their goal is important in the first place. With this validation, you are more likely to be successful in reaching the finish line for your goals.
1-What’s Right and What Needs to Change
All change starts with being honest with yourself. The best way to bring up the truth about your state of mind is to ask yourself uncomfortable questions. Tap into your emotion of pain of what may not be fulfilling or what may be irritating to you. These questions can look like:
Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Feeling like something could be better? What’s missing? Will accomplishing this goal make it better? Will it help you to make more impact on the world? Will it fill that emptiness now?
If you’re like most people, you avoid pain at all costs and run towards pleasure. I’m not saying that you should live in discomfort all the time, but it is worthy to spend some energy trying to get the root of your pain. And more importantly, how the will achieving this goal will help to solve the emotional suffering that exists at this very moment in your life?
2- What Do You Want?
Ask the ordinary person and they’ll tell you what they don’t want. Examples of these answers are “I don’t like my job” or “my partner doesn’t understand me” or “I don’t enjoy going to my gym so I stopped exercising.” Most people understand more clearly know what they don’t want because pain, as explained above, is an excellent communicator.
Are you willing to have the courage to start on your goals? Or is it that you’re simply frustrated with some areas in your life and you want to whine these emotions to friends. And that’s great. Find a friend, grab a beer and download. We are trying to determine how important getting the goal is to you and how much energy you will be putting towards achieving it.
3-Why do you want it?
One of the most important steps is getting clarity around the reasons that you want to accomplish this goal or dream. By understanding the importance of a goal, we can understand the emotions and motivation behind achieving the goal. This emotional energy can determine your “skin in the game” of completing the goal. It’s the juice that carries you to the finish line.
Imagine that you’ve achieved your goal? How do you feel? What is it giving you (i.e status, more money, better health)? Why are these things important to you? What would it feel like if you ignored getting this goal? What would happen in your life?
Part II – Create a System and Measure Your Success
One of my favorite sayings is “A wish stays a wish until you put action behind it.” Unless you determine how you’re going to achieve your goals, it will remain on the wish pile.
You’re going to break up the large picture goal into milestones and then into small tasks.
For example, let’s say your “Big Goal” is to reach more prospective clients digitally over the next 4 months. You could start to organize the milestones into various categories, such as paid and non-paid advertising. Let’s focus on non-paid advertising. Your tasks within this category would be posting on social media and blogging.
Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. Define deadlines for yourself that are realistic. When the target date comes and goes, you’ll be able to track your success.
For your social media and blogging, you then create tasks on a daily or weekly basis to achieve this goal. A realistic goal could involve posting four times weekly and writing in your blog twice weekly.
This is the system that you are building to reach those clients – one task at a time with a specified time that can be measured.
Tracking Your Progress
Next is the fun part – tracking your progress. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your Big goal. Record the metrics of your progress each week. Did you post your social media campaigns 3 times? If not, what got in the way?
If you fail to achieve tasks, then perhaps it’s time to problem-solve the reasons and rethink better strategies for making the task easier to complete. Maybe you need to pull in additional resources to help you reach this goal, like a digital marketing firm to take over the social media responsibilities so you can focus on other, business building areas.
When you’ve reached your goal, don’t forget one important aspect. Celebrate your achievements! In pre-Covid days, this could be a massage, fancy dinner or buying that favorite pair of shoes that you’ve had your eye on for a while.
Achieving Goals for the Long-Game
One of my favorite quotes is by James Clear who wrote “Atomic Habits.” He state
“Goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.”
He writes that a goal-oriented mind-set can create a “yo-yo” effect. Clear gives the example of competitive runners, where they may work hard for months, but as soon as they cross the finish line, they stop training. They have no motivation to keep up the training and discipline after they goal is accomplished. And perhaps continuing the goal is no longer meaningful.
Yet, if you could take the lessons learned from getting one goal and transfer that system and process to accomplishing others, you wouldn’t have to recreate the wheel. Old habits, that were detrimental to making positive changes, can also be eliminated on a long-term basis. And, your success could be more assured.
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