Planning & Accomplishing Your Goals

Hey guys, I’m here today with a special post and giveaway from Jesse of NeuYear. I ordered their dry erase wall calendar from a Fab sale a while back and love it!

Planning and Accomplishing Your Goals

3 Steps to Planning & Accomplishing Your Goals

There is a reason why gyms and fitness centers see a huge uptick in memberships after the first of the year. Whether it’s wanting to lose those last few pounds, or a desire to live a more healthy lifestyle, “joining a gym” has become the quintessential New Year’s Resolution. The aspirations, however, don’t last very long. On average, most would-be fitness buffs back out of their commitment by March. Oops.

Resolutions, or goals, are powerful motivators–if you stick with them. Unfortunately, so many of us fail to set appropriate goals, or stick with them for such a short time, we never see the results. Books remain half-written, vacations never get planned, and new ideas die on the vine of mind, all because the goal-setting process gets short-circuited.

If you have ever felt the pain of a good goal gone bad, here is a three-step process you can follow to easily plan and accomplish virtually anything.

1. Pick Smart Goals

One of the most common reasons people or organizations fail at goals is because they aren’t smart. SMART goals look like this:

Specific. Smart goals have a specific end-game in mind. “Save the world,” and “cure cancer,” are all great goals, but they lack specificity. How do you want to save the world? “I want to reduce litter and pollution on the coastline by my house.” Awesome. What kind of cancer do you want to cure? “I want to help focus on children’s Leukemia at the Mayo Clinic in St. Paul, MN.” Now we’re talking. You need to have something to aim at. Being specific with your goals sharpens your sights and increases your chances at success.

Measurable. If your goal is to create buzz for an event, you’ll want to have a way to measure “buzz.” For instance, let’s say last year’s event drew 100 participants. A measurable goal would be, “We want to increase participation by 20 percent.” This, of course, gives you a number to measure your success with. Make it concrete. Quantify it. Make it measurable.

Attainable. Are you really going to lose 100 lbs. in 24 hours? Good grief, I hope not! Can you quadruple the size of your organization over night? Double your earnings with one tweet? The correct answer, barring an appearance on Oprah, is “no.” These goals are not attainable–they’re unrealistic and out of reach. Setting smart goals means that you keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground. Setting too high of a goal (i.e., unattainable) is a recipe for disappointment.

Relevant. Does your goal matter? Is it relevant to you, your organization, or business? The Guinness Book of World Records is filled with people doing extraordinary things…that don’t matter. Longest competitive handshake? Most chainsaws juggled at once? Longest time standing still? Interesting, but ultimately unhelpful to just about everyone. Make sure your goals are helpful and relevant to you and those around you.

Time-bound. Last but not least, your goals need to have an end date on them. Something like, “We’re going to complete the parking lot refinishing project by September 30, 2013.” We know what you want to accomplish and by when. Parkinson’s Law states that a task will expand to the time allotted to it. Giving yourself a timeframe eliminates procrastination and what I call “the weasel clause.” Put a time frame on your goals. Keep everyone accountable and informed.

2. How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Once you’ve got your SMART goals defined, it’s time to start taking action. I should warn you, the Land of Action is where goals go to die. I know, it’s heartbreaking and sad, but it’s reality and sometimes you need to tie Old Yeller up to the tree and, well, you know, end it. You’re going to be different, though. You’re going to move from goal creation to goal action. How? By eating the elephant, one bite at a time.

A friend of mine used to paint houses for a living. As you’d imagine, the task of covering 3,500 sq. ft. with latex paint, by yourself, was a bit daunting. But he did it each summer, sometimes knocking out a dozen houses in three months (for the record, that’s really fast). You don’t eat an elephant in one bite (figuratively speaking, of course) and you don’t paint a house in one brush stroke. The key to his productivity was taking one section at a time. First the west side, then the east side, followed by the south and then the north. The system worked by keeping his stress levels down and productivity up.

You’re going to approach your goals the same way. You may have some lofty aspirations for yourself or your organization. Let’s say you want to run a marathon. Even those unfamiliar to the world of running know you don’t just go and run 26.2 miles without training. Even if you’ve never laced up jogging shoes before, running a marathon is possible if you start early enough and pace yourself.

Walk one block. Then walk a mile. Now jog a mile. Then another. Gradually add tenths of a mile as you get more comfortable. Before you know it, you’re crossing the finish line with enough miles for a 25-minute car ride in the bag.

3. Practically Achieving Your Goals

Practically speaking, you’re going to need some help along the way. Setting goals and keeping a rhythm to achieve them is one thing, grinding through the day-to-day is another.

