How to really achieve goals

Stay motivated, committed, and moving forward

How to really achieve goals

Goals are objectives, targets, or intentions that you aim to achieve. They can be personal or support the objectives of your work organization. Whether your goal is a promotion at work, a streamlined work process, a new customer, or a published article, goals must become yours. You are less likely to achieve goals you are tasked with if you do not take ownership of them.

There are many ways to make goals your own. Reword them to be based on your values or share them with people that are close to you. You can reward yourself and your team for achieving goals. Goal accomplishment is based on how you motivate yourself and others to achieve them.

Goals Accomplishment Based on Values

One recommendation is to link each goal to a value. For example, if diversity in the workforce is a value your organization advocates, then at least one goal must further diversity.

Establish short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals based on the solid foundation of your values, or your company’s values. If your goal is congruent with and allows you to live your most important values, you are more likely to accomplish the goal.

Your work-life balance is an important part of achieving your goals. When you are achieving your personal goals, you are more likely to succeed in achieving organizational goals because you are balancing your life.

If you have not considered setting goals for your non-work life, you could set goals such as time with your family, continuing education or physical fitness.

You are less likely to experience conflicting priorities if the important aspects of your life have a value-based goal. Some areas to consider having goals set in might be:

  • Family and home
  • Financial and career
  • Spiritual and ethical
  • Physical and health
  • Social and cultural
  • Mental and educational

Create a Plan

The problem most people have with goal accomplishment is creating a workable plan. Creating a plan might seem to be complicated at first, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your plan for your goal should be set up in smaller achievable milestones that relate to the overall goal. If your plan is to complete your bachelor’s degree, there will be specific tasks you need to accomplish, which are measurable and achievable. These goals will be realistic and be time-based. This is known as a SMART goal.

The tasks you need to accomplish for your degree are the classes you need to take. The classes will be measured by the grades you receive, and they will be achievable with hard work.

College class completion is a realistic goal, and there are time limits to each class. As you complete each one, you move to the next.

As you set your goals, think of moving to different classes in high school or college. You always have to complete one to move to another, and you can do several subjects simultaneously.


Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed (SMART) goals allow you to develop objectives which you can attain. Goal failure usually occurs when the goals are not achievable or realistic, which leads to frustration and eventually quitting.

A specific goal is not ambiguous. Going to college is an ambiguous goal. Achieving a bachelors of science in management is a specific goal.

A goal needs to be measurable so you can track your progress. Each level of education is labeled as a grade or level. Each level and grade have a number of class credits required for progression. Classes in each level are worth a certain amount of credits. This system allows you to measure your progress.

A goal that is not achievable isn’t a goal. You’ll need to ensure your goals are obtainable, similar to the way classes are achievable.

Realistic goals are much more likely to be completed. Completing a college program without studying or attending classes is not a realistic goal. There are some people capable of this, but realistically you’ll need to work for it.

Goals should be time-based. This means that you should set deadlines for yourself. If you decide to get your degree in accounting, but don’t give yourself a deadline, the chances of succeeding are low because you won’t be driven to finish.

Advertise Your Goals

Remind yourself of your goals daily. It helps to write them down and place them where you can see them. You might think about motivational notes to yourself at your workspace, on your dashboard, or on the mirror. Reminder alarms set on your phone with motivational messages might work for you.

Whichever method you choose to advertise your goals, read them every time you see them, and re-commit to them every time you do.

Share Your Goals With Others

Friends and family will almost always support your goals. You should consider sharing them. Your manager is likely to support your objectives as well since your successes are her successes.

The people closest to you are the greatest source of motivation you have. They can remind you that you should be doing something, or check in on your progress. Even the comments you receive from naysayers can be turned into motivational energy. You’ll never do that, you might as well give up! is a statement that might fuel you to achieve more.

Check Progress Regularly

One of the weaknesses of the annual performance review system is the lack of frequency of progress measurement and tracking. You are more likely to accomplish the goals you set if you review your progress at planned intervals as part of your normal routine.

Whether you use a paper planner, a smartphone, or a computer, enter your goals and schedule daily and weekly actions that support their accomplishment. The discipline of the regular review is a powerful goal accomplishment tool.

Address or Eliminate Obstacles

Simply tracking your goals daily is not enough. If you’re unhappy with your progress, assess what is keeping you from accomplishing the goals. Ask yourself questions such as, “Is there something I could be doing differently?” or “is there a different approach to this?” Perhaps you could reevaluate the goal-related task to ensure it aligns with your plan and is attainable and realistic.

