I often face this challenge – I have thought about what I want to achieve, I have written goals down, I have even pinned them to the wall so I can SEE them….. and yet, 3 months on I am still no further to completing them.
The good news is I am not alone and neither are you – 92% of people will fail to reach their goals….
The bad news is, we all fail together…. Mmm, I’d rather be the 8% that actually accomplish the goals set.
So, how do you do this?
I have tried many a different technique to motivate myself and now I am working for myself the need for motivation and self-discipline is even greater. Over the years I have been introduced to five fabulous tools / methods, from different people and I wanted to share them with you because they have helped me in different ways.
1. Energise Your Goals
Writing down goals already puts you on the path to success. But actually believing and being passionate about your goals, ensures success. This can be done by drawing your goals as opposed to writing them. When we draw we are being at our most creative and a creative mind is a mind having fun and stretching itself. What better mind do you need to get passionate about your goals!
A very talented colleague of mine, Tim Hamons (visual recorder extraordinaire), took myself and a group of others on a visual journey of creating goals and the results were really impressive. To give you an example: one area I am developing and focusing on in 2016 is Resilience and through a couple of simple questions, my drawing for that goal was a lady on a trampoline (being able to bounce back) and holding a shield (strength, protection) – all things I associate with resilience and can build into what I do! I remember it, I don’t need to reference the notes I took, I have the visual image in my mind and it inspires me. Drawing the image is very powerful for recollection and connection.
You can also create templates to write your goals in, for example Tim uses what he calls a Goal Garden (see below) which is a lovely analogy about nurture and growth.
2. Create FLOW Goals
I am lucky to have a number of very talented people around me. Another colleague who showed me the alternative to SMART goals, is Lindley Craig, NLP Practitioner. FLOW goals make a lot of sense and work in tandem with how our brains function. Again there is an element of visualisation but instead of drawing, your are visualising what success and failure look like. The clever twist here though, is that you start with Failure. When I went through this process, I found that visualising what it looked like when I failed was motivation not to! I didn’t want to let my family down, I didn’t want to be stuck, I certainly didn’t want to be stagnating and with no money. What more incentive then to focus on what needs to happen to achieve the goal! I need to focus on the Amazing – what would it look like to completely blow the goal out the water? Just thinking about that level of success puts a smile on your face and actually makes it seem achievable, not just pie in the sky.
Completing FLOW goals for different aspects of life as well is a great way to maintain balance. I now do these for everything I want to achieve and I have them around me as a reminder. It works because I have a very clear reminder of what failure would be and I don’t want it!
3. Don’t forget to be SMART
SMART goals do have a place and can be used to get clarity on what you want to measure. I prefer using SMART goals for financial targets or when I want something increased by a certain amount by a certain time. It forces me to consider the reality and set appropriate targets for myself and others. As a reminder, SMART goals are:
Attractive (meaningful & relevant)
When writing the statement, it is a good technique to take yourself into the future and write it as it is. This is similar to the visualisation used in FLOW goals.
For example: It is 2020 and I completed ______________ and it has resulted in _______________.
I have a Coach and to help me get more clarity about the future she gave me the following exercise: Your future self from 2024 pays you a visit and tells you the story of your life over the last 10 years. What will she be able to tell you about your business? How would it have evolved and what steps did you take to get there? What would your personal life look like? HOw would you have achieved your goals? Write down the story of your life as told by your future self. Be realistic and as detailed as possible.
This is a great exercise as it is a great pre-cursor to completing the SMART goals as it gives you time to work through the different nuances that are related to your success, meaning your goals can be more specific. You don’t have to go so far in the future, you could just do the next 12months.
4. Stay Focused & Productive
I am the biggest procrastinator and have always worked right up to the deadline. I actually perform well under stress so this is a style that works for me but it doesn’t always suit people who work around me. I can also get distracted – I love what I do and I have so many things I am interested in and want to know more about that I will start one thing and then find I am looking at something else and then jumping to something else, all in a matter of minutes. Not good for output or productivity. Our brains were made to tackle one thing at a time and a study shows that if you task switch, when you go back to the original task, your accuracy reduces by 50% and you can also reduce your IQ!
The same person who told me that also invited me to be part of his Productivity Academy and for me it was the best thing. Remaining focused on one task, getting it completed before moving to the next, sounds simple but it wasn’t for me. I am like a Magpie, looking for the next shiny thing, and not staying on one thing long. However, the Daily Output Booster changed all that and I have Colin Boyd to thank!! It is so simple but so effective and I do use it every day. The Productivity Academy has a host of other great tools and methods to keep you focused on your goals and productive for the year ahead and the beauty is I can now use it for my team, we are talking the same language and using the same tools. The reminder here is that is doesn’t need to be complicate and it doesn’t need to be unique – don’t reinvent the wheel and try and create a system or process just for you or your team. Do some research, talk to people and you will find something already exists that you can just pick up and use, leaving your brain free to focus on the important stuff!
5. Have an Accountability Partner
If you are part of a small team or maybe you don’t have a team and you work alone then having someone in your corner, to push you to succeed is really important. When I started working on my own, that was the biggest challenge for me: I couldn’t figure out who I was accountable to. I had grown up in General Electric where your every move is measured and you have numerous stakeholders and suddenly, there was no one who cared! It was liberating as much as it was stifling. I had to be my own motivator and censor and it was a tough role to take on.
Finding friends and colleagues in similar situations where we could act as Accountability Partners for each other was a game-changer and significantly reduced my procrastination and made me focus on what needed to happen. Now, I do often slip back into bad habits but knowing I have a regular (every 6 weeks) meeting with my Accountability Partner keeps me true to task. I am using the same broad goals but focusing on the key activities that need to happen over the next 6 weeks. Having a partner who is outside the immediate circle of colleagues, friends and acquaintances also helps to bring a different point of view and perspective and they can ask questions that really help you see if from a layman’s perspective.
So there are a tonne of other things I have tried, I do and could recommend but for me these 5 have proved to be more successful than others. So, I wish you luck, it’s not easy but adopting some of the techniques above will ensure you achieve the goals you set.