Need to get back on track with how to set goals and achieve them? It's not too late to finish this year successfully. Follow these 5 steps to end it with a bang, not a whimper.
It's not too late to make this year great
Don't look now. School has started and we’re on the quick downhill slide into the new year. While the start of school brings relief to some of us on the Strategy 11 team (wink), there's also a rush that sets in. We've started to assess the remainder of the year and where we're at with accomplishing priorities.
In light of the fact that this year is more than half over, our team has been batting some ideas back and forth about how to make ourselves more productive in managing priorities. Sometimes goals compete with each other for priority. Without crystal clear, measurable goals and prioritization of those goals, a roadmap becomes impossible. During last team meeting, Steph tackled the topic of goals and I mentioned some helpful tactics that have worked for me. Because Steph always thinks about Formidable users first, she asked if I would share these things with you too.
I'll be honest. I'm one of those with ambivalent feeling about goal setting. This is because I know they have value but I've also experienced failure in the past with set goals. I am fired up and determined that I'm going to end this year differently. After some reading up on what has worked for some of the most successful people out there, here are five steps I'm implementing this month. I invite you to join me.
Let's not wait until Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer shows up on PBS! We can make a big difference yet this year. If this resonates with you, I challenge you to set aside some hours in the next week to focus on your goals.
Step 1: Be honest about where you are
It's recommended to use pen and paper for this. Get situated with no distractions in a place where reflection comes easiest to you. Take inventory in the areas you wish to move forward. Is this a professional goal setting session? Then take inventory professionally. Is it a personal session? Then write down everything about where you are in your personal life. Don't spare yourself the details. Is it an overarching goal setting session? Then be sure to have plenty of time for your assessment.
You can't know how to get where you're going unless you first know where you are. With anything in life this is true, but no truer than with goals.
Write down where you are.
Step 2: Picture it
The way to picture successful achievement is to actually see yourself after the success. One way of doing this is to picture what it would look like if you had the best year of achievement of your life.
Envision wrapping up the week after Christmas. Envision that instead of bemoaning 10 pounds of holiday weight gain, that you've just finished the best year of your life. Now, what does it look like?
If you've had a particularly rough year or current circumstances are creating a serious uphill climb for the remainder of this year, then modify your vision. Instead, ask the question "what would POSITION me to have the best year of my life next year?" Modify your goals into smaller goals that will position you for success next year.
Having trouble picturing it? Imagine yourself telling your mother, your best friend, your mentor or your coach what made this the best year of your life in terms of what you accomplished.
Step 3: Write it down
Write down what you have visualized. Do a little free writing here. Allow yourself to write in sentences instead of bullet points, if you'd like. Or paragraphs, if you find them coming to you. Once you have your picture in your mind's eye, commit it to paper. If it's worth pursuing, it's worth writing down.
In addition to writing it down, you may want to create a vision board. Visualizing success through things like visions boards can help keep your goals "in front of your face" in a positive way—a constant reminder of what you're working toward.
Step 4: Find your deepest 'Why?'
Once you've finished picturing it and writing it down, you need to find your 'why.'
Picturing your goals and writing them down will only get you so far. Don't become a statistic like the sputtering that happens with resolution-happy new gym memberships. For real: 4% of new gym members in January don't even continue through the end of January, 14% drop out in February, and a whopping 80% quit going to the gym before the end of May!
This is because the 'why' behind fitness resolutions doesn't usually go deep enough. A 'why' of "because I want buns of steel and guns that should be illegal" doesn't cut it when you're exhausted every day after work or are tempted to hit the snooze button when the workout alarm goes off. A 'why' of "I need to be strong to care for my kids because I am all they have and I don't want to let them down by becoming infirm" is quite possibly an answer that will hold up the remaining 20% of gym goers after May.
What you want to accomplish will have obstacles and road blocks. In order to succeed, you need to be able to find your deep internal 'Why' or 'Whys' that will be able to drive you forward. Dean Graziosi, author of Millionaire Success Habits, teaches an exercise he learned from his coach. It's called Seven Levels Deep.
In this exercise, you effectively answer 'why?' to progressive questions seven times about your goal. For instance, if your goal is to gain 10 new clients, the first two questions would go like this:
Q. Why is is important to you to gain 10 new clients?
A. Because I want to build my business and make a name for myself.
Q. Why is it important to you to build your business and make a name for yourself?
A. Because I want to stabilize my income and provide for my family better.
Then you would ask the question again 5 more times using the previous answer as the question.
This exercise is best done as a conversation. It's more effective to do this with a partner, someone you trust. Here's a handy worksheet to help you facilitate the conversation.
There is something powerful about the number seven, so make sure that the question is asked seven times and the answer written down.
It can take 3-5 levels to get out of the head and into the heart, which is why this is so important. Head answers will only get you so far in attaining your goals. Heart answers are the ones that will really be able to move you.
Step 5: Prioritization & implementation
After you've found your 'Why' then it's time for prioritization and implementation. If you have more than one goal, prioritize them in order of how your visualization went. What was most important to you to get done this year to have made this the best year for you in terms of your accomplishments? Then order them from there.
Order your priorities strategically
Prioritize in terms of setting yourself up for success in future goals. For instance, if your health needs to change in order for you to position yourself to be able to work harder in other areas of your life, then health goals move up in priority.
If some things need to change in a personal or business relationship in order to free up your energy or mindfulness in other areas of your life, then those goals would move up in priority.
Eat an elephant one bite at a time
Implementation boils down to breaking your big goal into digestible bites. Want to lose 20 pounds in 5 months? That's 4 pounds a month. In other words, one pound a week. Bite off what you can chew each week by making lists of measurable tasks. Your weekly tasks will add up to monthly gains, and ultimately, a yearly WIN!
Goal poll & sharing: How to set goals and achieve them
We hope this has helped motivate and inspire you. Let us know other tips that you find helpful to set goals and achieve them. And if you'd like to share your 'Why' we would love to hear it!
PLUS, wanna know what others are saying about goals? Answer these six questions to see poll results. (Would you like to engage users with your own poll? Here's a tutorial for setting up a poll and displaying results.)