Goal Setting Trick

goals2014This time of the year is the time to get annual goals. The beginning of the year seems like a natural starting point to do that and track it until next year at the same time. Whereas there really is no scientific reason to set goals in January, as opposed to any other month, it does seem to draw many of us to contemplate what it is that we might what to accomplish this year. When I coach athletes and executives alike, there is a “trick” I use with my clients that has never failed in achieving goals no matter when they are set.

I ask everyone to first write out their goals, both personal and professional, but I insist they be less than five and be very specific with a numerical criterion for measuring success. For example, if you write down you want to increase sales, I’ll have you edit it to “increase sales by 50%” or whatever. If you write down you want to lose weight in 2014, I’ll have you edit to it “losing 10 pounds” and so on. There are a few that are hard to quantify. I had one client say she just wanted to be happier. In these situations, I have sub goals and had her write down five or less experiences that would make her happy. For her, one was working out weekly  -so we wrote down “going to the gym for 45-minute workouts twice a week.” So in order to apply my “trick” you must first have an indisputable way to measure success. If your goal was to increase sales by 50% and you only managed 35%, well then you did not achieve the goal. The numbers allow you to eliminate debate over whether success was actually achieved.

Step 2 is that once you have completed them, you need to make 2 copies of them and share one with someone that can actually hold you accountable to them. This can be a boss, a peer, a friend, a spouse – anyone you trust that will connect with you periodically to check on your progress. If you can do these two steps, you are ready for my “trick” to realize the goals. With the 2nd copy, I want you to double all the numbers. Using the same examples above, your sales goals would be to increase them by 100% and wieght loss goal would be 20 pounds. You are to share this set of goals with no one but yourself. Now put a plan to achieve the doubled goals, not the actual ones. Excute your plan to your doubled goals, not the submitted ones. Do not worry if doubling goals is too unrealistic and do not sandbag the first list either.

If you plan your 2014 goals this way, you will experience what every person who has tried this has. That is that in most cases, the original goals were exceeded, and in almost all cases they were met with significantly less ease than had they stuck to the first list of goals. Try it – you will suprise many – most of all, yourself!

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