Fail to Plan…Plan to Fail
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about endings and beginnings.
As the evenings start to draw in and the leaves fall from the trees, summer is coming to an end and autumn is beginning. The children have gone back to school and so a new year, a new term begins.
Closer to home, my sister married the love of her life at the weekend. As I was thinking about the beginning of their new life together, I couldn’t help but feel excited for them. I don’t know about you, but I love the thrill of a new beginning…the unknown…the adventure…the possibilities!
Whilst we’re probably all focussed towards the end of the year in our businesses or careers, it made me realise what a perfect opportunity it is for all of us to reframe the end as a new beginning. Instead of reflecting upon or beating ourselves up over targets or goals that we haven’t yet achieved, why not draw a line under them and enjoy the excitement of setting new ones, or ‘revising’ the old ones.
Now is an ideal time for us to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we’d like to go before the end of the year.
But as we all know, goals don’t just happen – the art is in the planning!
"A plan without action, is just a wish"
The most successful way to set and achieve goals is to use the SMART acronym
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound.
Whilst you may be thinking “we all know about SMART goal setting Natalie, tell us something new,”…
Do you know why most people don't achieve their goals?
Because they don’t plan, review or recognise when they’ve achieved them. So, here’s my plan for you to successfully achieve your goals:
Think about where you are now and where you want to get to by the end of the year. The difference is what I call “the gap”.
What goals can you realistically set between now and then to bridge “the gap”?
Set 3-5 goals using the SMART acronym.
Once you create the goal, break it down into as many specific actions that you need to take, in order to reach the goal.
Schedule the actions in your calendar. Be very specific around what day and time you plan to do them and stick to it.
Note the challenges you may face in achieving the goal, together with the benefits. That way, when the going gets tough, you can remind yourself why it’s important and why you set the goal in the first place.
In addition to your calendar, write the actions where you can see them – a white board in your workspace or post it notes above your laptop.
Hold yourself accountable – make the commitment to fulfil your goals. Not for anyone else, but for yourself. If this is something you struggle with, tell a colleague, boss or loved one what your goals are, so that you stay accountable.
Review your goals regularly – you can’t measure what you don’t track!
Recognise the success once you have achieved the goal and reward yourself. The brain releases a powerful chemical of dopamine (known as the chemical of reward) when we accomplish targets or goals, leaving us wanting more and….you guessed it…motivated to achieve the next goal.
So, I invite you to review your goals for the remainder of the year (set some if you don’t have any) and instead of focussing on what you haven’t achieved, get into the new beginnings mindset and feel the excitement of what is truly possible.
“With passion, drive and resilience, everyone has the potential to achieve anything”
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