You were motivated. You made resolutions at the beginning of January.
But weeks later, how are your resolutions? Alive and well? Or already a thing of the past?
There is no simple method to take your well-meaning goals from an idea that actually bears fruit, even something you are passionate about. It’s the action that makes it real.
No amount of enthusiasm or determination by itself will help you achieve your goals. You are going to have to approach goal setting realistically. You’re going to have to change your behaviour. And that’s the catch.
Try comparing this 5-point checklist against your goals to see if your goals are falling apart.
1. Are your goals measureable? What’s wrong with a goal, like: I want to be rich? Great idea, but how do you know when you get there? Goals have to be measurable. Yes I know that everyone says this – and that’s because it happens to be true. You can focus on a specific goal and head directly to it on a path that will get you there, or you can wander all over the place, never quite getting on the fastest path to reach that goal.
2. They have to be realistic. One of the fastest ways to feel defeated by goals is to make them so big, they become overwhelming. When we’ve had a bit of a break over a holiday season, the simple act of not working 18 hours a day somehow makes us believe we can get so much more done than we ever have before, and more quickly too. I’m not suggesting you give up on great big goals… I remember hearing Natalie Sisson and Natalie MacNeil talk about creating Big Hairy Audacious Goals! It’s true that BHAGs will drive you to new levels… but big goals need to be achieved in bite-sized pieces.
3. Say them out loud. Often. Being serious about a goal means not keeping it to yourself. Do you have an accountability partner? Are you part of a mastermind group? We’re more likely to get things done when other people know we’re supposed to do them too.
4. Make room for your goal in your day, and in your week. The difference between thought and action is often simply making room for doing the work. It isn’t enough to say your goals out loud, and write them down, once. How are you going to focus on achieving what you want, if by the time you get to a new date in your calendar or on your to do list… your goals are left behind?
How much time are you dedicating to your goals? The second part of this point on your checklist is that you have to resist the temptation to decide you can accomplish everything you need to do to achieve your goals in record time. We are so optimistic when it comes to the time we need to accomplish tasks…what is the old adage about doubling the time you think you will need, then multiplying it by another factor?
Ask yourself if you have blocked out enough time in your day and week (or month) to get it done.
5. Train your brain – to focus on the goal you want to achieve: With more and more research being done in the field of neuroplasticity, there is more evidence that we, in fact, can change our habits. The patterns you bring to work might be habits that you want to change. If they are, you can go into training to help reinforce the way you are tackling your goals. Achieving goals requires focus. So… how are you doing?
- Have you evaluated whether what you are doing is going to allow you to reach your goals? (And if it isn’t, why are you spending time on it?)
- Have you stopped to measure your progress (or lack of it)?
- Did you actually start the work to fulfill your goal? I love the quote by Jarod Kintz in A Zebra is the Piano of the Animal Kingdom. He said: “The hardest part about finishing is starting.” Have you started?
- Have you tried a different approach to working? Robin Sharma: take the first 90 minutes of your day and dedicate it to profitable activity… or Francesco Cirillo, use The Pomodoro Technique to engage in periods of focused work…usually 25 minutes at a time, followed by a short break?
- Are you practising the work habits you want to have?
If your zeal to fulfill your goals has already worn off, you aren’t alone. But the great thing about unrequited goals is that they sit there, at the edge of your consciousness, pining for you until your next burst of enthusiasm.
Or you can make some definitive changes in your routine to develop a track you can stay on.