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.
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