Enduringly successful leaders often have an established competency for setting and achieving meaningful goals. Here’s how.
January can be a time for reflection and focusing on the things we’d like to change or improve. But as the days and weeks pass, enthusiasm fades as we move back to our existing set of habits. There IS a better way.
The start of a new year has many common themes. There can be a sense of a new beginning and the opportunity to wipe the slate clean (well, mostly) and begin anew with a renewed level of optimism and enthusiasm. This often includes setting goals for the coming year.
Commonly referred to as “resolutions”, these annual goals can become powerful game changers, or bring about more modest gains. However, setting goals that go unmet can result in feelings of ennui, disappointment, or failure. So, what can be done to make goal setting a source of motivation and result in a sense of accomplishment and achievement?
There are well-established guidelines for goal setting; creating specific targets and timelines, with milestone dates to monitor progress, for example. Just as important as these elements is having a clear understanding of and commitment to the work of the goal. Accomplishment often comes from changing our behavior in the direction of the what it is we seek to accomplish. And while many lament their lack of discipline, a more productive approach is to establish a new set of positive, goal-directed habits.
Changing habits or creating new ones is simple to understand and difficult to do. Here are a few suggestions to overcome this challenge.
First, write it down (preferrable in a notebook or diary). It can be helpful to also capture what will result from accomplishing this goal. How will you and those close to you (co-workers, family, friends, the broader community, business stakeholders) benefit when you meet this target? Also sharing your goals with those close to you whom you trust can help reinforce your commitment to getting it done.
Start with the written goal and underneath this, note the habits which align with this target. Take each habit (be as specific as you can) and work on one at a time. Give yourself three to four weeks to practice this habit until it becomes second nature. Be patient and do not get discouraged if after a week or so, you aren’t feeling as though you are making progress. Stay with it!
If it sounds like this approach takes time, well, that’s true. However, if you carefully monitor your progress, take a check monthly and quarterly, you may be surprised to find you are getting meaningful results; one goal and one habit at a time!
For more information on creating an effective goal-setting process for your team and for your business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.