Goal Setting

A reflection on the last month

Have you hit your January goals? If you haven’t, do you know why? Are you changing your February goals based on last month’s outcome?

An important activity for all of us to do is to reflect on our last 30 days, both personally and professionally – goals and outcomes. So, what immediately comes to mind as an accomplishment, what did you take pride in last month? It could be that you attended the gym on the days you set out to and nailed a huge presentation at work. Don’t forget the flip side – ask yourself, “What goals did I miss and why? By missing them did it create a negative impact?”

How to set goals & review accomplishments (the simple way)

Setting goals and reviewing your accomplishments should be done every 30 days, or even better, weekly. To do it is another story – I’ve read so many articles on how to achieve goals it made my head spin. In the end, I chose the most realistic path – to keep it simple, stupid (KISS). Here’s what I learned following the KISS principle, and what I found has worked best for me:

Vague goals don’t get achieved

“Getting fit” is too broad.   Choose a specific goal to help you achieve getting fit, like “I’m allowing myself to have dessert just once a week”, or “I’m hitting the gym four times a week for a 30-minute workout each visit”. For work it could be “I’m going to write two blogs this week”, or “I’m going to communicate with my team why I value them at least once a week”.

One goal at a time

If your goal is “getting fit”, there are multiple goals to help you achieve that. Start with one goal, say going to the gym four times a week. Once you believe that’s become routine for you, meaning, you now look forward to that time and you hate to miss it – and haven’t for the most part – start on the next goal of cutting down on dessert. It will be that much easier to do, and more than likely, being a related goal to getting fit, you may have already started cutting back on desserts without even knowing it.

Don’t overthink it

You shouldn’t mind the practice of goal setting and checking in on your progress because you’ve made it a quick and easy thing to do.

Write goals down

Best to write your goals down and review them at minimum every 30 days, even better, weekly. And, when you achieve a goal, check it off to see your accomplishment. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

Why is goal setting important?

  • Studies find that those who do goal setting have a higher likelihood of achieving them than those who don’t.
  • Knowing that you achieved your goals elevates confidence in yourself.
  • Michael Hyatt is an author as well as founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, an online leadership development company. I love what he says about goals: “A goal is not just about what you accomplish. It’s about what you become.”

What about the goals we don’t achieve?

Instead of throwing in the towel, take this opportunity to figure out why. Ask yourself:

  • Were my goals not specific enough?
  • Did I try to tackle too many goals at once?
  • Did something unavoidable and unplanned occur (illness, extended trip, other)?
  • Did I not give myself enough time to get it done?
  • Did I find that the goal is negatively impacting other priorities, or people?
  • Did I need help that wasn’t there to get it done, and I need to secure that help first?
  • Is the goal not as important as I thought it was? Should I consider removing it as a goal?

Now think about goal-setting for new hires. Who’s helping them set their first 30-day goals? Where are their goals readily  accessible? How often are they being reviewed, and by who? If you’re a hiring manager with a new hire, you have some additional goal-setting to work on…

Happy goal setting!

Growth & Retention