As I coach professionals, I often hear from them that even though they start off well on what they want to pursue, but struggle to maintain momentum. Their most common refrains are that either other priorities took over or they were too busy to make time. As a result, their goals soon fall by the wayside. Sometimes these goals remain on the wish list for so long that they start feeling like pipe dreams. Given below are three things that you need in order to set yourself up for success to achieve your goals –
- Strategize – What does your goal mean for you on an everyday basis? What does it mean for the people around you? What gets precluded by virtue of your goal, e.g., if you sign up for an evening class to upgrade yourself, you will not be able to drive your child to her football practice. What else will you not be able to make time for when you start making time for your goal? Michael Porter aptly says that the essence of strategy is deciding what not to do. Figuring out what you will stay away from determines how much time, energy, and focus you will give your goal. Without this boundary, you may be overcommitting yourself. So think about:
- What activities or projects do you need to give up or postpone
- What do you need to delegate/automate?
- Which habit(s) do you need to change to support your goal?
- Whose expectations do you need to manage?
- Know what to measure – While planning as humans, we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a given period and underestimate the time we need to do something. Make sure to know the extent of your bias in the early stages so you can readjust your plans. Smaller milestones, steadily achieved, are more likely to take you to your ultimate destination. Small successes create positive feelings, strong motivation, and improved performance. Therefore, you need to prioritize figuring out how you will know that you are moving in the right direction, so you can course correct quickly if required.
- Enlist support – Consider getting outside support to achieve your goals. No matter how driven you are, having additional support for achieving your goals significantly increases your chances of success. People who support you can brainstorm ideas with you, help you reflect, challenge your assumptions, call out your biases, cheer you on, give you a different perspective, and hold you accountable to your commitments. You may be lucky to have such people in your circle to play these different roles for you, or you can engage a coach who seamlessly wears these hats to co-create your success.
Summary: Three crucial aspects that heavily improve your chances of achieving your goals are –
- Firming up commitment by figuring out not only what you will do to attain your goals but also what you will not do so that you can marshal the time, energy, and focus you need,
- Knowing what to measure to gauge that you are moving in the right direction, and
- Enlisting support of your personal advisory board or a coach to keep you focused and accountable to your goals.