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How to Set Effective Goals

A little primer as 2016 flys by…

A reminder that you can’t win the game of…football/business/life …without kicking enough goals!

Be Realistic

It’s easy to get carried away with gigantic aspirations; success is often attributed to thinking big. However, overzealous ambition has the ability to undercut true potential. Setting the bar too high or over committing your time can lead to creating a culture of collapse.

Avoid wishful thinking. Understand what you are committing to and what that commitment will look like throughout your daily or weekly processes. The first step to creating a realistic business goal is to ensure you have gumption to see it through to completion. Attainable goals rely on real temporal pressures, real budget constraints and a real wish to succeed. If you don’t have the time, resources or intention needed to hit your targets, you probably won’t.

Stay Specific

Being specific about how you will achieve your goal gives you a clear idea of where to save time, cut costs or losses, and increase productivity where it counts most. It also ensures you know what you need to do to be able to tick the goal off.

Being specific from the outset also prepares you for potential hiccups on the road to success. Nutting out the details at the start will highlight oncoming pitfalls and grant you the chance to seek out any necessary advice you may need to avoid disaster. Organisation never hurts, and knowing the finer details of your plan is a simple way to keep your goals from becoming hazy, unattainable dead-ends on the horizon.

Note Your Progress

It’s no good going through the process of creating a realistic objective and devising a specific plan to achieve it if you don’t pay attention to the results. Missing the target can teach you a lot about how to win on your second attempt. Keep an eye on your results; it’s worth the time spent doing it, especially if you don’t like what you find.

Another advantage of noting your progress is that when things begin to slip you know sooner. Staying on track requires a bit of feedback. Being aware of the development of your specific benchmarks allows you to employ the necessary amount of grit needed to keep things running smoothly.

Create Consistency

It is wise to keep your list of goals short, not only for the sake of realism, specificity and process, but also to ensure consistency. Having too many goals can create confusion, not only because of time constraints, but also because of company or team objectives. You need to make sure that your goals are consistent with the fundamental priorities of your business or team.

If your goals clash, or work against company values, something is going to fail. Increasing client satisfaction might not sync well with reducing staff time spent on the phone. Figure out what is most important and focus on that first. Being consistent irons out unnecessary creases, leaving you to actively focus on the process at hand.

Commit to Processes

Your goals should have a specific time frame and will probably have hurdles along the way. This is why you should commit to a process. Focusing on processes minimises the stress of looming deadlines, increases productivity, and focuses on the positives of what you achieve, rather than pointing to the areas where you fell short. In a way, committing to process requires letting go of your result. But it is more a matter of ensuring that you keep a steady eye on the small pictures, as well as the big.

Committing to process will also point to whether or not your goal is relevant. If you need to spend three out of five days a week working on a goal that has little to do with monthly KPIs, chances are it’s not relevant enough to implement just yet. Prune it down, refocus, revise your process and recommit. This will build long-term resilience and positive determination.

Enjoy