I love when New Year rolls around. I’ve typically taken some time during the last month to think through how the previous year went both personally and professionally and I’ve set some goals (PTB 301) to kick off the new year right. A goal without a plan or accountability is nothing more than a wish or dream. Today we’ll look at how to plan monitor and assess your goals so that you can turn your goal into reality.
Without accountability, your goals fall victim to circumstances and excuses. in over 6 years at PTB, we’ve never missed a weekly show average because we truly feel accountable to deliver you leadership content on a regular basis. Without that accountability, the likelihood of late or missed shows would be significantly higher.
How are you going to own your goals this year? Hold yourself accountable to reach your goal and include a few trusted others as accountability partners to help keep you on track. At the end of the year, I always take my wife out to a nice lunch, and I cover what my goals are for the next year. She’ll then check into seeing how things are going, and it gives us another topic of conversation to have throughout the year.
I also keep my goals written up on my whiteboard so I see them every day. They only come down once they are done. Think of posting your goals somewhere in a space that you are in on a regular basis. I know of people that have them in their car, at their cube at work, and even their lock screen of their phone.
Plan your time and check-ins
If you built your goals using the SMART format from last week, you’ve got some kind of timeframe that you want to complete your goal by. Be intentional in planning out time and the path you are going to take to get to the finish line. Some goals may need a weekly check-in while others may need a monthly or quarterly check-in to see how you are progressing.
Remember not to be too hard on yourself as you check in on your goal progress. Think progress over perfection. It’s ok to adjust your goal if life has thrown you a curveball during the year.
Celebrate along the way
As you check in on your goal status, reflect back and celebrate the progress that you’ve made so far. Sometimes in our drive to accomplish our goals, we forget our starting point and how much things have changed along the way. People are quick to adapt to a new normal!
Celebrate with yourself. Celebrate with others. Acknowledge and appreciate the hard work that you’ve put in so far.
There are a ton of great apps out there that can help you track and monitor your goals.
No doubt you have some type of technology around you on a daily basis, from smartphones to watches to all-out smart homes, leverage what’s around you to help you stay on track.
Find inspiration in tough times
Sometimes you just hit a rut and things aren’t progressing as you wanted them to for a number of reasons. Take some time to find inspiration to help pick yourself up or to give you a new perspective on your goal and how to achieve it. Search online for groups around your shared interests, articles, and books that may help you get back in a positive direction.
You’ve taken the time to plan out some great goals this year. You can do it! Hold yourself accountable, keep them top of mind, leverage all the resources around you, and celebrate that progress. You can accomplish some amazing things this year.
Setting a goal is easy, but getting that goal that sticks can be an entirely different story. To help give yourself a better chance to reach your short and long-term goals, it’s important to set your goal in a way that is easy to follow, has tangible steps, and sets the time to get it done. It’s the ambiguity that often gets the best of our goals.
Today we’ll follow the SMART format to set goals that are actionable and attainable.
Your goal has to have a specific foundation to be built on. I am often critical of goals that are overly subjective and abstract (ex. I want to grow in my development) because you can’t hit something when you don’t even know you are shooting for it.
The specific subject can center around many things
A culminating event. ( I want to run the NY Marathon)
A time or efficiency (Do a task x% faster)
An achievement (accreditation, an award, promotion)
An increase or decrease in number (weight, finances)
What specifically do you want to do or accomplish? Spell it out exactly to get a good start to the goal.
Now that you’ve got what you are shooting for in a goal, how are you going to measure its success? You need measurables in place to evaluate your progress and if you need to change or adapt things along the way.
In the NY marathon example, I need a qualifying time to get in. My measurable may be tracking my time as I try to hit my ultimate qualification time. In your professional career, it may be how many resumes and job applications you are going to complete a week.
You should have some type of action attached to your goal and a way to measure the progress, if not, take time here to outline tangible ways to track your success.
You’ll want to take a realistic look to determine if the goal is reasonable enough to hit within your timeframe. For your aspirational, long-term goals, build short-term goals that build and elevate you towards your ultimate goal.
A stretch goal is perfectly fine to shoot for, just make sure it doesn’t stretch you so far that you break in the process.
Some goals you shouldn’t pursue! That’s not to say it’s a bad idea or a wrong endeavor to work towards. Maybe the timing is off. Perhaps you are already loaded up with other things. Sometimes a goal can take away from other important areas you need to master and win in first.
Make sure that the goal or pursuit is timely, aligns with your current responsibilities and capabilities, and matches your personal values. Don’t waste your time on things that you shouldn’t be doing. Your goal should contribute to your long-term aspirations in some way.
No goal is complete without a time deadline to accomplish it. Set sometime around when you want to accomplish the task in order to stay motivated and focused on completing it.
If you don’t hit your goal in the desired or set timeframe, it’s likely not the end of the world. Step back and assess why you didn’t make it and what you could do differently. Adjust, set a new goal, and get back at it.
A few examples
I want to hit a 3:02 marathon time to qualify for the NY Marathon on Nov 3rd.
I want to lose 24lbs during the year and focus on 2lbs a month.
I want to learn Morse Code and have the ability to pass the Morse Code interpretation test by June 30th.
I want to earn a promotion in 18 months and take on 3 new responsibilities around operations and finance.
I want to get a new job in 3 months. I’ll complete 4 applications a week and network with 5 new people a week.
I want to earn my certification in my field in 12 months. I will join 2 study groups and the local chapter affiliation to help in my prep.
Design goals that are clear, attainable, and have a set deadline to get it done. You’ll give your focus and motivation a boost while significantly raising the likelihood of meeting your goal.