If you are not making progress on a particular goal, attempt to do a root-cause analysis to determine why. A root-cause analysis is a systematic way of identifying a problem, such as reviewing all the steps in a process to figure out what is wrong.

Only by honestly analyzing your lack of progress can you determine the steps to take to change.

Reward Goal Accomplishment

Even the accomplishment of a minor goal is cause for celebration. Don’t depress yourself with thoughts about all that you still have to do. Celebrate what you have done. Then move on to the next milestone.

Changing Goals

Periodically look at the goals you have set. Are the goals still the right goals? Give yourself permission to change your goals and resolutions based on changing circumstances.

Don’t spend an entire year failing to achieve a particular goal. Your time is better spent on achievement than on beating yourself up for lack of progress. Maybe you made the goal too big or maybe you set too many goals. Do an honest assessment, change what needs to be changed, and keep moving on.

How to really achieve goals

Many entrepreneurs, especially new ones, make the mistake of not setting clear enough goals. Good intentions may give a general direction in which to head, but for everything from crafting an effective action plan to visualizing what success means, a clearly defined goal is a necessity.

So how can new entrepreneurs discover the goals they really want to reach? Below, 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council elaborate on their most effective steps for aiding clients in realizing their end goals — and creating the roadmap needed to reach them. Here are some approaches to consider, in order to see what works best for you:

Members share a few approaches you can use to establish — and then reach — your goals.

Photos courtesy of individual members

1. Write A Letter To Your Future Self

A powerful exercise for goal setting is to write a letter to yourself when you are 80 years old, while looking forward and visualizing your life. What goals did you set? What goals did you achieve? What are you most proud of accomplishing in your lifetime? Use the answers to those questions to define your goals and action steps from there. – Christie Samson, Capacity Worldwide

2. Use The ‘Five Whys’

Defining the right problem is challenging. Use the “five whys” to identify the real goal. Start with what they want, let’s say it’s a promotion. Why? More money. Why? Flexibility in my options. Why? I want to start a family? At this point you have gotten to your authentic why, the one that will keep you focused. It is what will guide your next steps. – Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, PhD, Ei Leadership

3. Establish What Will Motivate

Find something that your clients deeply desire. This will drive motivation and discipline more than anything else. Follow that with perseverance. – Gene Russell, The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence, dba Manex Consulting

4. Create A Clear Vision

The first step to defining the goals a client wants to achieve is to develop a clear vision of what they want to achieve and anchor on why they want to achieve it. Their vision can then be broken down into detail around what “done” looks like and the corresponding action steps needed to achieve their definition of done. – Sabine Brandt, The Business Refinery

5. Set Goals Around What You Want

We set goals to solve problems and close gaps. However, this trains us to begin from a position of lack or weakness. Instead of goal setting around what you don’t have and don’t want, set goals around what you do want. Envision what life will be like once you achieve this state. What problems go away and what advantages emerge? And most importantly, visualize the sensation of achievement now. – Damaris Patterson Price, Working River Leadership Consulting

6. Commit To Two Or Three Goals

Pause to reassess your goals to determine if they are in fact your most important goals. Reconnect to what it is that drove you to do what you do. Ask yourself what you would regret not achieving in your work and life. Now ask yourself why this is important. Record a list of your values, needs and the way you would feel if you achieved your goals. Commit to two or three goals, and be accountable. – Jerome Zeyen, InsightHR Consulting

Read more in Three Steps To Overcoming Resistance

7. View Current Situation Objectively

One actionable step to help new clients define their goals is to view their current situation from an objective standpoint. By starting with the end in mind, the client is able to work backward until they reach their current position. Through this process, they will have identified the necessary steps that will allow them to ascend to their next levels. We have in us all that we need. – A. Margot Brisky, ELDA4U

8. Imagine A Well-Lived Life

Imagine yourself at the end of your life or career and ask yourself what accomplishments or measurable events will have happened in your lifetime that give you the sense that your life was satisfying and well lived. Now look at what steps would bring you there and what might get in the way. – Christine Pouliot, Evocent Coaching

9. Find A Mentor

A mentor is someone who can provide some realism to what you are planning. That person is probably not a family member (who might not be so honest at times). Treat your mentor as a colleague and professional, and seek them out to share your ideas, dreams and challenges. A mentor, especially one in the field you are aspiring to, can honestly critique your expectations. – David J. Smith, David J. Smith Consulting

10. Make A Commitment And Then Stay Consistent

Fantasizing about wanting something does not make that desire a reality. You can do anything that you really want to do. Commitment gets you started. Consistency makes you finish. Therefore, mostly what we get out of life is how much we are willing to handle to get through it. We want the reward, not the struggle; the result, not the process. We are in love with victory, not the battle. – Kasia Jamroz, Alyka Solutions

11. Develop Five Steps To Reach A Goal

I invite new clients to get very clear about their goals by summarizing the experience of their desired outcome in one word or a short phrase that will anchor their actions. Then I encourage them to develop five bold steps that they’ll take to embody that word or phrase. And finally, I support them to break it down into one daily action that will move the needle in the direction of those bold steps – Carolina Caro, Carolina Caro LLC

How to really achieve goals

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at Forbes Councils.…

How to really achieve goals

Guess what: you’re not going to achieve your goals the way you think you are!

