Are you tired of hearing about New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like me, you may have ambitious goals in January, only to find them a distant memory by February. That’s why comedian Joey Adams coined the toast, “May your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.”
If you want to achieve your objectives, you aren’t doomed to fail, even if you have done so in the past. If you missed our post called The real reason you’re not achieving your goals, read that now for ideas about how to avoid resolution-derailment. Here are more potential obstacles and their solutions:
Goals fall off the radar. Life has a way of overwhelming our goals, and we often lose track of what we wanted to achieve. One strategy for keeping your goal top-of-mind is an in-your-face tracking method. Try an automatic an email or task notification that is sent to yourself each week, reminding you of your goals and action steps. Create a public chart of your progress, and enlist others to help you stay on track.
You don’t involve others. The days of the lone rider are gone. Setting appropriate, challenging goals and achieving them require input from others throughout the process. Consider seeking feedback from people outside your industry, as well as subject matter experts in your field. You may be surprised at the new insights you will gain.
You don’t prep for action. Just aiming for a target is not sufficient. At some point, you must shoot. This means planning goal-specific, targeted action. Break big goals up into manageable bits, then set milestones for each stage. Your action plan must be flexible, yet contain the necessary detail to drive getting things done.
You set them for others. If you set the goals for your direct reports, proceed with caution. Will your people perform at their best if they do not “own” their goals? How would you feel if someone set yours? Probably less than enthused. If you must set others’ goals, at least engage them in a conversation to get their input and buy-in. Also, make sure you’re not expecting the impossible. Impossible expectations equals stress and poor performance. In other words, you’ll frustrate your people and not achieve your goals. Not only that, you’ll likely end up wasting time recruiting and training new employees when your people bail on you.
Reaching your goals requires dedication and discipline. Don’t use the age-old excuse: I don’t have time. As H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
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I am always setting goals for myself and don’t shy away from making my list long or the goals on it too grand. I do find, however, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed if I don’t allow myself all the help available to me. I use an online tool to help with every stage of every goal. Before I found it I would achieve maybe 20% of the goals I set and now I would say that’s more like 85%. That’s a pretty good success rate considering the size of some of the goals I set. Keep up the good work!