Have you ever set a personal goal for yourself and have those goals eventually…slip away?
We’ve all been there. Take New Year’s resolutions, for example. Every year, we set some goals for ourselves such as quitting smoking, exercising more, preparing healthy meals, etc.
Unfortunately, for many of us, by the fourth week of January, we find ourselves off course and eventually our goals are abandoned. We assure ourselves that we’ll try again next year. And the cycle continues…
Now is Always the Perfect Time
We all know that hours quickly become weeks, and weeks turn into months. Before we know it, a year or two have passed and we’re left wondering where all that time went. Did we make the best use of it?
However, we all struggle with balancing perfection and execution.
Taking Action Can Be Difficult.
Turning plans into reality is hard work. I see it in the work that I’ve done both as a solopreneur and corporate leader.
Without the benefits of a set routine, proper planning, and periodic assessments, it is not uncommon to go off course.
You may have heard the saying that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Well, I think that is true. But, I’d like to take it one step further:
A plan without action is just a shame.
So, let’s assume you have a plan to accomplish something that is important to you at work. How do you translate that plan into action so that you don’t a) waste time working on the wrong things, and b) look back a year from now and wonder where all the time went and become discouraged.
For those who want some sure-fire ways to make any of your plans a reality, pay close attention.
In this article, you will learn five techniques that you can immediately start using to help you achieve any goal!
Five Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals:
1. Focus on a small set of goals.
The more you try to do, the less you will likely accomplish. Stick to 3-4 goals and make sure they are SMART. What does SMART mean?
Specific: Ensure that your goals are very specific so that you know what they will look or feel like when you are done.
Measurable: If you don’t know what success looks like, then how will you know that you have achieved it? Pick a measure (quantitative or qualitative) that will let you know you have hit your goal. For example, if you just launched your business, does success mean having 50 new clients in a year or enough work for 30 hours/week? Pick the measure that makes the most sense for you.
Achievable: We all like to have lofty goals, but try to break the big ones down into manageable chunks that you can complete.
Realistic: Be honest with yourself, and keep your goals realistic. Otherwise, you risk falling short and feeling constant disappointed.
Time sensitive: Set time expectations around your goals so that you don’t get stuck in the same place and are always moving the ball up the field.
2. Act on lead measures.
What are lead measures? Simply put, the specific actions that will help you to achieve a goal are your lead measures.
For example, let’s say your goal is to close more new business in the next quarter. Well, a lead measure to influence this goal might be to increase the number of calls you make to existing clients to learn more about them and their needs. For instance, set a goal to take 5-6 of your best clients to lunch or breakfast. As you meet with them, you’ll learn more about them personally and how they are using your product or services. You may also learn more about any future plans they may have. You may even be able to help them with their new business problems directly or through a referral.
Lead measures are actions you can influence.
As you can see, if you’re not making the calls and meeting with current customers, how are you going to close any new deals? The lead actions play a key role in predicting the achievement of your goal.
The saying “today’s actions are tomorrow’s results” really captures the importance of lead measures. You will be surprised by how focusing on actions that you can influence will help you achieve your goals.
3. Review your progress often and adjust when needed.
Let’s face it, our progress on achieving our goals will not always be steady. Life is complicated, and sometimes we have to take breaks or detours. Making the time to regularly review your progress is an important step towards success. Through this process, we may discover that we should change our goals. Or, we may set new goals to keep the momentum going.
Scheduling this review time in my calendar, well in advance, has really helped me stay true to this tip. I schedule a one-hour meeting with my teams, typically after a major project milestone, to reflect and measure progress on project and performance goals.
I believe this action will help people perform better individually and as a team to achieve the results they are looking for.
That is the point of this tip. Many people get discouraged and give up when they get off course, but you don’t have to. There are always ways around roadblocks. You just have to look for them. So, take your plan, decide what you can scale down or change up, to enable you to keep moving forward.
4. Document commitments publicly.
As you focus on steps 1-3 above, talk to your spouse, friends, family members, or work colleagues and team members about your goals and your progress. This public commitment, along with the act of writing your goals down, will help you stay on track and provide you with insight and support from the people who matter most to you. So, go ahead and share. You just might find that it adds a new level of energy to your daily actions.
5. Celebrate your successes!
It’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I always encourage people to celebrate successes, even the small ones. It’s a great achievement when you complete or learn something from your plan.
Turning Plans Into Actions is a Process.
Well, there you have it: some ways to transition your plans into actions and set yourself up for success. These tips can be used in many areas of your life whether it be personal or team projects.
What are your thoughts on using planning strategies that achieve business or life goals?