It’s not about the end goal
Do you have some specific fitness goals in mind, and you’re wondering how to achieve them? Maybe you’ve got a clothing size that you haven’t reached in years or a number on the scale. Or perhaps it’s a style or certain cut of clothing that you’re aching to wear, like strappy tank tops, low cut dresses, shorts, or a bathing suit.
Having a goal like this is great. But it’s not how you’re going to achieve your goals.

Great goals don’t guarantee success
But you know that already, right? How do I know you know? First of all, because you’re here reading this post. Second, because chances are, like everyone else, this isn’t the first time you’ve had a fitness goal to work towards. In fact, you probably know dozens of other people, maybe most of your friends, who have struggled to meet their fitness goals.
That is so common.
If you’re ready to start crushing your fitness goals, now is the time to check out all my online training programs. Contact me today to get started.

So why aren’t your goals working?
Here’s the typical scenario: you get a goal in mind, and you get all pumped to lose weight and get in shape. You can’t wait to get started and you’re completely gung-ho.
Your enthusiasm lasts for about two weeks. Then, the old habits start to slide back in place, and you return to your old routine. Your results are cut off before you even begin to achieve your goals. Then, your goal begins to fade from your mind as you go back to your old lifestyle, and life goes on.

What happened?
The problem, my friend, was that your initial focus was on the result, the goal, rather than on the process.
Let me break this down for you…
Real, lasting fitness success is not about focusing on your goal. It’s about making the fit lifestyle necessary to reach the goal stick.
Once you’ve got a fit lifestyle to stick, you’ll end up achieving your goals, seemingly without even trying.
This might go against everything you believe about achieving your goals. But then, your approach so far hasn’t exactly been working for you, has it? That number on the scale that you’re hoping to magically achieve one day doesn’t matter one bit, and I’ll tell you why:

It’s about living IN the momentum
Think about the last time you were shredding a fit lifestyle. You were eating clean, exercising hard, and getting adequate sleep. You felt great and a feeling of momentum came over you, right?
There was a buzzing in your cells and a rhythm to your pace. You felt alive, sexy, healthy, and empowered. It didn’t matter that you weren’t at your goal weight yet—you were headed there and enjoying the journey!

Find that state of vitality—and live there
Living in that state of momentum for an extended period of time is what will cause you to achieve your goals.
Once you start living more healthfully, the momentum can be felt immediately—when you’re eating clean, exercising hard, and taking care of your health, you feel the benefits right away.
In contrast, that “goal number” will remain in the distance. It can’t be felt until it is achieved, so it’s not as powerful a motivator as just simply feeling great.

Find the joy of living and achieve your goals
My challenge and advice to you are to find the joy of living in the momentum. Once you find it, keep that momentum going until your goal number is achieved. Focus only on the momentum and how that makes you feel—not on the number.
Fitness is a way of life. Being lean is a lifestyle. Neither of which can be had by going about it halfheartedly.

You have to become the momentum.
Ready to get the momentum going? Not able to get to the gym? You need to train with me online! Check out all of my online training packages to get your new fit lifestyle into gear and keep it there! Contact me to find the right package for you.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more popular posts to get you motivated:

This post has been updated from a previously published version.

Achieving our goals is seldom easy. It’s why knowing how to stay motivated is so incredibly important when it comes to getting what we want in the long term. And in a world with more distractions than ever before — from non-stop web access to constant texting — it can be all the harder to stay focused and productive and not just give in to what’s easier in the moment.

I’ve often struggled with motivation, whether it’s been related to my career, my health, or just getting better at a hobby I enjoy. And while it’s not always the biggest deal (it’s not really all that vital that I learn to play my favorite song on the ukulele by my birthday), sometimes it really worries me. I don’t want to be filled with regret at some point down the line because I didn’t follow through on something I really wanted, and I also don’t want to feel like I failed at achieving the things that are important to me, all because I couldn’t figure out how to stay motivated.

