Here’s a question for you. How many readers have already broken their New Year’s resolution? My bet is that many of you are guilty! Why does this happen? The answer lies in how you set your goals. For instance, were your goals written down? Were the goals specific enough so that you knew what you had to accomplish? Were the goals measureable? Were they realistic? If your goals did not meet this brief test, more than likely, you have already reverted back to your old habits and that promise of change has now been cast aside.
While goal setting can be a powerful personal and professional change tool, the difference between success and failure depends on how you have structured your goals. Therefore, before too much time passes and your dreams fade away, take the time to rewrite your goals and make them come alive. Follow these ten simple rules to create success.
Be sure what you want –
a goal has to have true emotional meaning. You must really want to achieve the goal. It has to be your goal and not someone else’s. In order to gain that sense of accomplishment, the goal must also be worth your time and effort. It has to make you feel good.
Limit your efforts –
while you might wish to change the world, you can’t do it all at once. In other words, prioritize and focus on just a few goals that won’t overwhelm you. Achieving one to three goals creates much more satisfaction than failing an attempt at five goals.
Visualize success –
what will things look like when you accomplish your goal. Writing this aspect right into the goal is very important. It helps you to visualize success. You can see where you are going.
Be specific –
general goals in the workplace such as “We will ban smoking” just won’t do. You need to be specific by identifying exactly what you want to accomplish. For instance, “We will ban smoking on our property”.
Make the goal measurable –
how will you know the goal has been reached? In order to confirm success, you need to establish a measure. For instance, “we will ban smoking on our property and be fully smoke free by June, 2009” is far more powerful. This measure will ensure that you stay on track and that you can measure your progress.
Ensure the goal is attainable –
let’s face it, there are always obstacles and challenges that get in the way of achieving a goal. Identify these ahead of time and use the information to determine if your goal is truly attainable. Goals that have a time line that is too far away are not motivating. Make your goals more immediate.
Goals must be realistic –
goals that are imposed or goals that are set without the corresponding resources to fulfill the goal are unrealistic and will not be accomplished. Lack of control will create many struggles and will prevent and/or detract from any sense of satisfaction.
Corporate Goal harmony –
goal accomplishment becomes part of your performance review and thus professional goals for your workplace must be in alignment with that of your department and/or organization. Be sure to meet with your manager and develop goals that are win/win for both of you.
Personal goal harmony –
as one can expect, most of us have a number of different responsibilities that might create conflict between career and family. Be sure to discuss your interests and gain the support of those around you. Achieving a work or career goal at the expense of family is not a wise thing to do.
Growth oriented –
any goal that you set for yourself needs to establish a sense of personal and professional challenge and growth. It needs to stretch your skills or experience. It needs to help move you to the next level, whatever that is.
While goal setting can be a powerful personal and professional change tool, failing to write the goals down, failing to be concrete and measurable means that you have failed to plan and this in turn will only lead to failure. Writing down your goal creates commitment and without commitment your goal is merely a dream.
About the Author: Paul Croteau managing partner, is known as one of Manitoba’s leading executive search professionals. His more than 25 years of experience in the recruitment of senior management and executive leadership professionals are the foundation to his solid reputation for developing a deep understanding of his clients’ needs, enabling him to provide exceptional service and successfully meet the complex challenge of matching the right leader to his clients’ business needs.