In London this week, spring is in the air, the sun is out and it brings the feeling of a fresh start. It’s a magical time of year in the UK and the perfect opportunity to review those new years goals you have set to ensure this year is your best year yet.
I’ve seen so many people set goals and never get around to taking action to achieve those goals. A dream without a plan of action is just that; a dream.
I recently watched The Martian with Matt Damon who plays an astronaut, Mark Watney who is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. It got me thinking about how to achieve huge goals and in the case of the movie it was how to survive on a hostile planet with limited supplies.
Instead of focusing on the insurmountable obstacles ahead of him, and the immense tasks at hand – surviving on an alien planet, having enough food and water to last fours years – he focuses in on one thing at a time to ensure his survival.
If you have a dream, then you must have goals and an action plan to obtain it.
Over the years, I’ve curated my goals and learnt each year what works for me and what doesn’t. I’ve tried lots of different things to get me motivated and to take action, from vision boards to diaries to lists. Today I want to share 6 tips that work for me to make goals stick.
Back to Matt Damon again… in the movie, his character didn’t focus on the huge task which was to stay alive for four years.
He set himself daily tasks that would enable him to survive for fours years; figure out how to create water, then plant enough food to survive until the rescue mission arrives. The small goals keep you motivated and give you the feeling you’re being productive once you achieve them.
According to Lifehack it’s the same if you have a BIG career dream you want to turn into a reality. If you only set up huge, unachievable goals, you’ll get unmotivated and fall back into your old mindset.
So you want that corner office, Director title and huge salary ask yourself; what can you do today to achieve that? How should you act? What skills do you need? Once you answer those questions it becomes much more a reality rather than a pipe dream.
The trick is to set up a couple small, achievable goals and that lead towards the bigger ones.
TIP 2 | ENSURE YOUR GOALS ARE S.M.A.R.T
Ensure the goals you are setting are S.M.A.R.T, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. These goals are concrete and well-defined measures of your progress.
A while ago, I asked a friend of mine what her goals were this year. She said she wanted to be a manager. I replied, ‘That’s great that you have set a goal. Have you any idea when you want to be a manager and what type of manager you want to be?” I got a blank stare in return.
She needs to understand what type of manager, by when and by defining those first she will then know what she needs to do in order to become a manager.
If your life long dream is seeing the New York skyline, start figuring out what you can do today to get you there. Research how much flights are, write a list of must see places etc.
TIP 3 | TELL SOMEONE
Once you have set your goals and ensured that they are SMART, it’s time to tell someone to keep you accountable. Sharing your goals with someone you trust and someone who is always looking out for you will help keep you on track.
They will be able to support you during the difficult times and remind you why you started. It’s like having your own cheerleader.
TIP 4 | TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP TOWARDS YOUR GOAL
An ancient Chinese proverb says that the journey of 1,000 miles starts with one step.
Even if your goal isn’t to walk 1,000 miles, thinking about the first step on the way will really help to get you started. Even if you don’t know where to start there’s no excuse – your first step could be to research ‘how to…’ on the internet or think of people you could ask or to get a book on the subject from the library.
Then think of your next step…and the next…
TIP 5 | IF YOU SLIP UP DON’T GIVE UP
Working towards our goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating – so we need to persevere and be encouraging towards ourselves. Whatever it is that you are after, whether it’s be really small or a drastic change; stay persistent and don’t give up if you slip up.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way when you slip up.
By focusing on the good choices you’ve made, you’ll be less likely to slip up. You can even reward yourself with something like new stationary, an ergonomic keyboard or a lovely writing pen!
Every time you make a solid decision at work like solving a problem or calming a heated moment between co-workers, give yourself a wink in the mirror and say, “way to go!” This works, I promise.
TIP 6 | TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
There’s nothing more powerful than tracking your progress in a journal.
To me, a journal is one of the best tools you can have in your career journey. Each morning and evening take a few moments to write about what went well and how you can do better tomorrow. It’s an unbelievable process that keeps me grounded, motivated and honest with myself. It’s the one thing I do when I wake up and just before I go to bed every night!
TIP 7 | CELEBRATE
When you reach your goal take the time to enjoy it and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learnt along the way. Now, what is your next goal or project going to be?
Constantly reviewing your goals during the year and ensuring you have a cheerleader on your side will help keep you moving towards your goal. Also keeping track of your progress will remind you how far you have come since you first started. Enjoy the journey!
IMPORTANT: Which tip – or all – will you use today to turn your career goals into a reality? Share as many details as possible in the comments below, you never know who you will help!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
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