Because this is a topic that matters to me, I delved into some pretty serious online research, as well as checked in with an expert, to find the absolute best ways to stay motivated in life. If you’re looking for ways to help yourself achieve your goals, here are 11 tips that should help.

1. Don’t Assume Money Will Motivate You

In an interview with Bustle over email, motivational trainer (plus business and life coach) Karen Strunks says, “Many people think money alone will be enough to motivate them, and whilst that may do so initially, it’s very hard to sustain financial motivation if the work you are doing actually drags. If you do that type of work for long enough you will find that no amount of money is worth swapping parts of your life in activities that aren’t aligned with who you are and what truly is your passion and mission in life.” So first things first, be true to yourself when it comes to setting goals!

2. Make Sure They’re Your Goals

And on that note, Strunks also says that, “One of the biggest challenges in staying motivated and sticking to our goals is in making sure that the goals we have set our ones we really want to attain.” She went on to note, “Sometimes we set goals based on what we think we ‘should’ do. Or we base them on what other people say.” Make sure you’re going after something that you want and that makes you happy — it can make all the difference.

3. Visualize The Results

According to a piece featured on Forbes about staying motivated, it’s important to visualize the end result and what it will feel like when you’ve achieved your end goal. This means visualizing the sweat on your back, the feeling of relief, the utter excitement — this is what will fuel you on days when you don’t feel like working.

4. Break The Goal Down Into Smaller Pieces

The same Forbes compilation piece recommended breaking your goals down into smaller, more task-oriented goals — and set target deadline for those tasks. For example. if your goal is “re-organize my entire closet,” start by saying, “First I’m going to tackle the shoes, then the belts, then the winter coats in the back,” etc. This method can make even the biggest task feel more manageable.

5. Tap Into Other People’s Energy

In a piece for Inc, small business advisor Marla Tabaka stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive thinkers who emanate positive energy. “Do you have people in your life who can engage in stimulating conversation about business or the other things that you’re passionate about? As human beings we give and receive energy and inspiration. Make sure you are receiving as much, or more, than you are handing out,” Tabaka wrote.

6. Get Organized

Tabaka also recommended taking time to sit down and organize your thoughts. “When I’m working on a big project, nothing zaps my energy more than an over-stimulated, cluttered mind,” she wrote. So instead, sit down and move the process from your head to an actual organized list, or talk out what you’re thinking with a trusted friend (or both). Then schedule specific times to complete each task. This is key to getting what you want.

7. Keep The Big Picture In Mind

One of my favorite YouTube personalities, Tessa Violet, stressed the importance of keeping your “top tier” goal in mind at all times, even when doing the less pleasant, more menial tasks related to it. That way, she said, “If you’re having a week where you feel like [you’re’] not motivated to do the work, you remember, ‘My goal isn’t about finishing the work. My goal is about something bigger.'”

8. Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control

In a piece for The Huffington Post, life coach Stacia Pierce said to “take control of what you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t.” So if you often find yourself paralyzed with the “what ifs” (as in, “What if I write this and no one reads it,” “What if I don’t get accepted into the program,” etc, etc) let it go and just focus on turning out quality work.

9. Seek Out Positive Information

Pierce also recommended reading or listening to positive information every single day. “If you fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information, it will keep you motivated. Go to the bookstore or library today and find at least one book on a positive topic that will give you a boost. You need constant reminders telling you that you are capable of achievement,” she wrote.

10. Remind Yourself Why You Set The Goal

In a piece for Tiny Buddha, integrated channeler Maria Moraca said that when things feel overwhelming, just take a few moments to sit back and remind yourself why you chose your path in the first place. Was it to help people? Was it because you knew your end goal would lead to long term happiness, even if it was short term work? This can always help you find clarity in the worst moments.

11. Be Consistent

And finally, Strunks also stressed the importance of being consistent with your work, writing, “take consistent action every single day.” This means that even if you’re totally not in the mood, do one small proactive thing that will move you towards your ultimate goal — even if it’s just a tweet.

Staying motivated is absolutely within your reach — it’s often just about keeping your end goal in mind and breaking down the larger end result into manageable smaller steps. Remember — you can do it!

This article was originally published on July 20, 2016

Achievable goals are the pinnacle of a smart goal-setting strategy. Sure, you should be able to achieve your goals, generally speaking. Yet, there is a lot more to achievable goals. This is because goals are high-productivity enablers. By itself, goal-setting provides structure to individual or team efforts.

And making sure that goals are achievable builds on that. Most of all, achievable goals motivate. They become a milestone. One that requires resilience. To put it simply, achievable goals are something people feel. Achievable goals reward because they feel like the achievement that they are.

