Setting a goal for yourself is a challenging task. If you don’t already use the SMART approach to setting your goals you should do so. In the SMART approach: S stands for Specific or Significant. M stands for Measurable or Meaningful. A stands for Attainable or Action-Oriented. R stands for Relevant or Rewarding. T stands for Time-Bound or Trackable. For further details go to http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html
Achieving a goal presents another kind of challenge. You have a lot of other tasks competing with it so it often does not get the time or attention it needs. One way to overcome this problem is to organise to review your goal at the end of each week.
Reviewing your goal at the end of each week increases your chance of achieving it. It reinforces your commitment to the goal. Identifies the progress you have made with it. And clarifies what you need to do next. All of which mean you are more likely to achieve the goal.
How to review your goal
One, assess the extent to which you have met the targets you set for yourself in the goal.
Two, decide if they: (a) exceed expectations, (b) barely meet the target, (c) fall short of the target.
Three, write a brief statement about what you learned from working to achieve your goal. Has what you learned helped you or not helped you.
Four, identify changes in the process that will work more effectively in future.
Five, redraft the goal to take account of these changes.
Example 1: Review of a strength building goal
Building on your strengths is one of the best ways to develop your potential. To do this you need to allocate time to using them. And to integrate them into the normal round of your work and leisure. While working on my Strengths Finder Profile blog I discovered that writing and learning are my signature strengths. So my goal is to work on these two strengths by researching, writing and publishing a 400 word blog once a week on Personal Development.
Review step one: I researched, wrote and published four blogs in the first month. Each of these had well more than the 400 words I had targeted. In the second month I published three blogs.
Review step two: I exceeded expectations.
Review step three: I learned a lot about myself and the Personal Development process from writing these blogs. And I experienced a high level of gratification from the flow that working on them creates for me. For an explanation of flow see my blog on “The Concept of flow.”
Review step four: The time demands of researching and writing are greater than I had bargained for. As a result I missed out on reading for pleasure which is also flow inducing for me. So I need to cut back on the amount of time I work on my blog. I also need to build a reserve stock of one or two blogs to provide a cushion for holidays and other eventualities.
Review step five: I revised my goal so it now reads as follows. Research, write and publish a 400 word blog on Personal Development. I now aim to do this every two weeks. I will write one extra blog each month to establish a stock of back-up blogs.
Example 2: Review of weakness management goal
Procrastination is one of my major weaknesses. So I set myself the goal of re-organising my office which I have been promising to do but have kept putting off for at least two years.
Goal: Break down the re-organising of my office into 15 minute tasks and do four of them each week.
Review step one: I made a good start on this long outstanding chore. The trick of breaking it down into 15 minute tasks worked well for me. All in all I’m now nearly quarter way through the office re-organisation which is a real achievement.
Review step two: I met expectations.
Review step three: Working on my weakness of procrastinating has made me aware of how much of it I do. Time and again in the last month I have found myself putting off small tasks that would only take a few minutes to do. I’m slowly learning to just go and do them as they arise. While the progress I am making at reducing my backlog is slow but sure. I am also stopping it from increasing at the rate it used to do.
Review step four: Up to now I have just ticked off each of the 15 minute off ice re-organisation tasks as I do them in my head. To give more focus to the project and to keep track of progress I plan to record each finished task on a list that I will display on my desktop. Hopefully this will keep me even more on track than I have been up to now.
Review step five: This goal does not require redrafting.
Reviewing my personal development goals was a great help in achieving these goals. I am so impressed that I plan to use it regularly from now on. Also working on both strengths and weaknesses was surprisingly gratifying. It gave me a real feeling of making progress at both ends of the spectrum.