The Unquestionable Technique to Succeed in your Goals

People often ask me about why do they keep failing in their Goals.  I had no real answer for them – UNTIL I found the following technique which works unquestionably well in setting and achieving Goals.

Why Goals?

  1. Goals remove uncertainty and ambiguity
  2. Goals make your activities and actions aligned
  3. Goals bring a sense of direction
  4. Goals help convert your dream into reality

Why most Goal setting fails?

  1. The Goal is over-ambitious and unrealistic
  2. Actions are not aligned to Goal
  3. Goal is unclear
  4. Goal is without a specific date

The first thing to learn is setting Goals. Let’s get started.

5 rules of Goal setting

Rule # 1. Goal is an outcome. It should create a picture for you. Associate the Goal with your emotions, thoughts and feelings. How you will feel after achieving the goal is really important to visualize. If you don’t have the picture and emotions attached to your Goal, your brain is going to give up soon.

Rule # 2. Goal should be as specific as possible. For example, if you are writing a book, then your Goal can be “Finishing 5 chapters by 31st April”.

Rule #3. Goal has a target date. Having a date gives you the necessary discipline and momentum to keep going in face of adversity.

Rule #4. It should be realistic. If your rational brain doesn’t believe in the Goal you have created, it is not going to do anything about it. The goal has to be believable and realistic. The easiest way to verify this is by asking someone closer to you (such as your friend or spouse) about the Goal you have created. They can instantly bust your “mythical” Goal and bring it to reality.

Rule #5. Goal should be slightly beyond your comfort zone. If the goal is too easy to achieve, no need to create it. It’s like fooling yourself. Create a goal which is difficult to achieve and yet believable to act upon.

Here is an example: “Generate income of $8000/- per month by April 31st 2014 “

Now lets evaluate this goal. 

  • Is it specific? Yes
  • Does it have a target date? Yes
  • Is it realistic? – It depends
  • Is it slightly beyond comfort zone? – It depends

Here is the explanation of this Goal: This goal would be realistic if someone is earning $6000 per month right now. But if someone is making $1000 a month, that goal would be unrealistic. For someone who is making $6000, it is slightly beyond the comfort zone, which means it’s a good Goal to have.

Human brain can pursue 3 goals very effectively. Try not to have more than 3 goals. Start with only ONE goal with this method and than add more goals once you feel comfortable.

Now that your Goals are set, here are the next steps.

Map your goals into smaller, byte sized goals

I always like to map bigger goals into smaller goals, thats where they meet reality. If you are looking to earn an extra $2000 in next 3 months, how much extra can you make next week. Setting up daily, weekly or monthly goals makes goals more realistic and easy to achieve.

Align key behaviors and their frequency

Identify key behaviors (repetitive actions) necessary to achieve your Goal and do them regularly in a particular frequency. For example, if you are clear that generating an additional $2000 means contacting at 30 prospects and converting at least 2 prospects each week. Then your key behavior could be  – “Client prospecting and generating leads – 30 minutes every day”

Here are some important points to consider while designing your behavior:

  1. It should be one or more specific physical action (e.g. calling clients, prospecting on internet etc.)
  2. Try to map 2-3 key behaviors with each Goal
  3. Do them in a specific frequency or interval (e.g. every wednesday, thursday and friday)

Keep Track

Goals setting is almost useless without regular tracking and review. Keep a track of your goal on a weekly basis. More specifically, keep track of your key behaviors.

Tracking your key behaviors and progress in your goal will provide you a sense certainty and boost your motivation. It will tell you how you are moving or not moving towards your goal. As you become aware of your performance,  you can adjust your goals and/or key behaviors to match with reality.

Here is the summary of what you have learnt so far about setting and achieving goals:

  1. Create specific and achievable goal – neither too ambitious, nor too small
  2. Write down Goal in detail. Most importantly write “Why” you want do to this Goal.  Write emotions, feelings associated with your Goal, and how it will look like when the Goal is achieved
  3. Map out larger Goal into smaller bite sized Goals (weekly or monthly)
  4. Identify and map 2 to 3 key behaviors necessary to achieve your Goal
  5. Track weekly

At the end of the day,  journey is more important than destination. The trail you leave behind while pursuing your Goal is valuable and worth your life. Enjoy the journey without being too much attached to outcomes. You will do wonders.

Your Assignment: Write down your ONE most important Goal in the next 3 months and 3 key behaviors associated with the Goal in the comment below.

Looking forward to seeing you succeed with your Goals.

How to Stop Failing and Start Achieving Your Goals with Certainty

Last year, I failed to achieve some of my business Goals. This set me thinking and looking for optimal ways to improve my ability to set and achieve Goals. The result has been encouraging. I started getting my Goals moving in the right direction and I am already ahead in my game. If you are someone like  me, having failed to achieve Goals or pursuing ambitious Goals, following ideas can come handy, probably, just at the right time:

1. Clarify your purpose: What kind of things you really want to see happening without exception. What things can you trade-off for things you want “badly” enough. When I work with people to determine their Goals, I often ask these questions – How badly do you want this Goal and what can you trade-off (or give up) to achieve it? Usually after some mental and emotional struggle, their faces lit-up because by giving up on a “nice to have” Goal, they just brought more certainty around their “badly” needed Goal.

2. Create smaller, short-term Goals: Most of us cannot foresee our lives in next 6 months or 12 months – at least the visibility gets hazy with the span of time. But it’s easier to see what we could achieve in next 1 to 3 months. It’s even easier to translate a small Goal into a big Goal. Look at your larger Goals and identify short-term Goals which you can put in next 3 months horizon.

3. Edit your Goals: The probability of getting successful with a Goal reduces with the number of Goals you have. Recent research in neuroscience suggest that human beings can effectively pursue three goals at once – daily, quarterly or yearly. Set a three Goals rule, be it your day or quarter. You will be much more effective at achieving them.

4. Get Realistic with Time: Your energy is a limited resource and it can be exchanged to achieve things you want in life. In project management, we estimate the effort required to complete certain task. This is technique can be quite useful to become realistic with your Goals. Break down your Goals into set of orchestrated or repetitive actions and guesstimate time required in each step. This can provide a first hand understanding of the energy needed to accomplish your Goal and organize your life better to achieve it.

5. Delegate: Most of us think we are indispensable. Many years ago when I was running a software company, I was bitten by the bug to “do it all by myself”. Upon introspection, I saw that I was trying to make everyone feel my importance in the business. A terrible mistake. Begin delegating parts of your Goal or whole chunk of Goal to someone you can trust. People around you are smarter than you think. They need challenges to prove themselves. Delegate and keep a track of progress.

Setting and achieving Goals is a delicate art. If you get it right, optimum actions will flow from it.

Want to learn the deeper nuances of productivity and achieving Goals? Subscribe to my exclusive productivity newsletter to learn and implement the best strategies to achieve Goals faster with certainty.


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