Achievable goals put things in perspective. They ensure you and your team have the right focus. Two main reasons. They feel like the right place to reach. And the right place to be. To set achievable goals, you need to make your goals smart. Or maybe even smarter. Here are 5 steps to do so.

1. Be specific

Making goals specific means you need to give values to the X of the equation. Make the goals clear, easy to understand. In addition, include all the elements of a proper definition. Focus on everything that defines the goal, and nothing extra. Merely state what is necessary and sufficient to precisely describe the goal.

There are some tricks that ensure achievable goals are specific. Do not let your goals sounds like a bold, open-ended statement. Instead, flesh them out properly. Better yet, use the 5 magic W’s:

  • Who, as in which roles or which people are involved. “Who” can also relate to functions or capacities.
  • What, as in what the end result is. What should be achieved. If possible, include what is necessary to achieve the goal. Especially what needs to be done.
  • Why, as in why the goal is a focus point. Why it is a milestone and why it is important to your team or strategy. Moreover, why it is a goal in the first place.
  • Which resources are necessary? Whichever resources that you control are to be involved.
  • Where is it? Most things have a location. Sure, many things are in the cloud these days. Nonetheless, the location is everything. So, always include the location.

This trick enables your goals to be specific. And when you set specific goals, you set achievable goals.

Specific goals become much like a list. In it, you cover what needs to be done. That is because strategic choice in itself leads to boosts in performance. At least when compared to merely accepting goals.

2. Measure your goals

A journey of one thousand steps starts with the first step. And typically continues with a second step. The point here is simple. At any moment, on your way, you can tell how many steps you have made. And how many will follow. This provides clarity. To some extent, it tells you where you are. And that ensures you can strategize your energy. Either push forward, full-steam ahead, or cautiously wait.

Achievable goals are measurable, precisely because humans separate work in chunks. Attention spans and productivity both happen in cycles. Being able to measure goals means you know what you need, and how and when to deliver it. How many weeks until completion.

To determine measurability, consider quantifiers. Moreover, verify if the goals you set can be evaluated with parameters. To clarify, think about how much of X is needed to achieve the goal. Or how many cars should Tesla produce to meet the market demand.

Besides, according to this study, measurable goals truly make a difference in rehabilitation. And it seems the notion is tested in the best possible sense.

3. Make your goals attainable

Many dreams seem impossible until you set your mind to achieving them. Yet, some things cannot be achieved no matter how hard you try. The unattainable is a perpetual struggle. The point here is not to be a Sisyphus.

Grow your business faster with better team communication!

Make your goals attainable. It should be possible to reach that goal. And you should set goals so that it is realistic to reach them. This does not, by all means, imply you should not challenge yourself. Quite the opposite. When you challenge yourself, you can take better care of all opportunities.

To make goals attainable, you need to be aware of your limitations. And of how you can stretch past those limitations and beyond. Making goals attainable encourages resilience. Here is how you can be more resilient.

4. Make them relevant

Goals matter. There is no point to setting goals that do not matter. Yet, making goals relevant is a different challenge.

You need to target precisely those goals that you need to focus on. Moreover, explain them to your team. In effect, everyone flies on the same flight schedule.

Relevant goals are easier to control. Why? Because all through reaching set goals, you can maintain that relevant goals are worthwhile. That they fit well with the schedule. That they echo your organization. Relevant goals are proportional with your resources.

To make goals relevant, ask yourself what is most appropriate. Firstly, consider internal and external elements. Secondly, weigh potential outcomes and consider where you stand. Setting relevant goals is, above all, strategic thinking. Reconsider anything similar to launching the new coke or the Facebook phone.

Lastly, you should also consider aligning goals to other objectives. Or to broader objectives in larger-scale projects. After all, everything should fit just right.

5. Set a time-frame

Goals are a lot like deadlines in this respect. Deadlines are set times at which projects must be finalized. Achievable goals have target dates. And target dates are different. Because target dates offer deadlines to more than one person, or even more than one team.

Above all, target dates are a reference for any team. Hence, they transform goals into actionable content. You now need to act on what needs to be done. Because there is always a date that goes with what needs to be done.

Overall, make sure you stay positive when setting achievable goals. Positivity ensures that everyone welcomes the goals you set. The minimum you can do is to rephrase goals in an affirmative way. Avoid formulating them in a negative way, because it will feel less motivating.

How to really achieve goals

It’s the new year, and this season is full of hopes, dreams and resolutions for the year ahead. That’s why there’s no better time than now to start something new. Whether it’s something you’ve been meaning to do for a while or something new, whatever it is, make sure you plan to do something that will make a positive difference in your life.

