You Have Your Goals by Now. Still Struggling to Achieve Them?

You Have Your Goals by Now

It is May already, and most of us have our goals set. Some spend a great amount of time throughout January and February thinking about what they want to achieve during the year. Just to realise around May, their resources are exhausted, and they are still far from succeeding. Win half the battle now, so you can concentrate on winning it all. 

It is also that time of the year when many sit back and relax because they know what success will look like for the year ahead, isn’t it? No wonder why studies show that more than 70% of life goals set at the beginning of the year are abandoned later in the year.  

Is setting goals and knowing what success looks like the same as planning? Because this is the question, isn’t it? We might believe that by setting goals, we planned out the year ahead. And I am not talking about unexpected events disrupting our precious dreams.  

 

High performers know proper planning is half the battle 

Setting a goal means you know the WHAT. Did knowing the WHAT ever take you to achieve it? Itself it didn’t work for sure. You can add a deadline to your goal, which makes your progress more measurable. But you still might be clueless about HOW you are going to achieve that goal. 

So, what is a plan?  

A plan is basically your path to success. It is a series of steps to take you to the destination. Knowing what steps you have to make is helpful. Not only because you can think about how you can progress, but because you can account for potential limitations and barriers. Planning takes you to the plane of the HOW and transfers your mind from the DESIRE to the realm of ACTION. 

How come so many people struggle with achieving their goals if planning is so straightforward? 

 

Tools you can use to plan 

What comes to mind when you think about planning? Some instantly see their vision boards, others visualise detailed spreadsheets.  People often tell me plans should include only a few steps and I also often hear that they must be specific.  

So, what is the best way to make a plan, and what tools can you use? 

Before we get into the top 10 planning tools lists and the time spent on comparing apps and solutions, let’s think about what you can expect from a good plan. More precisely, what do you want to get out of a good plan? 

To me, a good plan is clear & simple, action-focused and realistic. It includes all the guideposts I need to get to my destination. I don’t need to add all the tiny bits, but I want to know the links and dependencies between my action items.  

Where does it leave you? Which tool is the best? 

The choice is ultimately yours. Based on your thinking style and discipline around performance. 

A vision board is a useful tool for dreaming, and you can use a visual tool to make a plan. Such a visual tool is a mind map. A mind map is an easy to follow method to account for all you need to achieve a specific goal.  

You can also use the ©Change Manifesto Tiles (©CMT). It is a simple tool that aids you in concentrating on the new elements you need to bring into your life to achieve your goals. 

The ©CMT takes you through the journey of building up what you need to deliver on a specific goal. You focus on the components that are not in your life yet so you can achieve clarity around the challenge you might face.  
The tool includes guidance, a template and an example, too. You can download the ©Change Manifesto Tiles tool here free for your personal use. 

 

If you prefer a detailed plan, you can use a spreadsheet, and some prefer using task management apps. 

 

The critical elements of a good plan 

You might think that putting together a plan is complicated. While some initiatives require complexity, you can focus on a few essential components. Make sure 

  •  all critical components are included,
  • your plan is easy to make, understand and follow; and
  • your action items are specific enough for you to act on them

A good plan consists of all the components you need to be conscious about to achieve your goal. It is structured, and it should be easy for you to link which action links to which goal or goals. A good plan also enables you to find dependencies between your actions. The latter gives you the benefit of finding out where and how you can save time or money, which essentially helps with your resource management. 

A plan itself is a documented version of your vision. Without action, it remains just that.  If you looked at your goals, realised it is already May, and you have a long way to go, the ©Change Manifesto Tiles tool is a quick way to build up your capability and pump new energy into your efforts. 

3 Things to do to Make Sure You Achieve Your Goals This Year

Achieve Your Goals

Have you been following the goals you set out for yourself this year? Have you taken a glance lately at where you are in the process?  
It is still not too late to have a think through and make changes, if necessary, so at the end of the year you may see more positive outcomes and you will achieve your goals.  

