How do you stay focussed on your goals? Assuming you set them of course.
Having a goal and a plan to reach it is generally agreed to be an important personal and career development strategy. Some set SMART goals in which the desired state is specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and time-bound. In John Adair’s Handbook of Management and Leadership he added two further criteria for goals that made them SMARTER, and these additional criteria were: evaluated and reviewed. Adair went on to propose that goals should be smarter to the power of two. His SMARTER2 goals were Strategic, Meaningful, Attainable, Rewarding, Teambuilding, Empowering and Rewarding. I buy that!
Some writers suggest that goals should be outside our comfort zone and that we should aim for HUGGs, Huge, Unbelievably, Gigantic Goals. Dreaming big in other words.
Whatever the goal, most agree that we need ways to keep it in mind. Some writers advise that goals should be written out each morning. In that way they become a focus for attention throughout the coming day. Some personal development writers suggest writing the goal on a sticky note and placing it strategically so that we are reminded of it when we see the visual reminder. Such notes might be positioned on a fridge door, on a bread-bin or on a car window visor as visual reminders of what we are aiming for. You might guess from the first two that I am focussed on weight loss!
Others in the personal effectiveness literature say we should sleep on our goals. They recommend that we review them last thing at night and go to sleep positively visualising the desired outcome.
Over the years I have used many of these techniques and it has to be said I have achieved many of the things I have aimed for.
I am a fan of focussing on something for a month at a time. If it’s a new positive habit I want to develop I figure that daily action over a month is a good start. Develop a positive habit and then add a new one.
Here’s how I use it in the workplace.
In my job our IT managers require staff to change their computer log-in passwords once a month. I used to see this as a chore but now I view it as an opportunity to come up with a password that reflects my positive action focus for the month. I take time over this, aiming to be as creative as possible.
How would your password support your goal if you were to type at each log-in a related word or phrase? Phrases like Improving, Connecting, Customer focus and Effectiveness turn a routine IT requirement into a useful reminder of a meaningful and rewarding goal. Is this worth trying? If so, give it a go.
And then develop it further and consider applying it to a screensaver or desktop wallpaper where the opportunities to use pictures as metaphors for greater effectiveness are enormous.
Got a goal? Me too! At least to the end of this month!