All of January I have been talking about setting and achieving goals. We started with setting the vision for the organization and then talked about the mission. We have talked about setting SMART goals and focusing on the goals. This last tip is about monitoring the goals that you have set.
Any system that you set will help you achieve your goals as long as you use the system, so you don’t need to change to our system. We have a process where every goal has one sheet of paper where the goal is explained, and the list of strategies has been documented. Then, each strategy has a few tasks that must be done in order to implement the strategies.
We use a weekly process, you take a look at the week’s schedule and record all of the appointments that are already made. Set aside time for sleeping and commuting, etc. How much time do you have left over to work on your goals? Schedule some time for the goals. At the end of the week take a look at your weekly plan and see if you did what you said you were going to do.
After you have used this process for a while, you will get a better sense of where your time goes. You will also see whether you are actually interested in the goals that you set. People do tend to do what they want to do, so if you are not working on the goals that you set, figure out why. Could it be that the goal was a bad goal after all?
This is the fourth tip in my January series on goal keeping. If you are serious about achieving your goals, then you need to make the goals the heart of your time management system.
Assuming that you have set up your 2020 goals as SMART goals (as explained in last week’s tip), you have a few goals that you are serious about achieving. How do you make sure that you are focused on them?
The first step is to identify the strategies that will lead to you achieving the goals. Basically, for every goal, you need to list the strategies that are going to lead to the goal being achieved. Then you need to implement the strategies.
Last week we talked about a goal of running a 5 kilometer race. The strategies around that could include hiring a coach, joining a gym, joining a running group and starting a healthy eating plan. Once you decide on the strategies the next step is to make sure that you schedule time to actually work on achieving the goal.
How do you spend your time now? Where is the time for these new strategies coming from? Will you stop doing something in order to work on the goals? We are sometimes optimistic that a we will fit more things into a schedule when in reality you have to take something out of your schedule in order to do something new.
I am talking about goal keeping this month. Goal keeping is the process of establishing your goals and then achieving them. Last week I mentioned that there are two reasons why goals are not achieved. Those two reasons are - The goal is bad and/or there is no system to focus attention on the goals.
A bad goal is one that does not meet the SMART goal criteria. I did not invent the SMART acronym but I do like it. A bad goal is not specific, it is not measurable, it is not attainable, it is not realistic and not time sensitive. A goal that you did not set is not always a good goal. A goal that you do not believe that you can achieve is also not a good goal.
An example of a bad goal is, “I am going to get in shape.” Reframing that as a good goal would be, “I am going to run a 5km race in less than 35 minutes in 2020.” Assuming that time is realistic for you, you have a SMART goal. You can train for this goal and you will know if you have achieved it. Take a look at the goals you set for 2020 and make sure that they are SMART goals.
January is the time for failed goals. The majority of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned in this month. Last week I talked about establishing the vision for you and your organization. The vision is the ideal state for your organization.
Once you have the vision you know where the organization should be headed. This enables you to figure out what this year’s mission could be. The mission allows you to establish the individual goals for the year. There are a lot of different names for all of this work, but no matter what you call it, an organization needs to establish goals in order to achieve their vision.
My two reasons for why goals are not achieved are:
1. The goal was a bad goal
2. There was no system put in place to help achieve the goal and no way to focus your attention on the goal.
As we start 2020 the question has to be asked: What is the plan for this year? It is a new year, a new decade – what else will be new? Do you and your organization have a goal for 2020? I like the sound of 2020, reminds me of eyesight, I believe that 2020 means perfect vision.
In theory every group has a vision, which is the ideal state for the group. If they achieved their vision – it would be the pinnacle for the group, the achievement of perfection. If the group was a food bank, for example – then it would be the elimination of hunger. Each group also has a mission, although they might call it something else. The mission is the plan for the year. Think of the food bank example, the mission for this year might be to reduce the number of people coming to the food bank by 25%. This would be a mission that is part way to achieving the vision.
You can have a mission for the month, for the day or for the year. A mission only makes sense when it is in context with the vision. The first step for 2020 is to figure out what your vision is.