Goals can take months or even years to accomplish. Yet, they are critical if you want to keep moving forward. If you are like many professionals, you are most likely pursuing several career goals along with some personal ones. Whatever goals you may be going after, it is crucial to know the motivation behind these goals.
If you want to make progress on your goals, you must keep at them. This means taking small steps every day to move in the right direction. By accruing small daily victories, you help get the momentum started and keep it going. Journal your victories so that when you get discouraged, you are reminded of your successes.
Clearly define what it is you want to achieve. State your purpose and your expected outcome. Once you have your purpose, you will get your vision of how things will be different once you achieve your goal. Unless you define your goal, you cannot accomplish it. You should know what you are working toward and the result you desire, regardless of the goal you are pursuing. Writing down your goals is essential to keeping your focus. While you may feel like you understand your goal, you will not create clear alignment until your goal is written on paper.
Figure out what you need to do to achieve your goal. When you think about what you want to accomplish, try to make your behavioral changes subtle. For example, if you wanted to shed 25 pounds, decide to stick to a small behavioral change. Instead of committing to grueling daily workouts or tough competitions, it can be as simple as cutting out sugar and processed carbs from your diet. It is the gradual change that will bring you success. The same concept applies to your goals. Identify the right behavior that can get you to the finish line, whether you show appreciation to ten more people or you commit to reading one book per month to reach a professional development goal.
You need to track your progress. When you track your progress, you accomplish two objectives. First, you reinforce the habit through self-accountability. Second, you boost motivation by seeing visual growth. Keep a daily checklist and cross off what you achieve each day. When you see a string of successes, you give yourself a confidence boost to keep going. This will also keep you motivated when things get difficult because you can look back on all that you have achieved.
Recruit an accountability partner. This is an impactful step in reaching your goals. Consider Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 in the Bible: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift his fellow. But woe to the one who falls when he is alone.” Look for someone who will encourage you. This is someone you trust, knows your goals, and is willing to do the tough job of keeping you focused.
Setting professional and personal goals can help you transform into the best version of yourself. You can accomplish any goal you set out to achieve by staying consistent with your daily actions. Know what you are striving for, determine what you need to do to reach your goal, track your wins, and get an encouraging partner on your side to stay accountable–and thrive.