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iManage, Issue #018: 3 Steps to Effective Goal Setting
January 03, 2011

3 Steps to Effective Goal Setting

At the beginning of a new year, you may decide to focus on goals for the year ahead.

Does this process leave you frustrated, because days go by and you feel you are not making progress on your goals?

Turning your goals into reality is within your reach. Here are 3 steps to help you get on the right track and achieve really effective goal setting.

Step 1: Write Value Based Goals

Research on a group of high school students showed that those who wrote down their goals were more successful than their peers ten years later.

The act of putting pen to paper really helps to focus the mind.

Start with what you value. Values can be expressed in a number of areas, such as family, finances, career, health and wellbeing, spirituality, social responsibility, personal development and so on.

For example, one value might be based on your family. How will you express this value? How can you translate it into a written goal?

One client I know decided that he would express his love for his family by spending more time with his parents. So his goal was that every Sunday he would invite them over for lunch.

His goal was clear, specific, measurable and achievable. Make sure your goals are the same - not just a nice but forgettable statement of intent.

To be really effective, goals need to mirror your values. If your current goals are based on things that you do not truly value, then you will find it harder to get them done.

Step 2: Get a Goal Buddy

Research also shows that those people who have support to complete their goals are more likely to be successful.

Get someone to take on the same goal as you, and discuss progress on a regular basis. Or look for a mentor who will meet with you and give you encouragement. Or start a blog to report on your progress. You could also create daily tweets.

Knowing that others are following you in cyberspace can be a great incentive to keep you on track.

Step 3: Treat Each Day as a New Day

Some days you may not make the progress you want. You may feel very frustrated with yourself and even feel like giving up on your goal.

Accept that it is OK to have an unproductive day, and resolve to start afresh tomorrow. Have a long term goal that you really believe in and aim for, and break that down into shorter term goals. What do you need to get done, each day?

Recognise and congratulate yourself on the progress you are making, however small.

The extra effort you have to make will pay off in the long term, just like planting seeds in the soil. Keep the picture of your end goal in your mind to help you persevere.

The new year is an exciting time, full of possibilities. Focus on how you can make things happen so that you can make the most of the opportunities that come along.

Click here to book your free place on our next Practical Management Skills Webinar: How to Manage Your Time and Wellbeing. Date: Tuesday 18 January from 4 - 5 pm. Venue: at your desk!

Best wishes

Ann Halloran

Practical Management Skills

Practical management skills advice for business owners and managers. Get best practice tips on a wide range of topics such as time management, leadership, communication skills, managing change and more.

Content based on 30 years management/consultancy experience gained in a wide range of business sectors.

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