Deb Lee offers advice to help business managers and leaders get ambitious goals back on target
As we approach the middle of 2022, it’s an excellent time for business managers and leaders to reflect honestly on the work-related goals set for this year as part of New Year’s resolutions. It’s likely you were highly motivated at the beginning of the year and made bold resolutions as well as setting exciting new business goals.
But right now, early January can feel like it was a long time ago! Familiar routines and habits can get in the way of your plans far too quickly, causing you to lose sight of the goals you set. It’s a good idea to review goals from time to time and ask yourself: Where did I initially want to go? Where do I stand now? How can I refocus on achieving my goals?
Here is a three-step programme for revisiting goals and getting back on track when you’re struggling. With this approach, you can get your resolutions back on track and finally stop putting off getting started.
STEP 1: Review
Your starting point should be to conduct an honest review of where you are in relation to achieving your goals. People often make ambitious goals, which is understandable because once a big goal has been achieved, the success can be celebrated even more. However, if goals are too big and ambitious, frustration can set in when you don’t achieve them, and motivation decreases over time.
Sharing knowledge is an advantage when implementing ambitious plans and working with other people can also help you stay motivated
In order not to completely dismiss goals, it is advisable to first review and adjust them. The first review will take place when you decide a change is needed because you haven’t achieved your goals. This review is the starting point to making a better, more effective plan. It may feel overwhelming to review what worked well and what didn’t, so do a “brain dump”. Get everything out of your head and on to paper. Or put it all in an app so you can refer to it and organise it in a way that makes sense to you.
Then, remind yourself again where you currently stand. Ask yourself: Have I really achieved as little as I thought? What specific steps have I taken to advance my goal? It is then important to define for yourself what it means to be productive as productivity can also be seen differently depending on individual goals. Once the new plan is in motion, you should review it every week.
STEP 2: Plan
Next, it’s a good idea to make a new plan or revise your original one. It works best if To Dos are broken down into smaller, feasible sub-steps to achieve goals more quickly and celebrate them. You should ask yourself: What does success look like for me? And what is my first or next step? It is particularly important to identify personal pain points including what has prevented you from achieving your goals so far.
After that, you should think about how you want to approach the implementation in practical terms. “One thing at a time” is a proven saying that can also be of significance here. Trying to achieve all your goals at once builds up unnecessary pressure and usually ends in disappointment and frustration. To be productive does not only mean to reach goals with speed, but to be continually motivated by the implementation of small parts.
Ultimately, working towards a goal involves perseverance, but even more so the desire to put things into action. Methods such as SMART and CLEAR can be used to check if goals are feasible and digital tools like productivity and note-taking apps are suitable for recording step-by-step plans.
STEP 3: (Re)do
You must restart your plan somewhere, preferably with the next logical step, the very first necessary step into action – and it doesn’t have to be done alone. When individuals or teams achieve great success, it is common to find an entire support network that promotes the goal or makes it possible even in the first place. Before you begin taking action, check in with people you respect and trust.
Mentors, coaches, colleagues, peers and friends are good sounding boards. Sharing knowledge is an advantage when implementing ambitious plans and working with other people can also help you stay motivated. To stay focussed on each milestone you’re planning to achieve, consider using a project task list. Using a digital task management tool will also allow you to set automatic reminders so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Ultimately, revisiting your long-term goals using this three-step approach can help you refocus and re-energise your efforts to achieve notable success in 2022.
Following this process will allow you to focus on productivity and achieve what really matters to you and your organisation this year – good luck!
Deb Lee is an Evernote Certified Expert, digital productivity coach and consultant