A few weeks ago, I was the invited guest on CBC Radio’s Daybreak where I shared advice on how to successfully achieve your goals for this year. Now, the start of a new year is typically when most of us make efforts to create goals for what we’d like to achieve over the course of the next 12 months.
But setting goals for what we’d like to achieve is not something that’s exclusive to the start of a new year. Indeed, anytime is a good time to commit to achieving goals that will help you to succeed, prosper, and become a better you.
Of course, leaders are always creating, monitoring, adjusting, and evaluating goals they create for their employees and their organization well beyond the month of January. But how many of us are setting goals for ourselves? Of what we’d like to achieve both for ourselves as well as within ourselves to help those we lead be successful in their collective efforts?
The truth is it’s often easier to set organizational goals than personal leadership goals because with the latter, we’re pretty much dealing with ourselves in terms of making these changes for the better. And sometimes, that can be a pretty big obstacle to overcome.
Granted, there are numerous articles that have been written which share tips on how we can go about achieving our goals. That’s why during this interview on CBC Radio, I wanted to share some lesser known approaches that can amplify our efforts to succeed.
Given how well-received they were, I’d like to share these 3 uncommon strategies for how you can successfully achieve your goals so that, 11 months from now, you can be successful not just in terms of your organization’s goals, but in terms of your personal goals as well.
1. Be specific about the how and why, and not just the what
When it comes to creating organizational goals, we all understand that you need to be specific not just about what you want to achieve, but how you’re going achieve this and why it matters in terms of your organization’s long term goals.
Unfortunately, when it comes to setting goals for ourselves, we tend to overlook this critical step in the process of successful goal attainment. It’s something I’ve seen time and time again in my work coaching leaders – although they have a very clear idea of what they want to achieve or of what they want to change, they lack an understanding for how they’ll go about accomplishing this goal, and in some cases, even why this is worth pursuing.
In fact, when I asked some leaders what achieving this goal would look and feel like, it was hard for them to articulate what living within this newly realized outcome would be like. For most, the only answer they could give is that it would allow them to have one less thing to do.
That’s why when it comes to setting goals for ourselves – either professionally or personally, it’s important to remember that to successfully achieve our goals, we need to have a clear understanding of both how to achieve it and why [Share on Twitter].
2. Solicit feedback to help inform goal setting and how to go forward
When setting goals for ourselves, one thing all of us do is share with others what we’re hoping to achieve – the most common example of this, of course, is when we make those New Year’s resolutions.
Of course, there’s a benefit to sharing our goals with others in that this measure can fuel our sense of accountability because we’ve created this expectation in others that we’ll achieve this goal.
But as I pointed out during my interview on CBC Radio Daybreak, there’s an even better reason why you should talk to others about your goals. Namely, you should use these conversations as an opportunity to get feedback from those you trust and respect about how feasible these goals are. Of what are the real challenges you need to address, what actions and behaviours can help you achieve this target, as well as what things you’ll need to change to make this a reality.
By changing the conversation from one where we’re simply telling others about our goals, to asking for feedback on what we can do to be more successful in achieving them, we not only benefit from getting an outside perspective pointing out things we might not have considered, but the act of getting feedback from others makes them more invested in our success as well.
Remember, the value we create in giving others feedback is by helping them to grow into that better version of themselves [Share on Twitter].
3. Shift how you evaluate your progress as you move closer to goal attainment
A few years ago, I wrote a piece about a study that had showed that the key to sustainable success over the long run was shifting your focus as your task proceeded.
Since sharing that study’s finding with my readers, I’ve been applying this technique to some of the more mundane tasks I have to do and I can honestly say, it really does help in sustaining my motivation over the long run.
Basically, as I start working my way through a particular task I don’t enjoy, I focus initially on how much of it I’ve completed. But around the half-way point, I shift my focus towards how much I have left to do. This simple shift in perception makes it easier to keep going on tasks I don’t enjoy because by changing how I measure my progress, I’m changing the kind of motivations I’m tapping into to help me keep at it to reach that proverbial finish line.
So take it not just from this study, but from my own experience that the key to sustainable motivation is not just how much progress we’ve made, but how we measure progress towards achieving our goals [Share on Twitter].
Of course, there are several other approaches that can help us to achieve our goals. But I wanted to share not only what I’ve found to be uncommon strategies, but shed some light on how to refine the way we go about pursuing goals for ourselves so that this year, all of us might savour greater success in what we hope to achieve in the weeks and months ahead.