The power of planning when setting your goals!

Practical, step-by-step help to optimise your journey to achieving your goals.
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It's the first month of 2019 and some of you may have set your goals at the end of 2018 and others are looking at them this month. How many of your goals are well planned and written down?

Evidence to support the power of writing down your goals

The Harvard 'Written Goal Study and Yale Class of 1953' reinforced what we all already know, writing down your goals sets you up for being exponentially more successful.

The results of the study showed that 83% of the group did not have goals. 14% had a plan in mind but didn't write it down. 3% had a goal and had written it down. The study showed that:
  1. The 14% who had a goal were 10 times more successful than the 83% without a goal
  2. The 3% who had a goal and wrote it down, were 3 times more successful than the 14% who hadn't written down their goals.
It's clear that to optimise your success, you need to write down your goals.

The power of value-centred goals

The Oxford dictionary defines value as 'the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth or usefulness of something'. Values are 'Principles or standard of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life'

Our values determine our decisions and guide our lives. When planning your goals, the more those goals are aligned to your values and principles, the easier the journey and more successful the outcome.

Think about the last goal you achieved and the last one that wasn't successful. I suspect the one which was more aligned to your values, was the successful one.

Goals may change but values are often more solid and consistent.

Practical steps to take when planning to achieve your goal

A lot of goal planning advise starts with writing down the goal, using the SMART acronym, being that it should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible. I suggest that you wait to write this down until after you have worked through the following steps:

  1. Decide on the area of your business or life that the goal is in. For example, increase business revenue.

  2. Write down the benefits to be gained by achieving the goal in this areas of your business or life. This can be emotional, financial, physical etc. Examples are more profit, less stress, more time with my family, more time for me etc

  3. Write down the losses to be avoided if you didn't achieve this goal. In other words, what would you lose if you don't achieve this goal. Examples are time with my family, holidays, feeling good about expanding my business, retiring early so I can enjoy my life

  4. Think through and write down all the possible obstacles that could get in your way and the solutions to these obstacles. 

    These are the 'what ifs' and the aim of this bit is to avoid panic and making stressed decisions if/when obstacles appear on your way.
    It's a bit like going to self-defense classes. You hope never to have to use what you've learned but know that should you be in a situation where you need to defend yourself, you know exactly what to do. 

  5. Write down specific action steps you need to take to support you achieving your goal. They don't have to be in any order at this stage.

  6. Once you have the specific action steps written down, add the number order they need to be done in to each step.

  7. Think about who needs to know about your goal. Think of someone you can be accountable to but will also provide support.

  8. Write down how you will track your progress. What will the markers of progress be for you?

  9. Think about whether the goal supports your values. If after you've done the planning, you decide the goal doesn't support your values, you may decide it isn't a goal you want to achieve.

Once you've done all the thinking and planning and have decided on your goal, set a target date to achieve it and use the SMART acronym to write down the goal itself.

I know it seems unusual to leave writing down your goal till the end but by thinking about every aspect of achieving the goal fully, you will work out if it is aligned with your values. If so, you are more likely to achieve it. 
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