Reach your goals in 3 simple steps

Written by Professional Academy Management & Leadership Tutor, Kathryn Knights

If you’ve ever set yourself a goal that hasn’t made it over the line, then there’s probably been something wrong. Maybe you didn’t value the goal, maybe you felt alone in trying to achieve your goal or maybe you weren’t making any progress?

To reach your goals you need to bridge the gap between your aspirations and reality. It’s going to involve a journey and a journey that should be fun.

Follow my simple process to reach your goals and be the person you want to be.

1) Write your goal

Before you commit pen to paper have a good think about what your goal is and the reason why it’s important to you. Having your ‘why’ will give your goal meaning. It needs to go deeper than your superficial desires. For example, rather than setting a goal to lose weight because it will make you look good, set a goal to lose weight because you value your health and you don’t want to be housebound in the same way your grandparents were.

When you write your goal down make sure it fits the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound). Which of the following are you more likely to stick to?:

I will lose weight.

I will lose two stones before my summer holiday on 23 June.

The second one, of course. Why? Because it’s specific and it has a deadline.

Once you’ve written your goal down put it somewhere you can see it every day. Or even in multiple places. These constant reminders will stop your goal from being forgotten and will keep you accountable.

2) Create a ritual that supports your goal

You’ve written your goal. Great! But how do you make sure you take action every single day to help you reach your goal? This is where rituals come in.

A ritual is a set of actions that have an outcome in mind. A ritual is specific and is performed with mindfulness and awareness.  Consistently taking action is really easy when you have a process in front of you.

For example, let’s take the goal above:

I will lose two stones before my summer holiday on 23 June.

A ritual to support that goal could be:

  • Lay out exercise clothes and trainers
  • Eat nutritional breakfast (porridge with a cup of herbal tea)
  • Brush teeth and get changed into exercise clothes
  • Listen to a 30 min motivational podcast
  • Lace up trainers
  • Run / walk for 30 minutes – listen to music to keep me motivated
  • Do cool down and re-hydrate with a glass of water
  • Tick off activity on exercise planner and write down how I felt
  • Have a relaxing bath
  • Write journal

Tips to help your ritual:

  • Prepare your environment: if you have a goal to write a book, make sure your writing space is comfortable and not located somewhere where you’ll get distracted.
  • Find your productive window: what time of day is best to start your ritual – are you a day or night person?
  • Try different approaches: if the first ritual doesn’t feel right change something until it feels comfortable for you. There is no right answer. The key is to have intent and focus.

3) Decide when you will review your goal

Any goal you set should be reviewed regularly. This provides you with an opportunity to celebrate your successes but also address your challenges.

Decide whether daily, weekly, monthly and / or quarterly reviews are suitable for you (depending on the timeframe of your goal). They don’t have to be lengthy review sessions – 15 minutes is ideal and will fit easily into your day.

And finally…motivation tools

Feeling ready to go for your goal? Hold on a minute. My clients often tell me that the reason their goals fail is because they lose their motivation. So here are some tools you should use to keep your motivation level in check.

  • Maintain a healthy mindset. Maintaining a positive mental attitude sounds easy, but in reality we all slip into negative mindsets now and again. You need to trust yourself that you can achieve your goal. If you only ask yourself negative questions when you are faced with a problem, you will only get negative answers. Turn negative questions on their head and start asking positive ones instead. For example, if a supplier has let you down, rather than focusing on the problems this has caused, try viewing the situation as an opportunity to look for a new supplier who could offer you better products at more competitive prices.
  • Write a journal. You already know that the act of writing things down keeps you accountable (see step 1). So keep the momentum going by keeping a journal. When you write down your goal you turn vague desires into well-articulated targets you can clearly see and aim for. As part of your daily ritual (see step 2) take 15 minutes to reflect on what action you’ve taken that day to help you achieve your goal. Write about any challenges you’ve faced and how you plan to overcome them. You can also use it as a tool for brainstorming and capturing ideas for the future. In other words your journaling time is time that you’re going to spend ‘tending your garden.’
  • Get a support network. Never keep your goal to yourself. Trying to achieve anything on your own is hard work, so spread the load and share your goal with people you trust. Your support network will be there to share your successes and help you when the going gets tough. And along with your journaling they will keep you accountable.

If you need further advice, get in touch via my website or through linkedin.

Professional Academy offer a range of Management & Leadership Training as both bespoke in-company training with the option of accredited CMI qualification pathways and management & leadership qualifications for individuals looking to progress in their management career. Why not contact us today to see if we can help you with your personal development as a manager and a leader?