Updated: May 9
As we quickly approach the new year, this is the time of year where everyone begins sharing their resolutions for the year, goals that are optimistic, inspiring, motivating fill our social media feeds and compel us to think about what we want to do too. For many of us, we have become accustomed to setting resolutions for the new year, with the best of intentions and often find ourselves losing focus or failing to keep said resolutions for the year. So, how can we set ourselves up for success in actually achieving our goals in 2021?
We have used these three things to help us set and achieve our goals and have found that we go farther, faster using this process in goal setting. And that includes achieving some impossible goals on our 2020 list!
Our goal setting process follows these three steps for each goal, helping us to achieve clarity on the what and the why, set ourselves up for progress in identifying the how and being honest and real about the fact that we cannot apply a filter and magically make our goals appear perfectly. In case you have not noticed one of our themes - failure is not just something we casually mention, it is integral to the process of achieving success.
So, here is our process for creating goals that you will achieve:
1. Start with the end in mind: this principle from Stephen Covey still rings true for us. We visualize where we want to be, and we get really clear with the outcomes we will achieve. This is also important to help get clear on the specifics of our goals - no ambiguous ‘make more money’ or ‘connect with more people’ kinds of goals over here! One tip we like to use here is to write down your end goal and then create a list of all the things you need to do to reach that goal so you have clarity on your actions and can identify your beliefs about achievement in the process too.
2. Be intentional with our focus: it is so easy to make a really long list of all the things we want to do, but in order to successfully achieve our goals, we have to be intentional with our focus. That means asking ourselves questions like “is this necessary to reach our goal?” and “is this the best way to use our time toward this goal?” So, take that list that you wrote in step one and now really consider what you have on the list and consider what you need on the list. You will surprise yourself with what you change and delete!
It is also important to use this step to be honest with ourselves about our focus. Consider this, most of us tend to go all in on a goal and then we lose momentum or motivation and end up quitting on ourselves because we feel overwhelmed or as though the goal is out of reach. But, what if we embraced the idea of being intentional and made decisions on purpose about our goal? And embraced that all of it mattered to our outcomes? Which takes us to number three...
3. Embrace the failures: we know that the path to achieving goals isn’t a simple straight line. To really achieve big goals, there will be failure. Missteps, wrong turns, frustration, and hard lessons are part of the process. So, we spend some time thinking about the obstacles we will encounter and how we can have some strategies for navigating through them. This doesn’t mean we can anticipate every fail, but it does help us have the right mindset when we get to the fail. And, it is important to recognize that there will be failures. There will be actions that we think are right that will not get the outcomes we expected. There will be things we try that we are convinced won’t work and we end up proving ourselves right. But allowing the failures, understanding that they are necessary and learning to embrace them, instead of fearing them, will be the key to you achieving your results.
Using this process in setting your goals will help you achieve clarity about what you want, define how you focus your time and resources and understand how to think about failure and use it to move yourself toward success. And those results will be goal achievement in and of themselves.
If you are interested in working with us to dive deeper into goal setting and creating leadership confidence we invite you to apply to our program Shatter Your Ceiling where we teach you a framework to manage your mindset at work and life.