We all know the deal …writing down our goals and peeking at them periodically greatly increases the chances of us actually accomplishing them. And we all have the best of intentions to list them out, check them off, and skyrocket our productivity. In the real world; however, the list ends up either at the bottom of a purse, flipped over and used as a coaster on the end table, or as a great chewing distraction for the dog.
Personally, if I don’t peek at my business goals pretty often, my focus severely suffers and you’ll find me trailing off and making a pipe cleaner craft with my daughters (which isn’t such a bad thing either!). If that is something you can relate to also, these productivity pointers will help you get crystal clear on what you want, when you want it, and how you are going to get it. By fine-tuning your goals, staying on track will be much easier and your success will be inevitable! But, don’t forget this important point – in between your intensely focused goal-setting and accomplishments, stop to make a pipe cleaner craft – it’s just good for the soul! Happy goal setting!
Even if you have an action plan, a goal without powerful intention behind it will be fast to dissolve. Having intention behind your goals means having sustained, unbroken commitment and purpose. It means having a finely honed mindset that cements your desires to your heart, giving them greater power.
The great news is that using intention to actualize your goals is relatively simple. It doesn’t have to be painful! On the contrary, it can be the most insightful, rewarding activity you ever perform. It can propel your performance and productivity levels beyond your expectations – not just once (you are NOT a one-hit wonder!) but consistently as you develop your track record of success. That is because there is a road map. There is a definite blue print that takes your daydreams and turns them into certainties.
I call it The 5 P’s to Performance /Productivity.
This five-step approach will sharpen your focus, deepen your intention, and guarantee your accomplishment. Each goal you would like to fulfill needs the following five elements for attainment:
The 5 P’s to Performance/Productivity
When writing out your goal, be as precise as you can be about what you want. Write your heart out! Be limitless in the details! Describe for yourself what you want to achieve down to the most miniscule elements. For example, do you believe that you will have more success by saying , “I want to lose weight.” Or by saying, “ I want to lose 27 pounds, wear a size 8 dress, and knock their socks off at my college reunion.” In this exercise, the details matter! The details turn it into something you can visualize. It is much more powerful to say “I want to increase my sales revenue by 30% of last year’s revenue.” Or “I want to increase my sales calls to 100 per day” versus “I want to make more money” or “I want to call more customers.” The more specific you can be, the more real it becomes.
Why do most New Years resolutions fizzle out by March? Usually it is because the goal we set out to achieve does not stir our soul at a level deep enough to maintain our focus. Your dreams should jazz you! They should excite you! Answer for yourself: Why is this goal important to me? How will achieving it make me better? What change will it bring about in me? This step is one of the most important. When you start to lose focus, it is this step that you can return to in order to remind yourself of the purpose. This is the emotional connection to your action plan. A good example is, “Losing 27 pounds will increase my self esteem, break the cycle of Diabetes in my family, allowing me to live a longer, healthier life for my children.” Or “Increasing my sales revenue by 30% will allow me to take Wednesday mornings off work to go golfing, which is my main stress reliever!” Give yourself profound incentive to attain each goal!
Under the umbrella of every Herculean goal, are numerous sub-goals, or action steps. These are not only crucial to getting your goal from dream to reality, but also crucial in maintaining your mindset. When performing this step, I am often reminded of the feeling I had when my husband and I decided to purchase an old, dilapidated Victorian house built in 1894. This old house was a “handyman special” destined for tear-down until two suckers came along (my husband and I) with the romantic notion of turning it into a dream home. As I stared up at this colossal lemon we had just promised to pay off in 30 short years, my husband turned to me and said, “We’re going to eat this elephant, one bite at a time.” That has become a mantra for us in the past ten years of renovation that I swore would only take 3-5 years. It is a great mantra for goal setting. When the goal seems insurmountable, these smaller sub-goals break it down into smaller bites that you can easily digest.
List all of the smaller steps that you need to take in order to accomplish your task. I am a fan of listing everything and anything, no matter how small. That is because it gives you an opportunity to start building your track record of success. Here’s what I mean:
When I first started goal setting, I was a great “maker of lists” and “maker of small action procedures”, but a horrible finisher. I could list all of the steps, but finishing the steps was another story. I was not a great finisher. Then I started writing down every single step imaginable, no matter how small. As I completed the smallest steps and crossed them off my list, my confidence for completing the bigger steps grew. As I crossed off each step, I started a track record of finishing. Finishing breeds more finishing. When you see yourself consistently eating your smaller bites, finishing off the elephant doesn’t look so hard!
4. Provable Progress :
As you move toward your goal, you will keep yourself motivated by being able to track your progress. For each goal, answer the following: How will progress be measured? How will you know when the goal is achieved? Your goal should have recordable stats that allow you to keep your eye on the prize. For example, when that Double Decker Chocolate Mousse cake is staring you down, it will be helpful for you to be able to tell yourself, “No way! I’ve lost 16 pounds. I’m 60% of the way to my goal. I’m not going to blow it now!” or when you feel as if you cannot pick up that phone one more time to make a connection with a customer, looking back at your measurable stats reminds you how far you’ve come and how close you are to success.
Does the name Florence Chadwick ring a bell? Her story will definitely make you realize the importance of knowing where you are in relation to your goal. Florence Chadwick was an American swimmer who was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. That is actually not the most compelling part of her story. In 1952, Florence attempted to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. She was accompanied by small boats on either side of her that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she got hurt or grew tired. After about 15 hours of swimming, a thick fog set in. Florence began to doubt her ability, and she told her mother, who was in one of the boats, that she didn’t think she could make it. She swam for another hour before asking to be pulled out, unable to see the coastline due to the fog. As she sat in the boat, she found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from her destination.
Two months later, Chadwick tried again. This time was different. The same thick fog set in, but she made it because she said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam. Chart your progress! Reward your small successes! Keep the shoreline in your mind while you swim!
After you have done all of this fantastic work of honing in on your most desired goals, you must set a definite date of completion. By setting a specific date, you are leaving nothing to chance. This puts you in control and allows you to make things happen instead of life just happening to you. Hold yourself accountable to this date. Flex your commitment muscles to yourself. If it helps you, allow someone else to hold you accountable to this date. Remind yourself, that once you hit your goal by this date, it’s on to bigger and better things! You can then take the last bite of that elephant and prepare for the next 9-course meal!