Goal setting is an important part of personal and professional growth. With life keeping us so busy, it can sometimes be difficult to keep focused on the ever growing “to-do” lists we keep. The mandatory tasks we focus on first, paying bills, laundry, etc., then things that can make our day-to-day lives better, such as eating right and working out. By the time we get to the things at the bottom of the list, it can be easier to push them to a later date in the future, next week, next month, or worse, no targeted deadline at all. The question is, how can you change this?
We all know the challenges, but what are the solutions?
Setup Achievable Goals with Realistic Timelines. This is a great way to understand exactly what you have ahead of yourself. Instead of writing down a large goal, that is unclear how much time and effort will be required, break it down into steps. Mind maps can be an excellent way to do this.
- Start with your goal in the center and branch off the main tasks you know will need to support this goal. Then take those main tasks, and try to create a list of items that can be done in a few mins, or a few hours if possible.
- In order of priority, add them to your daily to-do list or planner with deadlines that are realistic.
- Don’t overdo it! Depending on how much time they require, add 1-2 a day, or 1-2 a week. It can be better to start off small, rather then attempting to tackle too much at once.
Utilize Calendars and Apps. Once you have established your timeline, how do you plan to keep track of your progress? There are some really great paper planners out there that are designed specifically to help you focus on your goals. Two of my personal favorites, are Passion Planner, and Get to Work Book.
If paper planners are not for you, there are plenty of great apps available. Evernote, Asana, and Google Keep are popular options. They are extremely easy to setup and use, and will even prompt you when your task is due if you forget. Whether you decide to check off your goals on paper, via digital means, or both, it can be a great tool to ensure you stay on track.
Be Accountable, and Not Just to Yourself. Sharing your goals with other people makes you more likely to follow-through. It can even be way to find unexpected support. Share with your followers online, or in a private Facebook group. Depending on the goal, take advantage of your own personal focus group to bounce ideas, and gather feedback. You might be surprised by the encouragement you receive.
Social media can often be intimidating. Putting yourself out there on such a large platform might not be the right fit for you. In this case, an accountability partner is a great alternative. Seek out someone who you know will not only be there to cheer you on, but will also call you on excuses you might find yourself often relying on. Even better, find someone who wants to share in their own goal setting. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who may have the same, or similar goals. Together, create a few tasks you can share in, compare notes, brainstorm, and challenge each other! It is a win-win for both parties.
Celebrate Those Wins! This is more important than you think. Let’s face it, unexpected things come up and it can be difficult to always achieve all of your weekly goals, even with the best time management. Focusing only on the things you didn’t get done can be discouraging, and might make you want to quit all together. At the end of each week, take some time to reflect on what you have accomplished. Do this again at the end of each month. Be proud of what you have achieved!