I recommend taking your career to the next level.

What is the one thing you can do this month that would add the most value to your career? Did you postpone asking for a raise last year? Have you been procrastinating asking for feedback about past work performance? Have you felt like you’ve hit a ceiling in your current role and are unsure about your future with the company?

Whatever the problem may be, take advantage of the momentum in the air this month and use these three practical tips to help you get started towards your New Year’s goals.

1. Get clarity on what you want.

Usually, the things we end up putting off end up being the things that will transform our lives for the better. Everyone in some form or another is afraid of change.

However, the sheer act of writing down your goal is the first step to actively moving towards it. It becomes an agreement with yourself that serves to hold you accountable to that goal and opens up the opportunity for your goal to be more readily achievable. Instead of being thrown off course by unforeseen events, you become the director of these events, proactively managing your career to the destination you’d like.

2. Get real about why you want it.

Many a self-help guru may have already told you about identifying and writing down your goals. However, did you know that by tying your goals to the meaning they will create in your life, you are more likely to achieve them?

Don’t misinterpret this as simply writing down something you want and expecting it to magically appear. On the contrary, the greater the goal, the harder you’ll have to work for it. But, by writing down your “why” for each goal, you will tap into your core motivation for creating that goal in the first place.

Strive to write down your why for each major goal you’d like to pursue in 2018, and revisit your list often. That core motivation will get you through tough times, especially when you feel like quitting.

3. Break your big goal into small, actionable steps.

You’ve likely heard of SMART goals. It’s the criteria for goal-setting whereby if you make goals more “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound,” it’s more likely you’ll attain them.

Begin to tackle your goals one-by-one by writing down the very next step you need to take in order to get to the outcome you want. Make your first step easy and painless. For example, if you’d like a raise in 2018, first search online for “best ways to ask your boss for a raise.” This first, easy step is the only thing you need to do right now to get the ball rolling on this important priority.

Next, ask yourself the following question: “What could I do with this information?” If you find that your online search pulls up a list of dos and don’ts, create a document that brings these tips together. There will be many different ways you can take this information and use it to maximize its effect. For example, try out each of the top negotiation tactics with a trusted friend or spouse (not a colleague) and figure out what works best for you and your situation.

To get to the most favorable outcome, you’ll want to refer back to your “why” list often, if not for any reason other than to remind yourself why this goal is important to you. When you have a crystal-clear answer, you can defend your goal if ever questioned about it by anybody.

If your “why” for getting a raise involves the rationale that you’ve been at this company X number of years and it’s time for a raise, that is not a good enough answer. In truth, the company doesn’t care how long you’ve been there — it only matters whether or not you continue to add value.

So instead, focus your “why” on the value you have added to the company, including the results you have produced over the past week, month and year. If you can make a case to your manager about the recent and cumulative impact you’ve had on key performance metrics, you’ll be in an advantageous position.

Finally, tackle your goal step-by-step by breaking it into smaller tasks. Most of us don’t get going until we have a deadline to meet. So, consider your next big step to set a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance. By sending out this meeting invite, you’ve created an inescapable deadline. You’ll be forced to prepare for it by doing the above steps as soon as possible to make the meeting.

Instead of working towards the status quo this year and passively reacting to career curveballs, use these three tips to get going on your goals and proactively manage your career in 2018. Start today in creating a career that you will be proud of.

Have you ever had a really great idea, but the demand of your normal life kept you from making it happen? Join the club. This is a problem not just in our personal lives but in the business realm as well, and the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) was written to solve it. If you work for Compass, you will likely be hearing about the 4DX model and its application. We’ve already started using it and it actually works! So here is a general overview of the book and its principles.

The number one thing students learn in business school is strategy, and yet, the number one difficulty in business is the execution of that strategy. The reason for this difficulty is simple: the whirlwind. The whirlwind is the normal everyday priorities that require your time and attention. The whirlwind is the business functioning. The problem is that trying to execute a strategy, typically a goal of some sort, in the midst of the whirlwind is like trying to thread a needle in a hurricane. It’s really hard, if not impossible. To execute great strategy in the midst of the whirlwind, here are four disciplines that will help make it possible:

Focus on the Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). Less is more. There are a million great ideas to create goals from. Trying to execute 4 to 10 goals will stretch everyone too thin to be able to be excellent at any of them. If as a team, you choose one or two goals that are wildly important, i.e. those that will make the most impact on your organization, then you can give your full attention to them.

