Once you have identified your goals as described in my previous blog, it is time to start planning how you can achieve them. What are then the strategies that can help us to put on place the plans to achieve our goals?
Start by breaking down your goals in small steps. This essential phase in your goal setting will help you provide a rough estimate of the effort you will need to spend on each goal. Often, it is hard to identify all the steps from the beginning but avoid the tentation to skip this effort. It is ok if you can’t list all the step for now.
Just do your best to identify the most important ones and provide rough estimate for each step. Later on, when your will move forward, you will probably need to revisit those steps, break them down in smaller steps and provide more accurate estimates. Keep tracking your progress against them. It will give you a sense of achievement which will inspire you!
It is possible that during the course you find out that some of your goals are not anymore relevant to you. Identify them as soon as possible and replace them with more relevant ones. But, try to stick with your goals as much as possible: “when it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps” – Confucius.
Develop routines to work on your goals. Get in the habit of doing the actions required to get to your goals (for example waking up every morning at 5am to prepare for your certification exam). If you can identify the times when you are the most effective and use those times to make fast progress, this may make a real difference in the long run as they become part of your habits. In my case, I am more effective in reading and thinking about ideas in the morning when commuting and late in the night before going to sleep. But I prefer writing during the day when taking my coffee break.
Keeping your motivation high will probably increase your chances of success. When you will get stuck when working on your goals, remind your self why you started in the first place! Put your self back in the moment and the feeling you had when you set this goal. Reminding your self about the outcome will hopefully help you to get motivated again.
Another way to keep your motivation high is to find an accountable partner. There are much more chances that you will be motivated if you have a friend or a colleague working with you on the same goal. Even if you can’t find someone with the same goal as you, try to find someone you trust and share with him your goal. Set up regular check-in time to make you accountable.
Then, you need to eat your frog first as stated in the book Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
. The frog is an important task that your are reluctant to do but has an important impact on your goal ! The idea here is to push your self hard to complete this task asap. Which means do the hard things first. Start working on your hard tasks first in the morning before you get decision fatigue. For more details about the decision fatigue, see Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.
An important key success to achieve your goals is to keep them top of mind. Write them down some where and keep an eye on them at least every week and not just a few times a year. In the book Design Your Day: Be More Productive, Set Better Goals, and Live Life On Purpose, it is recommend that you use a tiny notebook where you write down your goals, steps and timelines and review them. Every time, you review your goals ask yourself, what you can do today to bring you closer to your goals.