 

Break down your goals into small steps 

First and foremost, you can break down the goals into steps. This way, you can move steadily, step by step, towards accomplishing your goal. Every time you achieve a milestone, you have a chance to stop and review whether or not you go in the right direction.  
At such times you may also reach out for help, or re-arrange your priorities and implement changes in light of your goals. I highly recommend you to download an app to your phone to help you keep track of your goals wherever you areSet notifications, so you won’t even have an excuse to avoid working towards your goals. 

 

Make a note of your goals 

Another way to maintain your perseverance is by writing down your goals on a daily basis. I will be the first to admit that for many years I thought this was a pointless activity. I thought it was simply a waste of my time.  

Then results didn’t come as expected and  I wasn’t even sure what my original goals were months ago…. I was way over my head. And that is when I decided to change and take a note of my goals.  

Since then, I write down my goals every single day with the steps needed to implement them. Every word I put on the paper, I thoroughly think through and envision the results I want to see. I know and can see, based on the results, that devoted and consistent efforts are key. Self-discipline is also essential 

We need to be consistent in our endeveours every single day to achieve our goals. 

 

Maintain your dedication 

How are your eagerness and dedication?  
Hmm, yes, I know, people often look past these traits at this time of year. In the beginning of the year, we are full of enthusiasm. New year new goals.  

Then the dull weekdays creep in and as months go by your keenness to make efforts decreases significantly, unless you consciously pay attention to it.  
The decision is in your hands. You can still change the curve of your progress, or keep things as they were before. Are YOU the driver of your car or are you a passenger allowing someone else to drive your car? You have got to decide.  

It is vital that you take your life in your hands. If you do not take responsibility, someone else will do it for you.           

                                                                                                                                      

And what is the benefit?  

You take control of your goals. You become unstoppable and achieve your goals and everything you set your mind to. Your confidence and self-esteem keep growing day by day. You become more perseverant when facing difficulties. You focus better, become more result-oriented and move forward faster; like a riverYou effortlessly overcome obstacles in your way and create the life you have always wanted for yourself.

Bonus Tip: We have an article dedicated to How to track your goals. Have a look at it.

Photo by Julian Santa Ana on Unsplash

What to Do When You Are Distracted from Your Goal

Distractions … sweet distractions. You cost us so much. Even if we don’t realise it instantly. An average person looks at the phone 52 times a day according to a study.  On the other hand, progress with work and with a career is not only a natural desire or a basic need, it is also important from a mental health perspective.

 

Let’s see how we end up sabotaging ourselves.

Assuming we spend about 15 seconds on the phone each time (as a distraction), which may not be the case, such a distraction costs us at least 13 minutes a day. Let’s count the time we need to put ourselves back in working mode and we can quickly see how pricey it is to allow distractions into our life. Longer interruptions require even longer time to recover.

During the time you saved avoiding short interruptions, you could have another break which you could spend taking a walk in the park close by or having a coffee with a friend. You could painlessly integrate the daily workout in your schedule or read from/listen to your favourite book. I know, some would use it to do more work. Which is perfectly OK, too.

 

So, the solution is easy-peasy. Don’t look at your phone, don’t allow anything or anyone to distract you.

Here are a few techniques to prevent distraction.

  • Plan your day in the morning and include the breaks. With the breaks integrated in your schedule, you give yourself the opportunity to relax and be distracted when you need not be productive.
  • Listen to your mind and body and plan your time in shorter segments. Work in thirty- or forty-minutes segments and take a short break after each segment. With time, you will work for an hour and then even for longer periods.
  • Let your boss, colleagues, friends and family know when you need time to work without interruption and make sure you are clear on how much quiet time you have.
  • Leave your phone in another room, unless you need the phone for your work.

Working without interruption would be ideal, although we rarely have the opportunity to experience such a bliss and most of us don’t work in a Tibetan temple.

What to do when you are already distracted?

  • Let the source of the interruption (if it is a person) know how much time you have for them.
  • Train your mind to keep a line of thought to help you get back to your work faster.
  • Make a quick note of where you were before the interruption and then deal with the distraction.
  • Work on a different task which requires a shorter time to tune into.
  • Find links between topics. If you find yourself distracted by another topic, consider continuing with the new topic.
  • If the background noise interrupts you time to time, find a white noise that works for you, or a quiet place.
  • Learn to meditate, it helps develop focus.

