Did you ever wonder why some people get ahead and some people just seem to sit idle and not go anywhere or achieve the desires of their hearts? Think about it, so many of us want to achieve, be or do something profound in with our lives whether it is personal or professional however, we seem to be limited in our accomplishments. Much of what those folks who achieve and get to where they want to be has to do with habits and goals!
Get in the Habit!
Habits are the things that are engrained in us that we repeat over and over again without conscious thought. Just like we are in the habit of brushing our teeth every day (I hope), a good habit, we can also form habits that may not be so good for us, like overeating, smoking, having a cluttered desk, etc. Even in business or in our careers, our subconscious may have us repeating the same habits over and over again and therefore, we achieve the same limited results. However just as we have formed the not so good habits, each of us have the potential to develop new habits…and guess what? It only takes 21 days to form a new habit but the habit should be in alignment with the goals!
Having Goals is not enough…Activity leads to Goal Achievement!
I talk about developing goals with my clients all of the time as it helps them to work toward their success, however, I realized in my own business and career that while I had goals, they must be tied to habits that lead to action…that’s how you create success!
I had goals, and had formed habits, some good and some not so good, so I made a conscious decision to think about the habits in my day-to-day that didn’t help me to get to my goals and wrote them down; like getting organized every night before going to bed. I learned this from a colleague of mine. Having a list of tasks that lead to you achieving your goals every day is necessary. However, creating them the night before is essential because it gives you something to look forward to the next day and keeps you focused. I also organized my desk so that I only had what I needed available to me so that my focus remains clear. Again, I do this every day, it’s a habit. I also tied time to each of the tasks. Why? Because when you tie a time to each task, it causes you to compete against yourself and you are more likely to finish the task in less time than you thought and therefore achieve your goal. This also creates awareness around how much time you spend on your tasks and allows you to make better use of it.
Get Clear on What You Want
I use goal planning and habit formation with my coaching clients as they look for jobs or work on growing their businesses. One huge mistake that most people make when looking for work is that they are not clear on the type of work they want. This typically happens when people panic about their current situation; the objective is to simply find a job, however once they obtain the job, they quickly become disappointed and then dis-engaged and often forget about the income that the job provides and so, they end up looking for a different job and repeat the same mistake. The same goes for businesses, if the organization doesn’t have a clear understanding of what it wants to achieve to grow the business, the overall success is often limited. I have had clients that had thriving businesses for a time and then the success came to a screeching halt. It’s because they were not clear on what else they wanted to achieve in order to grow the business beyond where it is. Getting clear requires two things:
- Understand what you want to achieve, be or do and write it down, then set it aside. Go back to again a few hours later and refine what you want.
- Understand what your strengths and limitations – write them down and determine if what you want to achieve is in alignment with your strengths, then determine what you need to do to effectively manage your limitations.
With my coaching clients who are looking for jobs I ask them to think about the following:
- Determine what type of employers you want to work with and write them down.
- Determine your strengths and limitations and write them down.
- Make sure your resume highlights your strengths and that the strengths are what employers are looking for.
- Write daily goal(s) every night before you go to be and;
- Get in the habit of writing daily tasks the night before you go to bed that lead to the goal(s). For instance, you may set a goal to send out 10 resumes a day. Your daily tasks may include:
- Revising your resume
- Searching internet and employer work sites
- Contacting employers or employment agencies
- Write out how much time it will take you each day to perform all of your tasks.
Self-Reflection – The Gems of Success
Don’t be afraid to reflect on and evaluate what you’ve done to get to your goals. Often my clients are at first very skeptical of my process, however, self-reflection and evaluation help us to achieve our success. How?
If you have set goals and are not achieving them, then it may require you to look at the goals and determine if they are in fact SMART. I know, I know, we have heard the term SMART goals time and time again but the fact is, if the goals are not specific, then that means we are not clear on what we want. If we can’t measure them then that means we are not really striving to achieve something. If the goals are not attainable, that means we will give up before we get started and, if we don’t think realistically about achieving the goals, we set ourselves up for failure. If the goals are not time-bound, then we just aimlessly look to achieve the goal and run the risk of either achieving or not achieving it and again, we set ourselves up for failure. If the goal doesn’t incorporate the SMART philosophy, we literally cannot achieve the goal; which is why so many don’t achieve their weight-loss goals.
Self-Reflection is essential to habit formation and goal achievement. So many of us are afraid to look within and admit our short-comings, and why we don’t achieve our goals. We have to be honest with ourselves. Let’s think this through, I’m not achieving my goals because I… wasn’t clear on what I wanted, didn’t form the necessary habits to achieve the goal, lacked daily tasks to drive me to the goal.
On the other hand we got to the goal because… I was clear on what I wanted to achieve, be and or do; I incorporated habits that drove me to the goal, I had daily tasks that drove me to the goal and my daily tasks were in alignment with the goal, I wrote down each task nightly to achieve the goal and knew my strengths and limitations.
It doesn’t take much to time to achieve your success if you are diligent in developing in the area of goal achievement, through habit formation and targeted actions!