Every year we all have the best of intentions to finally lose that 30 pounds, or start that business, or get out of debt. And every year, most of us make it to December 31st and realize that we didn’t reach our goals as we had intended. Intentions are great, but you have to plan your way to success in order to be part of the 8% of people who actually reach their goalsevery year. If you want to be part of that 8%, here are four secrets successful people know about setting and achieving their goals:
1. Get clear. It’s important to note that activity is very different from productivity. When you’re not clear about your mission, vision or purpose, you can easily get caught up in a flurry of activity where you’re doing a lot, but not necessarily making progress towards the things most important to you. It’s called busy work: responding to non-urgent emails; attending numerous events with no concrete purpose except a photo opp; spending countless hours on social media with no definite outcome except to stay visible; working on projects that aren’t fulfilling but keep you occupied—the list goes on. In order to be productive this year, you have to first get clear on what it is you really want and why you want it; what you’re passionate about; and what you want to outcome of your actions to be. Take some time to get clarity around where you need to spend your energy this year.
2. Focus only on your next best step. So many of us tend to get overwhelmed when we think about everything we have to accomplish in a day, let alone a year. That’s one of the reasons we procrastinate and get very little done. Our mind goes on overload and becomes immobilized. What I’ve learned to do is, instead of focusing on what I need to do over the next three months, I focus on the next best step and get that done before looking at what’s next. The key is to make sure that your next best step gets you closer to your goal(s).
3. Get an accountability partner. It’s very easy to tell yourself you’re going to do something and finally check it off your list, but never make progress towards it. If you’re the only one who knows you were supposed to get it done, then you don’t have to worry about someone holding you accountable to what you said you were going to do. However, when you tell someone else what your intention is, it adds a completely different layer of commitment to completing that thing. Now you have someone to answer to—and you don’t want to continue disappointing that person when it comes time to letting them know about your progress or lack thereof. Pick someone to be accountable to who will hold your feet to the fire and won’t let up until it’s done. The importance of accountability is one of the reasons why we included access to an accountability group with the purchase of the Whose Shoes 2017 Transformational Planner.
4. Understand how to reach your goals. It seems like vision board parties have become all the rage—and that’s a great thing. The challenge is, what do you do once you have your vision board completed? How in the world do you go about making what’s on that board a reality? One of my business mentors provided a very useful formula that anyone can use to go from vision to reality. It simply:
Mission > Vision > Goals > Action = RESULTS
You have to first understand what your overall mission or purpose is and build a vision around it. A vision without a plan, however is only a hallucination. Next, come up with very specific goals around that vision (any more than 1-6 in a year will overwhelm you). Those goals then become the building blocks of the vision. Each goal needs to have clear actions that you are going to take to achieve it, and eventually you’ll see results. Check out this segment on Good Morning Washington where I break down goal-setting with my sister, Christine St. Vil.