Christmas season is around the corner and before we know it someone will bring up the dreaded topic of New Year’s resolutions. Normally these resolutions are centered on the topics of health, fitness, and hobbies. Many of us who are more experienced, normally follow the safer route and keep to one simple resolution: “Do not make the same mistakes as the previous year.”
Roughly 80% of these resolutions are never achieved and normally forgotten before we hit the end of quarter 1, but we continue to torture ourselves year after year with this ritual. Why do we keep on doing this to ourselves? The logical answer is because we get excited by the idea of a better, thinner, stronger, and more successful self.
A simple fact that we conveniently forget is that a resolution is just another word for a GOAL. Well then let’s ask ourselves another question: “How many of our personal or business goals do we achieve and how many do we document, file, and never revisit? Clearly, there is no “one” answer that can shed some light on this conundrum that repeats itself every year and drives most of us back to our old habits and comfort zones, where average performance is acceptable.
Let’s rather look at three points that might help us understand where we are lacking in goal setting, and that might be the reasons why our success rate is so low.
If you have been privileged to get some sort of education, at some point you would have heard of SMART goals. The reality with SMART goals is that we learn the theory, but we never take the time to teach ourselves and to practice the art of documenting SMART goals.
As a business coach, I have yet to find a client that has got this right at the first go, even though some of them have been in business for over a decade. When you set a goal, business or personal, take time to think it through and when completed use the SMART tool to evaluate your effort.
The Elephant Rule
We all know the saying, “How do you eat an elephant” – and the standard answer is always “bite for bite”. Make sure you break each goal up into bite-size pieces. By doing this you will now have many smaller goals with timelines that will ultimately lead to achieving the overall goal.
Force yourself to only focus on the next goal and only when you achieved it, move on to the next goal. The reason why this approach is so effective is that when you start to tick-off and achieve these smaller milestones, before you know it, the bigger goal suddenly seems more achievable and not elephant-like anymore.
Own Your Goal
This is probably the number 1 reason why so many New Year’s Resolutions never make it past the 2nd of January. When you have set a goal it has to be YOUR goal, not your friend’s goal, nor your partner’s goal, nor your coach’s goal. It has to be a goal you buy into and want to achieve.
Make sure you do not listen to anybody’s opinion of your goals except your own. This way you will take ownership of your goal and you will have a much stronger chance of achieving your goal. Let me illustrate this, with a simple example: I have a friend that enjoys life to the fullest and his wife decided to set him two goals for 2020, losing weight and to stop smoking. Do you think he has achieved these goals? No, because these goals were not set by him.
As a business coach, I see this often where team members do not buy-in or take ownership for the goals of the business, and the main reason for this is because they were never involved in the goal-setting and find it difficult to relate to these goals that were handed to them.
The above mentioned three pointers should help you set better goals for 2021 at a personal and business level.
Corné Oosthuizen, ActionCOACH Business Coach
corneoosthuizen.actioncoach.com | firstname.lastname@example.org