It’s that perfect time of the year where you put all of last year behind you (well, some of it anyway), and look ahead to the next 12 months wondering what prizes to set your eye on. The process of setting and achieving goals can be an elusive affair and one that not many people master. Here’s a guide to start rethinking how you set your 2020 goals so you best set yourself up for success.
Rudders & Oars
This is by no means a new analogy by which to think about goal setting, but it’s an effective one! Think of goal setting as a row boat complete with a rudder and some oars. Your goals are the rudder of the boat – they set the direction you move in. If you have one clear goal you will be moving in one clear direction – if you have multiple goals that you ocellate between, you may find yourself heading in all sorts of directions and not getting very far.
There is also another part of the boat equally involved in getting you to where you want to go – the oars.
If your goal is the rudder, then your oars are the processes and strategies you use for achieving it. The oars determine your progress and the pace at which you move.
With this in mind it is easy to see that every single one of your goals is made up of the overall direction and processes used to get there.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then your processes are exercise and diet.
If your goal is to get a promotion, your processes will involve things like quality of work and networking.
So with that in mind, what’s the best way to go about grabbing hold of your goals?
Top 4 Tips for getting your goals
- Get friendly with the oars. Having a goal to work towards is fantastic, but by far the bigger determining factor in your success are the processes and strategies, or systems, you employ to get there. Having goals sets direction, your processes help to make progress in this direction. By becoming more friendly with your oars you are aligning yourself with the determinants of your success and increasing your chances of seeing when your processes are setting you up to win.
- Focus yourself ruthlessly. By having too many goals on the go at once you are in danger of spreading yourself and your resources too thinly. Warren Buffet has a process of culling 25 life goals down the 5 and focussing purely on those goals, nothing else. If they didn’t make the top-5 cut then they no longer exist!
- Let go of the myth of multitasking. It is absolutely true that humans are capable of doing more than one thing at once. It is possible to be on the phone while watching TV, or listen to a podcast while walking. But it isn’t humanly possible to concentrate on two things at once – your pre-frontal cortex insists on one thing at a time! You have a far higher chance of success if you approach the processes to achieve your goals one at a time.
- Align your environment with your goals. Whether that’s through visual cues/reminders or something more elaborate, ensuring your home/work environment supports your goal drastically increases your chances of success. If your goal is to do more exercise then having your exercise gear packed and waiting at the front door the night before will make it more likely you’ll get it done!