As you can see, there are simple techniques you can adopt to reduce interruptions in your life. Though, if you distract yourself, think about why you are doing it.

  • Is it a specific time of the day when you distract yourself?
  • Is there a specific topic or question you want to avoid?
  • Or, is it a form of procrastination?

You might be interested in the following article where we talk about how you can use relaxation and visualisation to help advance your career.

 

Tips How to Track Your Goals

Tips How to Track Your Goals

Why isn’t the title say: Tips How to Track Your Progress? Because making progress doesn’t necessarily mean you are going in the right direction.

We all make progress in our lives and knowing what progress we make definitely helps. Although without knowing how such progress adds to the success, the progress is no more than a step forward. We don’t know how big the step is or if we, in fact, walk on the yellow brick road.

But by tracking your progress, you do more than most people do. The question is whether it is enough to achieve high performance and the level of success you are happy with. And there is another question. If tracking your progress itself is not sufficient, then what is?

 

Tracking a goal, assuming the tracking method is fit-for-purpose, will give you sufficient information on both your progress and the added value of your efforts to your success.

 

But what method can you use to track your goals?

You are not tracking the goal itself; you are tracking your progress toward the goal, you are tracking how close you are achieving the goal in time and quality. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Naturally, you can choose methods to track your progress against a goal if you sufficiently specified the goal. Which means your goal needs to be specific enough for you to be able to measure your progress against it. What then means, your goal has to include specific details about it. E.g., a deadline, or a certain % of the progress you would like to achieve.

E.g. My goal could be: ‘I would like to read two books every month this year.’

  • The goal in this example specifies what I would like to achieve and in what time frame. What I would like to achieve is to learn from two books and I do that in a month.
  • It also tells me how I will achieve it. I achieve the learning by reading.
  • Moreover, it tells me that unless I read two books (100% of the book) a month, I am going to stay behind my goal.

You can define for yourself the progress you have to make each month, or a week, or even a day to achieve your goal. In the example before I did just that.
And sometimes achieving such progress is not going to be linear; or you have to do different things each time to get where you want to be.

 

All in all, if you have a long-term goal, breaking it down to smaller pieces will help you better understand how you meet it and will reduce the risk of not achieving it, too.
Additionally, it will also help you revise your strategy, if needed, along the way.

 

But some people say that setting goals is meaningless anyway, so why do I bother tracking them?

This is a question I received many times this year. I realised there were articles out there with titles suggesting goal setting had no added value, even though the articles mostly included the benefits of goal-setting in various ways. So, here is my answer.

  • Setting goals just for the sake of it is meaningless.
  • Setting a goal that does not resonate with your life strategy and plan, doesn’t matter how SMART your goal is, is also meaningless.
  • Without setting goals though, even if you have a clear view of your life strategy or your priorities for the next three to five years, you will struggle.

Because goals are basically milestones. At least they should be. They are the lights at both sides of the path you walk on in the park. And I am not suggesting life is a walk in the park. I am suggesting life is a journey.

Imagine you are travelling by ship. A beautiful large ship with all the facilities and programmes to make your journey exciting and joyful.

  • How would this ship make a long and successful journey without knowing where the harbours are and where it needs to stop for supplies?
  • What is the way to enjoy the journey without knowing you are safe, and the staff knows exactly what to do and when to make your journey pleasant?
  • How would the staff know what to do and when without planning?
  • And how would the staff be able to plan without goals?

But tracking your progress against a goal is not just about knowing what you want to achieve. The goal or in that case the milestone is an outcome; and what takes you to the result is action. During your journey, you want to know what you need to do to get the desired result.
Once you know what you want to do, your goal essentially

  • you need to know how success looks like, and
  • how you can measure the success, and
  • what is the shortest time period which is reasonable to measure for progress.

And that answers an important question. Should you track your progress daily, or weekly or monthly, maybe quarterly? It all depends on your goals and on your discipline.

 

And what tools can you use to measure your progress?

This is an interesting question, because there are many good tools out there.

Nowadays there is an app for everything.

  • If you want a few clicks and nothing more a day because you are extremely busy, you can do that.
  • If you trust detailed information, you can use a spreadsheet or a project or task management app.
  • You are not good with written words, just use a voice recorder or a transcriber app.

