Guest post by Simon North, Founder of Position Ignition and creator of the Career Ignition Club.
1. What are they?
Goals are talked about and aren’t always clearly defined. Goals can be small, they can be medium-sized and they can be huge. They can be things that you can achieve by the end of today or things that take months. Whatever they are, you need to set them down on paper and you need to identify how many of them they are. Pick a date that you instinctively think they’re achievable by and set them in some kind of priority order. Some of your goals are going to be integrated and entwined with other goals. Plan how you’re going to tackle them in tandem.
2. Make sure your goals are the right theme.
Think about your goals: are these the things deep in your heart and in your soul that you want to achieve or are you following some sort of fashion? Are they meant to be stretching you or pragmatically are they really important for you? If the goals don’t meet these types of rigorous criteria you should consider dropping them. Achieving your goals in 2013 is going to be very aligned to how important they are for you.
3. Have a good plan.
Timing and speed are really important for your plan. Decide how much time every day or every week or every month you need to devote to actually make progress towards your goals. How important is speed? Speed is a very interesting concept in the whole area of goals. If you think of yourself as an athlete, you don’t move from being an unhealthy person that can run the distance to being able to run fast individually to achieve your goal. Similarly, when setting out your steps for achieving your goals for the whole of next year, you need your self-discipline or else you’ll end up in a heap.
4. Milestone check-ins.
You’re the best person to determine when you need the checkpoints to be and when the best check-in time is for things you do daily, weekly and sometimes quarterly. So whether these goals are about personal goals or about how much you’re achieving on a learning program you’ve committed to, such as learning that new language, every plan can have milestones. You need to work out where you are, relative to your set milestones.
5. Nibble away.
Sometimes you find people who are brilliant at nibbling away at their goals. They set out an objective months or years ahead in advance and nibble away at it. They have that ability to make a small step and a small contribution to a longer term aim. Some other people can’t work like that and you may need to block out time, for example, saying “every Saturday morning, I’ll work on that or for one Sunday per month, I will set aside the time for that”. You need to start taking time out, making sure you use your holidays, making sure you do refresh mind, soul and body, whether that’s through regular visits to the gym or regular runs. Whatever it may be, honour your own commitment to achieving your goals.
6. Create a strategy for dealing with your day job.
When you set new goals for yourself in 2013, the likelihood is life will go on as normal. You will pick up where you left off in your current job after Christmas and continue your work for the remaining period that you’re there for. But achieving your goals in 2013 is likely to impact on your normal schedule, so what are you going to do to assure yourself that you can achieve these goals while at the same time contributing with everything else that needs to be done? This is for most people a challenge and relates very much back to points 1,2 and 3 above.
7. Sign up your friends to help you.
Once clear about your goals, you may want to tell one of your best friends. But it might not be the obvious friend that you tell. It might be the person that you expect most to hold you to account, to ask you how you’re doing, to be a person that you just let know how things are going. Having somebody like that for you is so important, somebody who can constructively criticize you as well as be your motivator.
8. Your resilience.
If you are setting out to achieve goals in 2013, the likelihood is that change is afoot for you. It’s going to require you to do more and it’s going to require you to be fitter. The last thing you want is to be laid low with flu. You are going to need to build your resilience by looking at what you eat, what you drink, how much you sleep and how frequently you exercise. Most people that set out to achieve goals are going to receive knockbacks at some time or other. You have to work to be stronger and more able both psychologically or physically.
9. Build on where you are now.
It is quite possible that you have the potential to do more and, when you think about your goals, you should look harder and deeper about the context that you’re in. Look at your routine at home and at your work to see what small changes you can make that would make a difference to achieving your goals. Quite often when we’re not happy with a situation, our goal would be to move out of that orbit and into a completely new space. That is not always right.
10. Remember how important your boss is to you.
At any moment in time, your boss is the most important person in your life. Yikes, that’s a horrible thought, you might think. And the more you can recognize their importance to you, the impact that they have on your working and your personal life, the better. Build that relationship in to your goals. And now, even if your boss becomes your ex-boss, they are more important to you than ever before because, through communications technology, somebody will always be able to tell them about you. So remember how important they are and in every way build them into your plan. Don’t ignore them as they will make a difference to you one way or another.
About the author
Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies which created the Career Ignition Club, a leading-edge online careers support and learning platform. Access a wealth of career videos, webinars and attend live events through the Career Ignition Club.
Follow Simon and the Position Ignition team @PosIgnition