Have you ever struggled with trying to meet your goals? Even for high achievers, life is demanding, the busyness never ceases, and success in one area is often accompanied by lackluster performance in another.
The continuous demands of a high-performance lifestyle can make reaching your goals seem impossible. What you need is a guide.
Below is a simple step-by-step process to help you identify, set, and achieve short and long-term goals.
1. Identify Growth Areas
One of the first steps to take is deciding where you want to grow. Your growth will start with your intention. You won’t become healthier, wealthier, or smarter by accident.
Think about the areas you want to set goals in. Set physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, financial, professional, and relationship goals.
Preparing to set goals in an area doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing poorly in that area of your life. You should always be seeking to improve yourself. Often doing good is what keeps people from doing great.
2. Identify Your Important Roles
Think about your identity and what’s important to you. What roles do you fill and wish you could be better at?
Take some time to think about little improvements that can make you a better leader, spouse, parent, friend, sibling, or son/daughter.
These improvements can start with one small, easy thing. Ask yourself what you can do today that will make you a better X. If you don’t spend time thinking about what you want to grow in, you can easily go into autopilot and not reach any of your goals.
It is so sad to see people excel at work at the sacrifice of the other important roles in their life. Is it worth it to be successful at work at the sacrifice of your health and maybe even family relationships? No! However, it is possible to be successful in all your roles but it does take intention.
Once you’ve decided on the roles, you need to set long-term goals.
3. Set SMART Goals
If you want to see improvement in your chosen areas of development and various roles, you need to set SMART goals.
SMART goals mean that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Setting the right goals is vital in achieving your goals and growing as a person. If your goals aren’t specific and measurable, you won’t know when you’ve met them and can’t track any progress.
SMART goals don’t have to be complicated. For example, here are some SMART goals you can set:
- Exercise 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes
- Read 25 books per year
- Save 10% of my take-home income
- Pray each day
- Meditate for 15 minutes 4 times per week
- Connect with 1 friend per day
- Make 20 sales calls per week
All of these goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-specific. You could easily track the progress you make and celebrate when you reach them.
4. Have a Weekly Plan
Take time every week to look at your goals and develop plans to achieve those goals. If you only think about your goals when you set them, you will quickly forget and not make progress.
Your weekly plan needs to identify small steps to accomplish your long-term goals. Add those activities to your weekly calendar.
If reading 25 books per year is a long term goal, you need to have a short term goal of reading for 15 minutes in the morning every day.
I recommend reading Dr. Robert Maurer's book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.
In this book, Dr. Maurer explains that taking small steps is the best way to circumvent our natural resistance to change and allows us to build new habits.
5. Track Your Goals
Keeping track of your goals and progress towards them is just as important as setting goals in the first place.
If you’re not tracking your progress, you won’t know if you’re getting closer to achieving your goals.
Long-term goals can seem out of reach until you begin tracking your progress. We often look at our day-to-day progress and don’t see any improvements. If you improve by 1% every day, that progress can easily go unnoticed.
On the other hand, if you can look at your monthly progress and see a 25–30% improvement, that progress is more encouraging.
I designed the Weekly Game Plan to help you track your goals and make it easy to see your progress. The tracker helps identify weekly activities to reach your goals.
6. Conduct Monthly Reviews
You should be taking time at least once a month to talk with a friend or mentor about your goals. Take this time to celebrate your successes as well as develop action plans for improvement.
Monthly reviews are a time for you to analyze your goal tracking sheet, find any gaps, reassess your long-term goals, and discover opportunities to build a plan to improve.
You will find that reaching your goals becomes easier when you have someone you can be honest and open with.
If you’re looking for an accountability partner, you can schedule a free assessment call with me.
7. Develop Action Plans
Your monthly reviews should result in a clear action plan of what you need to work on. The plan should include what you will do and when you will do it.
If you have a plan to exercise more, your action plan needs to be clear about what that means.
Document your progress. For example, I might say, “This year I’m averaging 4 days of exercise every week. Last year I averaged 3 days a week. Now I want to set a plan to achieve my next goal of exercising 5 times per week. ”
Don’t just focus on weaknesses, make sure to celebrate the improvements! In the above example, I would be exercising 33% more this year!
During my monthly review, I might notice that Mondays are the day I usually miss my workout. My action plan for improvement may include running with my spouse or friend every Monday at 6:30 a.m.
When creating your action plan, try to add some fun. Include someone to keep you accountable to help reach your goals.
8. Apply Sustainable Renewal Practices
What happens when you don't accomplish your goals in a week or month? How will you handle the stress and anxiety that may come with setbacks in your life?
This step is the part of goal setting most people don't talk about. I’ve found that there’s a need to practice how we deal with anxieties and uncertainties of life.
I incorporate renewal practices into my schedule so I don’t get off track. These practices include regular exercise, practicing daily gratitude, prayer, and meditation.
Read this blog about renewal principles if you want more in-depth information.
9. Find Coaching Support
I know firsthand that this lifestyle is not easily built on your own. Having people who support you and help you accomplish your goals is necessary.
Investing in a mentor and coach is one of the best ways you can track your performance, create an action plan, and plan your next steps.
I have over 30 years of experience helping business leaders reach their goals, and one of my biggest goals is to continue providing value to people. Schedule a free assessment call with me.
I know that when you implement this step-by-step process, you will make progress and reach your goals.
Please reach out if you have any questions.