Word of the Year: ExecuteFebruary 15, 2019
Word of the Year: BalanceFebruary 22, 2019
For most of us, setting goals is the easy part; actually achieving them is a different story! So what can we do to make sure we’re successful – or at least close? Inspired by my word of the year, “do,” I set out to find some tips that can help make goals into reality.
1. Make them SMART
The first step is to set goals in a way that helps you achieve them. The SMART framework is a great way to make sure your goals are doable. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific – No vague goals like “get healthier”! How are you going to do it? Work out 3 times a week? Stop buying your favorite unhealthy snack?
- Measurable – Have a way to keep track of your progress. Instead of “do more networking,” try “go to 5 networking events” or “add 15 new LinkedIn connections.”
- Achievable – Your goal should be a stretch, but it shouldn’t be impossible. You may want to “take 12 trips,” but if you only get 10 days of PTO and you can’t work remotely, it probably shouldn’t be your goal.
- Relevant – Does it make sense for your job, or you as a person? If you’re in the IT department, increasing sales by 25% probably isn’t the goal for you, even though you want the organization you work for to be successful; sales isn’t the area where you’re making your impact.
- Time-Bound – Specify when you want your goal to be accomplished. If your goal is to get a certification, when do you expect to take the final test? If you’re trying to average 10,000 steps a day, when do you think you’ll start hitting that average?
Setting your goals this way gives you a solid foundation for success!
2. Be Accountable
Your goals shouldn’t just stay in your mind. It’s important to hold yourself accountable in some way. At Purple Ink, each of us has another Inkster as our accountability partner, and we meet several times throughout the year to check in on how each other’s goals are going. If you’re not up for talking about your goals that much, try just telling a colleague, friend, or family member that you have a goal to [insert goal here] this year.
Don’t want to tell someone else about what you’re striving for? Write it down – it’ll make it feel more real. My day planner is crucial to me for accomplishing everyday tasks and some of the smaller stages along the way to my goals; something similar may help you too. Another great tool is Trello – I use it for my to-do list at work, and the Purple Ink team is using it to track our goals this year as well.
3. Break it Down
Breaking down your goals into several tasks can be helpful in a few ways. First, it gives you a smaller first step and a path to follow, so you’re gradually taking on a new habit instead of trying to flip a switch. The other great thing about breaking goals down is that you can feel a sense of accomplishment and progress every time you cross off one of those steps, keeping you energized and motivated to keep going. This is big for me as someone with Achiever in my top 5 strengths; I know how many pages I need to read each month to reach my reading goal, the steps I need to take to accomplish each of my goals at Purple Ink, etc., and it helps me to feel like I’m getting somewhere as I work toward my goals.
4. Check in and Reflect on Your Progress
Setting goals at the beginning of the year and not thinking about them again until December 31st isn’t going to help you achieve them. Make time to regularly check in with yourself on how you’re doing, whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Make a note of how each of your goals is progressing, and ask yourself questions, like, “Am I on track to reach this goal?” “What have I learned so far in working toward my goals?” “Which goal(s) am I not doing well at, and why?”
Regularly reflecting on your progress will help you stay focused and on track, plus help you set better goals in the future as you understand why some goals worked for you and some didn’t.
By intentionally using some small tricks to get your goals to fruition, you can be more successful at achieving them! All it takes is a little bit of effort and attention to the process.
Good luck with making your goals a reality this year! If you could use some more assistance, we offer a fantastic goal-setting training, and we’d be happy to do individual coaching as well. Reach out to us for more information.