CO - HR Innovation

3 Tips for Setting and Achieving Goals

3 Tips for Setting and Achieving Goals

Last week I wrote about when setting goals for 2021 we should Go Big or Go Home because it’s big goals that inspire people. Yes, I know that can be a little scary but as Richard Branson says, ‘if your goals are not scary, then they are not big enough’.

Being scared is ok, in fact, I would say it’s mandatory if you want to have a sense of achievement when your goals are realised.

So today, I wanted to share 3 tips on goal setting that will help you not only set great goals but also put you in the best position to achieve them.

Tip 1 - Set SMART Goals

Using SMART Goals is crucial if you want to achieve success, especially if you’re setting goals for your teams.

For me, SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here I have deviated from the standard definition of SMART goals and have replaced Achievable with Aspirational. If we’re going to Go Big, or Go Home, then we need to have Aspirational goals, goals that are going to inspire us and give us that genuine feeling of achievement when the goals is realized.

Here’s why I am a fan of SMART goals.

Specific

Our goals need to be specific, we have to be absolutely clear on what is the outcome we are looking for. It can be a wishy-washy like, I want to be better at… or I want to achieve more, it has to have a clearly defined outcome that we can say if it has been achieved or not.

It could be I want to lose 20lbs, I want to increase profits from 10% to 15%, I want to create 3 new products. But it has to be described in a way that allows you, and your teams - if it’s a business goal - to know whether it has been achieved or not.

Measurable

When you set a Specific goal, it allows us to measure whether it’s been achieved or not. But to me measurable also means that you can breakdown the goal into milestones that allow you to track your progress and this will help motivate you and your teams as you start to see progress being made.

Aspirational

As mentioned before, we need to set goals that inspire, goals that push the envelope and will give a great sense of achievement once realized.

Relevant

This is one element of SMART goals that is often forgotten. I see so many goals set that have no relevance to companies’ Vision, Mission, or Strategy. Seriously, it’s almost as if defining those things and goal setting are completely different and separate activities. When setting goals make sure they are relevant and aligned otherwise, they will be dropped when the progress made is not relevant.

Time-bound

When setting goals, you have to say when the goal will be achieved be. Why? Because this is crucial to planning, you need to know the deadline so you can set interim milestones, and use that to measure and track progress.

Tip 2 - Share Your Goals

Writing your goals down, according to the research by Dr. Gail Mathews at Dominican Univ California, will improve your chance of achieving it by 42%, which is most welcomed, and I am sure many of you have heard that before, and probably do write them down.

However, if you really want to give your chances of success a boost, then take the second step that Dr. Mathews proposes, and that is to share your goals with a friend.

Because when you share your SMART Goals with a friend, you increase your chance of success by 78%.

Let’s just think about that for a second and ask would I like a 72% boost.

Of course, you would. So write down your goals and share them with a friend, your colleagues, or your teams.

Tip 3 Aim High, Start Small, Celebrate and Keep Going

It’s great to set Aspirational goals, goals that might scare us a little, but when you’re looking to achieve the goal, then this is my four-step approach.

Step 1 Aim High

I have already covered this, but yes, we need to set big bold goals as these will look to inspire us, our teams, and our companies.

Step 2 Start Small

According to the University of Scranton, a whopping 92 percent of people who set New Year’s goals never achieve them. There are several reasons for this, one of them can be that our goals are a little too scary and we are too afraid to start.

To get around this, you need to Start Small, find something that you can do to get going on your goal. When I decided to run my first marathon, as a non-runner this was a scary goal. But to get started, my first run was just a simple 15-minute run, something I knew I could do. Now I had no fear I could get started and then look to build momentum.

Step 3 Celebrate

I am a huge believer in the power of Recognition, and I am a big advocate of starting to recognize not only success but those first efforts. Why? Because what gets recognized gets repeated, and it’s the repetition of effort that is going to help us to start hitting those early milestones that will help build momentum and motivation.

Step 4 Keep Going

One of the greatest qualities we can develop is persistence. Persistence is a talent multiplier, and given that most big bold goals are based on an accumulation of small successes, it is persistence that is going to help us achieve the goal. Persistence is also what allows us to overcome challenges and setbacks, and let’s face it if we Aim High enough, then there will be some tough times, but if we persist and keep progressing, you will get there.

One of my own personal examples of the power of persistence is related to my writing and how I have written over 1400 leadership articles, something which surprises many people. When they ask me how I did my answer is simple, I wrote one a day for 1400 days. Writing one is not a lot, it didn’t achieve the goal, it was my persistence of doing it for 1400 days that allowed me to achieve that goal.

After 2020 I hope many of you are looking forward to 2021 and want to set Big Bold Beautiful Goals for the New Year for yourselves, your teams or your companies. If you do that and you follow these 3 tips, they will help put you on the path to success.

  • Gordon Tredgold
    Gordon Tredgold
    International speaker, published author, executive and business coach

    Gordon Tredgold is a former business and IT transformation expert who has successfully delivered $100 million programs and Gordon has lived and worked in UK, Belgium, Holland, Czech Republic, USA, and Germany, which has given him great international experience, coupled with leading global teams of over 1000 staffs of Fortune 100 companies. Today, he is an international speaker, published author, executive, and business coach.  Gordon is also a Visiting Professor at Staffordshire University and has given lectures to the Executive MBA Program on FAST. Gordon has written 3 books, and is a columnist for Inc, Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post, and has had articles featured in Business Insider, Fortune, Fox News, and Addicted2Success.

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