“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.” - Brian Tracy
Goals: We all have them. Some are set by us, while others are set by someone else. For me, a personal goal is to train and run a marathon by the end of 2012. I have a training plan that will get me there. I know what I have to do, and with the support of my family, friends and coworkers, I know I’ll achieve my goal. I’ve learned over the years that if you don’t put your goals down on paper, they will always be “someday” goals. You know, “I’ll achieve them someday…” Why not give yourself a deadline to make it happen?
In our professional lives, goals may be more straightforward and clear. You may be responsible for increasing sales, attendance, participation, etc. If it moves, it can be measured. But what if it doesn’t actually come down to numbers? Can you produce outcomes when there really aren’t any hard numbers to evaluate? Sure you can. Here are a couple of tips:
Talk to your supervisor about difficult goals. My boss has a great saying. “Set goals that are inspirational, yet achievable.” If you have no chance of achieving the goals, then maybe you should bring them down a bit. Don’t settle for easy. Instead, land in between. Inspirational, yet achievable.
Keep moving the needle. Look at what you can measure. Even if it’s something like an increase of actual results reported, it’s better than nothing.
On the flip-side, what happens when there’s a year without goals or performance reviews? Here is a great tip given to me from a former boss:
Hold yourself accountable. Set your own goals, keeping in mind that they should be inspirational, yet achievable. Suggest goals to your boss, with an outlined plan of action to achieve them. Make sure there are deadlines in the action plan.
Plan to exceed your goals. In my organization, we always set “stretch” goals to keep us focused on the prize. In doing this, not only do we achieve the primary goal, but most times you can exceed it. This is just like a marathon. If you train by only running 10-15 miles maximum for your long run, you can probably cross the finish line. You may have to drag yourself across, but you’ll finish. Why not train to run farther so a marathon seems like it’s over before you know it? Get past the wall and exceed your goal. Don’t just settle for “good” when you can be great.
I hope these tips are useful for you in your life and career. You hold the power to achieve your goals. With the right support network, deadlines and training or action plan, you can do anything.
Any tips or tricks for goal setting? Leave them in the comments area! I really do appreciate your insight and feedback. As always, thanks for reading.
If you’re interested in following my journey as I train for my first half-marathon and eventually, marathon, please visit my running blog, Run Because. You can also follow my running activity on Twitter: @runbcuz. Thanks for all your support along the way. It’s been a great experience so far.
Update: 2012 brought many successes, including 2 half marathons, my best-ever 5K, and my first full marathon (26.2mi.) I finished the full marathon in 4hrs 38min 56sec. Not bad for a beginner! On to the next goal…