Now that you have set your SMART goals for the year, and had a couple weeks to flush out all unrealistic New Year resolutions, how do you make sure you follow through and take your SMART goals to the finish line?
Below, I offer ten tips that have helped me personally. Some inspired by movies, some borrowed from amazing people, and some from my own experiences. I hope you find them beneficial, and can adopt tips that work best for you.
1. Seeing is Believing
I borrow this tip form the movie Field of Dreams. The voice that spoke to Kevin Costner’s character, “if you build it, he will come!” drove him to build a baseball diamond in his field of corn.
Visualizing your goal is everything. If you cannot see it, if you cannot feel it, if you cannot see yourself and your family in it, then it won’t happen.
Whatever goal you set for yourself, it has to become part of your lifestyle, integrated in your purpose and your daily activities.
2. Break it Down
You cannot eat a whole burger with one bite! Every goal can be broken down into smaller tasks. No matter how small or insignificant these tasks might seem, together, they contribute to the goal delivery.
Committing to calling a client on a specific date/time, with a specific agenda, is one step towards building rapport and trust, which in turn might lead to a confirmed deal with that client.
Not only will this tip help you focus on achieving your goal, but it will give you the satisfaction from completing these smaller tasks, pushing you to do more. Start the ball rolling with smaller tasks, and you will find momentum.
3. Use Technology
You need to allocate time and resources to complete each task. Use whatever technology you are comfortable with to track your goals.
Calendars, project management tools and performance management tools can come handy and help you stick to your timelines. Just remember, do not cheat by pushing tasks forward into the future!
4. Make it Public
You have 40% chance of completing your goal if you communicate it to people around you. The good people in your circle will ask about progress on your goal and hold you accountable. They may even be a good source for suggestions and new ideas!
Communicating your goal to your network can open other doors and help you find necessary resources. If you ever feel stuck, use your connections, and never shy away from asking for help.
5. Be Flexible
When circumstances and external factors change, be agile with the change and work with it. Being rigid and sticking to a goal that is no longer valid won’t help you. Learn from whatever mistakes you have made and have a Growth Mindset to look at challenges as opportunities for growth and development.
In any case, study the external environment, test the validity of your assumptions and know the impact of such factors on your goal.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Don’t be hard on yourself, love who you are and embrace everything you did to get you here, including your mistakes. Direct all your energy towards accomplishments rather than beating yourself up. Look forward to a brighter future by continuous learning and maintaining a Growth Mindset.
Learn to laugh more, cry less, and let go of grudges. A good advice from my parents.
7. Celebrate More
Take time to celebrate small achievements in whatever way that pleases you. Be it in a form of a shopping spree, a vacation, getting a massage, or having an amazing dinner with a friend.
The point is you constantly remind yourself of your successes, no matter how small, and strive to have more of them. You’ve got this!
8. Maintain Positive Circles
Surround yourself with positive and successful people who lift you up. They don’t have to be people with similar goals to yours, hell, they don’t even have to have goals of their own! They just need to be the type of people who maintain a positive outlook to life.
Positivity is a stimulus, negativity is infectious. Select your circle of friends carefully and keep the vibe.
9. Get a Coach – optional
Invest in a coach if needed. There are many options out there, some more affordable than others. Coaching styles also vary, so pick a coach you are most comfortable with and agree on a schedule that works for you.
Remember, a coach will never give you instructions, rather, he/she will work with you to come with a best-fit solution to your challenges. A good coach will make sure you are comfortable with the way forward and you have full ownership of it.
Coaching is a large area. For more information about coaching, or if you want to develop your own coaching skills, checkout the Coaching Skills Workshop from Awe Horizons.
10. Set Free Time
Set time aside to do nothing! I learned this particular tip from Simon Sinek, so I give credit to him! Don’t feel bad if you don’t think about work at all. Reading a book, playing sport, going for a walk or simply watching TV is not a bad thing.
The idea is to give your brain some rest from focusing on what’s in front of you right at the moment and allow it to wonder. It is during those times that our brains are free to think outside the box and innovate.
Good luck with all your goals, enjoy every step of the way and stay tuned!