Here are some tools that will help in your quest for goal domination:

Pomodoro App. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in 25 minutes. That’s the driving concept behind the Pomodoro technique: focus for 25 minutes, take a five minute breather, repeat until the task is complete. It’s so simple, but this helpful timer keeps you on track when your mind wants to wander. Use it in an individual or team setting.

NeuYear Wall Calendar. Something near and dear to my heart is this full-wall calendar our team at NeuYear has created. It shows you the whole year at once, making it easier to layout long-term goals, set future deadlines, and quickly get a flow for the year. Added bonus? This beautifully-designed calendar has bigger squares so you can write more. Get 10% off when you use this link!

Basecamp. Out of the hundreds of project management software platforms out there, Basecamp remains one of the best. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles countless other platforms try and cram into their offering, but what it does have, it does well. Keep your entire team focused on the project-at-hand with message boards, file uploads, and document collaboration.

Conclusion

Like anything else in life, you get out of goal-planning what you put in. Give your goals the respect they deserve by making them SMART, actionable, and ensuring they make progress. How much different could your life be a year from now if you started on one of your goals today?

GIVEAWAY TIME! CLOSED

I wanted to share the NeuYear love, so Jesse was nice enough to offer THREE calendars to give away to three lucky readers! This calendar is seriously so awesome! It can be hung vertically or horizontally and gives you a view of the entire year. I am using mine for blog planning!

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Comments

  1. Ooooh, I have a weakness for gorgeous calendars and planners! This is just so lovely :)

  2. I would love to win a calendar so that I can organize my household, business and family life. My lifestyle, and cluttered mind both need revamping, this would help. LOL.

  3. Because I am super unorganized! :)

  4. That’s awesome! I’ve been thinking that a calendar that showed more of the bigger picture would be really helpful for me- I’d love to win this!

  5. So many exciting things happening this year! I NEED this calendar to help me see the big picture, and stay focused on the big items. So pretty too!

  6. I am such an old school person, I totally need tactile things

  7. This calendar is amazing – what a wonderful giveaway! I have a blank wall in my office that I want to fill soon, and this would be the perfect addition!

  8. I’ve always loved organization, especially in the desk-studying area. The right stationery, all the post-its and the schedules help me to stay focused and to achieve my goals without wondering too much. This calendar seems the perfect solution to plan and live big setting important goals to achieve with small steps every month.
    I love this blog..and this giveaway!Happy new year!

  9. I have been looking for a dry-erase office calendar, but have been putting off getting one! I would love to win this. Right now, i have clear cut (yet general) goals, and am approaching them week by week.

  10. I need the calendar to help keep my various plates spinning! Two Etsy shops, back in college, plus a house that needs work, and a husband to hang out with. Having the whole year visible will be great for planning ahead!

  11. I need the calendar to help me organize both of my businesses, wedding, and anything else that pops up!

  12. This seems like a great calendar! Seeing the whole year at once would make it great for anyone to plan long term goals. I am trying to lose weight and plan for WLS and I think this calendar would help me out a lot!

  13. Oh, this is a fabulous guide, Ciera!!! You write so well, so easy to understand and everything you said made so much sense. I am a h-u-g-e goal planner, so I can’t wait to take your advice and run with it. Fast! :D

    I also love this giveaway!

    Jen and I need this calender because we don’t even have a calender for 2013 yet – which is rare for us, and we have huge, beautiful goals for this new year. Keeping track of them can be hard, I think this calender would help. A LOT.

  14. I am a calendar freak! I do not have any one like this though.

  15. What I like about the calendar is that it looks so big and spacious… lots of room to fill in all of the things that we’re doing.

  16. This is insanely awesome. I am a HUGE organizer and multi-tasker, and would absolutely LOVE to see all of the months laid out in front of me at once to see when I’m going on trips, what types of things are needed for work and by what dates, everything. Life is CRAZY and this would help abundantly!!!

  17. Shannon Sampsel says:

    I need this calendar for 2013 bc my life seems to just get busier and busier, and being organized is one of my new goals of 2013!

  18. as the saying goes, the grass is always greener. I would say we all have a lot to accomplish this year, but from the looks of it, Ciera, you’ve got it all figured out. nice work, girl! great post!

  19. LOVE this!! I really want 2- one for work and one for home!

  20. Great giveaway Ciera! I would totally use this calendar to help organize and plan out blog posts!

  21. I have so many exciting plans for this year, plus about 3000 weddings to go too! Having this calender would really help me plan my time.

  22. Bridgette says:

    seeing the whole year at a glance would help me plan ahead for work and help me plan ahead for great weekend getaways!

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