Act on Lead Measures. Your WIG must be measurable, or you’ll never know if you’ve met it. For example, a weight loss goal would be losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks. When I’m standing on the scale, I can’t magically control what number shows up, i.e. my weight. That is called a Lag Measure because it’s essentially lagging behind the actual work that’s being done. I can however, control how many calories I consume or how many minutes I work out in a day. These are lead measures because they are measurements that I can lead with or be in control of. A lead measure is a measurement you control that affects the end result. Act on those.

Keep a Compelling Scoreboard. People play differently when they are keeping score. Have your team create a scoreboard that is updated frequently (daily or at minimum, weekly) so they can see how they are doing at meeting their goal. You’ve probably seen fundraising scoreboards like thermometers that are filled higher and higher with a colored marker as money comes in. This is the same idea. It’s best if the entire team participates in the creation of the scoreboard so that there is ownership of it. Scoreboards keep people engaged.

Keep a Cadence of Accountability. People are motivated by accountability. The team should have a short (about 20 minute) weekly “WIG meeting” in which each person makes a commitment to act on a lead measure and then at the next week’s meeting reports on last week’s commitments. Everyone will then review and update the scoreboard. No whirlwind talk is allowed during this meeting.

Michele Gilbertson and I practiced the 4DX model with her team and saw an 82% decrease in staff-caused QSMed notifications in just one month. This created less stress for the team and helped increase the health, safety and happiness of our clients simultaneously. Putting these four disciplines into practice may not be easy but it is effective. Be on the lookout for 4DX coming to your team in the near future!

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How to really achieve goals

As we enter the goal setting season, I think it’s important that when you set your goals, you give yourself the best chance of success. Especially when you look at the failure rates, according to Forbes 92 percent of people failing to reach their targets. Here are five goal setting tips that I have used which will help you to join the 8 percent of people who achieve their goals.

Aim High, But Start Low, Celebrate and Keep Going

If you have read any of my previous articles, it will come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of setting big bold goals, and I think they are exciting and inspiring and can really help you to not only achieve but also exceed your full potential.

But when setting big bold goals, it can be daunting in the early days, and the best way to counter this is to break down your big goal into a series of small goals.

When I set the goal to run my first marathon in 6 months, my first goal was to run for just 15 minutes per run in the first week and then just increase the time I ran by five minutes per week for next two months. Taking this approach allowed me to generate some early success, which allowed me to build momentum and increase confidence, which then encouraged me to raise the weekly increase by 10 minutes for the next two months and then 15 minutes per week for the last two months.

Taking these small steps and then just increasing by comparatively small amounts put me in the position where, after 24 weeks, I was able to run for over 4-hours which then allowed me to be successful in achieving my big bold goal.

When it comes to setting you big bold goal, the more you can slice that elephant the higher your probability of achieving it.

Don’t Let Others Set The Goals For You

When you let others set your goals or modify them for you, this can have several damaging effects on your ability to achieve them.

First, it’s now no longer your goal, and you have no sense of ownership or commitment to this new goal, as its now someone else’s goal.

Second, people can look to make you more aggressive and look to set the goal to be bigger than you believe possible, and when you lack belief, this can cause you to quit at the first sign of difficulty.

If people want to be involved, then let them help you define how you will achieve the your goal, but don’t let them set a new goal for you.

Be Clear What Success Looks Look

If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know when you have achieved it. If you don’t have a clear goal, then you cannot put a clear plan in place to achieve it.

One of my clients was looking to increase their revenue by 50-100 percent in the upcoming year. They were very happy that they were setting a big bold goal, but the challenge is the plan to increase by 50 percent is not the same as the plan to increase by 100 percent.

So which plan are you going to going to implement?
Or are you going to implement any old plan and just hope?

Hope is not a strategy!

Clear goals allow you to create clear plans, which increase your probability of success.

Understand Why This Goal Is Important

If you don’t know why the goal is important to you, then it’s just random. Understanding the why will give you a stronger sense of purpose, and this sense of purpose will keep you motivated during the difficult times. When you lack a sense of purpose if things do start to go awry, there is nothing stopping you from downgrading your goal and lowering the bar.

To achieve big bold goals, you need to be firm on the goal, but flexible on the approach, and having a strong why will help you keep your eyes on the prize and keep going in the tough times.

Track Your Performance

I’m a big believer in the adage what gets measured gets done, but I am an even bigger believer in the power of motivation.

When we slice the elephant and know what the small interim goals are, as we start to achieve them, this will increase both belief in the approach and also confidence that success is achievable.

If you’re leading a team, then make sure that not only do you track performance, but that you also share the progress with your teams.

