Goals – the keys for effective goal-setting
Recently I took a seminar from Peter Shallard, the Shrink for Entrepreneurs. Peter has an interesting take on things, coming from the psychological perspective.
In his broadcast, he spoke about four pillars that successful entrepreneurs have mastered. He emphasizes how these rare people seem to have these skills inbred, but that the rest of us can achieve them.
However, each of the four are vital, according to Peter, and missing one will torpedo your efforts.
The crucial pillars are:
Last week, in my post, How To Get More Done, I told you about the Pomodoro Technique and how I discovered the TeamViz app. I’ve been using it and have been really happy with how it works. I have set some massive goals and realized the only way to get them done is to buckle down and get disciplined. Using the TeamViz app has been very helpful.
Taking the seminar, I realized I could incorporate the time and tracking app to meet all four pillars in this area. I set a specific task, for a measured time, with a deadline (1 pomodoro, 2 pomodoro, etc) and the app keeps me accountable with the report on my performance.
But of course you don’t need the app, you can do the same thing yourself.
We’ve all heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals – (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)ealistic, and (T)imely. While Peter has a bunch of research to back up his conclusions, it seemed to me the basics of the SMART goals are a good place to begin.
So if we set goals that are specific – meaning they are very clear, not “finish my novel” but “write 5,000 words this week” that would be specific.
Measurable would be built in to that with the specific goal of 5,000 words. Measurable can also incorporate accountability.
Achievable means you have everything you need to achieve the goal. If I wanted to be a Vogue model, that would not be achievable for me. If I wanted to write the aforementioned 5,000 words, that would be something I am capable of and quite achievable.
Along the same lines, Peter mentioned how, when asked to set priorities, people end up with 25 priorities, and he points out that 25 items cannot all be priorities. Set your priorities at an achievable number.
For realistic, I find that my next step is to schedule my specific, measurable, achievable goals on my planning calendar. This way I don’t set myself up to write the 5,000 words the same day I have a hair appointment, business meeting and baseball game to attend. Having assigned my tasks to a designated time I can be confident I’ll get them done. One caution, don’t create such a tight schedule that you can’t accommodate necessary last-minute adjustments, because a little flexibility is important. What I’ve found is if I’ve blocked out the time and need to shift, I can visually see where I’ll move the task so that I still get it done.
Realistic can also mean goals that realistically will make a difference to your overall progress. You can set a slew of easy goals that take little effort and check them off all day long, and at the end of your day you will have done little to get to where you want to go. For example, you could spend the day picking up the mail, sorting bills, sending out emails, checking social media, returning phone calls, taking a seminar or doing research. These are arguably important, but are they the best use of your time? When your day is over you’ve been busy but you haven’t been accomplishing what you needed to. And you won’t feel good about it. After a while, you wonder why you are always so busy with nothing to show for it. You’ll tell yourself, “as soon as I get this done, or that, then I’ll do the real work,” and that never happens. There is always something. The result? Your attitude will suffer.
Timely, or time-bound, is setting a deadline. A deadline makes you take the goal seriously and commit to finishing! If your goal is realistic, that should be no problem. If it’s not, you launch yourself into a negative spiral, where it becomes harder and harder to reclaim your enthusiasm and belief that you can ever get it done.
Don’t do this to yourself.
The way to avoid this is to set good goals following the guidelines above and stay on track. Accomplishment is the best morale-builder around, and before long you’ll be feeling optimistic, which will put you in a positive upward spiral.
What kinds of goals get you the most results?
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