Goal-setting is something you either seem to really enjoy or really dislike. I find those who dislike goal-setting simply failed one too many times and are reluctant to try again. No one likes to fail over and over, although we could argue whether you’ve truly failed. So today I’m going to share a few tips to help you succeed at your goals this year. It is possible, with a few tweaks, that goal-setting can become something you look forward to every year.
Google goal-setting and you can find lots of great advice to help you, so I wanted to instead take a different approach, instead of repeating what they already said so well. My focus is to help you power through the tough times, when you find yourself struggling with your goals and are on the cusp of giving up. This is often make it or break time for our goals.
Goal success is something a bit like childbirth. We forget the pain we had to go through to bring a precious baby or goal to life. We just remember how good the end results felt. But there is some pain we have to manage through first and need to be prepared to handle it.
Just like the “why” behind the “no” you tell your kids when you can’t buy them something is important, so is the “why” behind your goals. Setting goals is only the first step towards goal achievement. There are many more steps afterwards and not every step will come easily. The reality is that you will likely experience wins and losses along the way to your eventual goal achievement. What you need to do is prepare yourself for those setbacks.
Some days they won’t even faze you. Other days, it will happen on a bad day when you’ve argued with your spouse, friend, co-worker or child and you can’t just take another thing going wrong. This is where the “why” behind the goal really comes into play. Knowing why you set the goal and why it matters so much is what helps you power through the setback and view it as temporary versus goal-ending.
To-Do: You should know the “why” behind every goal you set. If you don’t know the “why” and struggle to find the reason why the goal matters, then you need to take another look at whether that goal is authentic. Once you know the why behind every goal, then make sure you both internalize the why and have it written down, so you both visually and mentally see it at all times.
Some people keep goals very private, but I would encourage you to find a few select people to confide in and form an accountability and support group, also known as a mastermind group. Being able to connect with like-minded people can play a significant role in your goal success. They are the people you call when you experience a setback, are tempted to call it quits or brainstorm with when you need new ideas.
Most people set goals with the intention to achieve them. They create a plan and break it down into actionable steps with deadlines, which are things you should do. But it’s also much easier to let things slide and miss deadlines when no one is holding you accountable. A mastermind groups keeps goals front and center, and you are constantly working towards them, instead of letting other things take over.
I’ve participated in several small mastermind groups to help me grow my business. Between the camaraderie and support from members to them helping me think outside the box and stretch myself, it’s been a huge asset and instrumental in my success.
To-Do: Identify a few people to connect with privately on a regular basis. You should minimally meet once-a-month, share progress against goals, set goals (the actionable steps you commit to completing prior to the next meeting) and offer suggestions and solutions to other member’s problems. Much like any support group, it should be a safe and private place with people who genuinely want you to succeed (as you do for them) and where you feel comfortable sharing both concerns and triumphs.
Now I know that seems a bit contradictory so let me explain. Most people typically have more than one goal, although that is certainly not a requirement. Assuming you have more than one goal, you need to prioritize your goals from most important to least. It’s doesn’t mean that your less important goals don’t matter, but some simply matter more.
I often see people work on the least important goals while ignoring the most important. Sometimes this is done out of fear because the most important goal means so much that they choose to avoid it versus face the possibility of not achieving it. While I can’t guarantee putting it first will ensure success, I know putting it last isn’t the answer either.
Some days you will be faced with a choice where you cannot do everything and have to decide where to put your energy. Knowing which goal is the most important, helps you choose to work on the goal that will bring you the greatest satisfaction. It is also important to recognize if you are suffering from goal burnout and need to reduce goals. You may be tempted to keep the least important, which are often the easiest ones. This will, hopefully, prevent you from doing so.
There have been times I have set my goals, then put them aside to take advantage of a great opportunity — something I wasn’t expected and didn’t even know I wanted. Because I was open and willing to adjust my goals to embrace opportunities that I’ve been able to do and achieve things that I never imagined. Goals are not etched in stone. There are legitimate and valid reasons why it makes sense to set some goals aside or replace them with others. Do not confuse that with giving up or failure.
To-Do: Once you have your goals set, list them out from highest to lowest priority. Be sure to include the “why” behind every goal too. If and when you can only work towards one goal, now you which goal to focus your attention on. Additionally, don’t become so rigid that you overlook opportunities not connected with your goals. Goals are important, but don’t put so much emphasis on them that you cannot see beyond them.
We all face moments where our goals take second-place and that’s okay. What matters is that we don’t completely give-up on them. Know the why behind your goals and surround yourself by like-minded people will help you keep you motivated. We may not always achieve our goal on our first attempt or by our deadline, but what matters most is that we keep working towards them.
What keeps you motivated when you are tempted to give up on a goal?
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