When the going gets tough, it’s great to hear that progress is being made. Sometimes when you have your head down and are charging towards the finishing line, it can be difficult to know just how close you are and hearing the progress can encourage you to make that final push to get over the line.

If you want to set your self a big bold goal, then to increase your chance of success, be clear about what success looks like, make sure it’s your goal and understand why it’s important to you, break it down to small goals, track your performance and celebrate each small success. If you can do tht then you will signficantly increase your chance of being in that small group of 8 percent who achieve their goals.

How to really achieve goals

In life and work, success begins with a goal. It could be losing weight, asking for a raise, quitting smoking or starting your own business. Big or small, goals give us purpose and, like a compass, keep us headed in the right direction. Of course, it then takes lots of hard work and determination to reach your destination.

Writing over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle described the process this way: “First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends: wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”

Unfortunately, many of us remain stuck at the goal stage. We start out with good intentions and perhaps a plan, but then we can’t seem to make it happen.

There are countless reasons that this occurs — busyness, impatience, fear and negative social pressures are some of the usual culprits — so how do we respond to these challenges and move in the direction of our goal?

Seeing Is Believing

Before we can believe in a goal, we first must have an idea of what it looks like. To paraphrase the old adage: we must see it before we can believe it.

This is where visualization comes in, which is simply a technique for creating a mental image of a future event. When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to “see” the possibility of achieving it. Through visualization, we catch a glimpse of what is, in the words of one writer, our “preferred future.” When this happens, we are motivated and prepared to pursue our goal.

Visualization should not be confused with the “think it and you will be it” advice peddled by popular self-help gurus. It is not a gimmick, nor does it involve dreaming or hoping for a better future. Rather, visualization is a well-developed method of performance improvement supported by substantial scientific evidence and used by successful people across a range of fields.

Take athletes, for example. Studies show that visualization increases athletic performance by improving motivation, coordination and concentration. It also aids in relaxation and helps reduce fear and anxiety. In the words of one researcher, “visualization helps the athlete just do it and do it with confidence, poise, and perfection.”

Former NBA great Jerry West is a great example of how this works. Known for hitting shots at the buzzer, he acquired the nickname “Mr. Clutch.” When asked what accounted for his ability to make the big shots, West explained that he had rehearsed making those same shots countless times in his mind. Other sports legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tiger Woods and pitcher Roy Halladay have also used visualization to improve their performance and achieve their personal best.

Why Visualization Works

According to research using brain imagery, visualization works because neurons in our brains, those electrically excitable cells that transmit information, interpret imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This creates a new neural pathway — clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors — that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result.

Putting It All Together

Remember, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from visualization. Whether you’re a student, businessperson, parent or spouse, visualization will keep you tethered to your goal and increase your chances of achieving it. The power of visualization is available to all people.

There are two types of visualization, each of which serves a distinct purpose, but for greatest effect, they should be used together. The first method is outcome visualization and involves envisioning yourself achieving your goal. To do this, create a detailed mental image of the desired outcome using all of your senses.

For example, if your goal is to run your first marathon, visualize yourself crossing the finish line in the time you desire. Hold that mental image as long as possible. What does it feel like to pass under the finishing banner, looking at your watch, the cool air on your overheated body? Who is there to greet you as you finish? Your family? Friends? Other runners? Imagine the excitement, satisfaction, and thrill you will experience as you walk off the lactic acid and fall exhausted into their arms.

Some people find it useful to write their goal down, and then, in as much detail as possible, translate it into a visual representation. It could be a hand-drawn picture, a photograph or a diagram. The media doesn’t matter, just as long as it helps you create a vivid mental image and stay motivated.

The second type of visualization is process visualization. It involves envisioning each of the actions necessary to achieve the outcome you want. Focus on completing each of the steps you need to achieve your goal, but not on the overall goal itself.

Back to the marathon example: Before the race, visualize yourself running well — legs pumping like pistons, arms relaxed, breathing controlled. In your mind, break the course into sections and visualize how you will run each part, thinking about your pace, gait and split time. Imagine what it will feel like when you hit “the wall,” that point in the race where your body wants to stop, and more importantly, what you must do to break through it.

You may never run a marathon. However, you can use the same principles to achieve any goal — create a vivid mental picture of yourself succeeding, envision what you must do during each step of the process and, like a runner pushing through “the wall,” use positive mental imagery to stay focused and motivated when you experience obstacles or setbacks.

Visualization does not guarantee success. It also does not replace hard work and practice. But when combined with diligent effort (and, I would add, a strong support network), it is a powerful way to achieve positive, behavioral change and create the life you desire.