I suggest you don’t waste time on finding the perfect tracking tool first. Find one that is good enough and perfect your tracking method. Once you are satisfied with the way how you track your goals and performance, you will find the perfect tracking tool, too.

If there are useful tools that you can utilize why some people never reach their goals? You can find the answer in the article we published Why don’t people reach their goals?

Why don’t people reach their goals?

wachieving our dreams_ cover image for why don't people reach their goals

One of the strongest desire we, human beings have is achieving our goals and dreams.  Well, sometimes we make all the efforts to achieve our parents’ or partners’ dreams, but if we want to be conscious about our life, we work on achieving our own dreams.

And what is a better way of achieving a dream than seeing it clearly in the mind and articulating it as a goal? Once we have our goals set, we are done, aren’t we?

Perhaps it is surprising but even though goal setting is a popular topic, various studies show that achieving goals is not a success story for all. Naturally, the number of people who achieve their goals is different in each study, but a recurring theme is that many of us abandon the goals within four weeks.

In the meantime, we hear stories of success almost every day and examples of high performers fill the pages of online and offline magazines. We all love to hear the success stories.

And we all would like to live the dream, the success story. But few of us do. What could be the reason?

As a starting point, we can talk about goal-setting. I know it is May already; we have almost reached the end of Q2. We shouldn’t talk about setting goals, right? Setting goals is part of the new year’s resolution.

Just stay with me. The way how you set your goals has a high impact on your success of achieving them.

Many like to set same or similar goals others set for themselves just to follow the “good” example. But will the same thing work well for everyone?
Others like to go for super ambitious goals just to lose the steam after hitting a barrier once or twice.
Not to mention those, who think about the first couple of steps but don’t take the time to see the challenges, the required change in context.

These are just a few examples. What we can learn from these is if we would like to see the results, we need to see where we are going and what path is going to take us there will help achieving our goals.

Think about it. It is May already. If we still didn’t achieve our goals or made visible progress, we’ll lose nothing by reviewing your goals.

Regardless of the progress they make, high performers take a look at their goals multiple times a year. This is part of their success formula.

What is the advice here?

  • Plan your six months or the year or two years with the end in mind. Think about the most important things that must happen for you to achieve your goal.
  • Think about your life and see what fits in there. You can go for ambitious goals and achieve them, if you can allocate the time and resources needed. If you cannot do that, you will struggle and eventually abandon the goal.

That links to a tricky part of goal achievement and success. Maintaining motivation so you stick with your goals.

We often use the expression losing motivation. Truth to be told, one cannot lose motivation. Although we can lose focus; or just to link back to the first aspect, goal setting, we can set unrealistic or uninteresting goals.

Let’s talk a bit more about motivation. What is motivation? What is the source of motivation? Is it within us or does it come from the environment?

Motivation is a combination of reasons why we act or behave in a certain way and a certain level of energy directed toward achieving our goals.
We may feel motivated because of an internal desire or because of external influences. Such external influence may be a reward. A reward can be material, or a recognition of our results voiced to us or shared in front of others.

When we abandon a goal, we no longer believe that achieving our goals is worth the effort. Either because we believe something else will bring about better results, or we experience problems in putting in the required effort.

So, you see. One cannot lose motivation. The motivation is there, but it is most likely redirected.

What can we learn from this?

  • Listen to the signs of your body and mind to recognise when you are about to re-prioritise. You may revise your goals intentionally, but sometimes our instant desires are stronger than us. High performers understand delayed gratification and to maintain high performance and repeated results, you need to be patient.
  • Be conscious of how you allocate your time and energy.
  • You may have more goals on your list all the time but that doesn’t mean you have to multitask. Be clear on what you need to do within a specified time period and maintain your focus. Once you are done and progressed with one topic or task as desired move to another task.
  • If you are stuck with a specific task, park it. Get on another task, so you don’t waste time. This practice will help you not only with improving your efficiency but your creativity and problem-solving, too.

Of course, success and high-performance are more complex and both depend on more than just goal-setting and motivation; and both goal-setting and motivation can be improved in many ways.

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