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Eat the Frog and Other Ways to Stay on Track with Your Goals

Goal setting is not rocket science but with all the advice and self-help out there, what do you listen to next?

 

At the beginning of every year, most of us think about a fresh start.  You have a goal or two in mind of what you would like to do differently or get better at in the New Year.  

I’ve worked with a business coach for many years and in the early days spending a day on goal development seemed little more than a good way to ensure I’d be working late a couple days that week.  However, setting and tracking goals quickly became a tool that helps me to push harder, grow, and keep work interesting.  And when I break my business down, each client and deliverable is just another mini goal to reach those big ones.

Keep reading for the top techniques that work for most everyone.

Find what motivates and works for you

Find a method that works for you

There are A LOT of techniques and depending on what motivates you some may work better than others.  What works for you, may not work for your business partner.

Do you always fall a little short?  Maybe the 10x Rule  would be a good method.  Rather keep it grounded?  Try SMART or SMARTER methods.  Maybe your goals need to be uber-detailed or maybe they need to be short and sweet.  Everyone is not one-size-fits-one.  If you are fighting the process find something that works better for you.  Have a clear understanding of what you need from your method and if you aren’t getting that, after some committed time, try another.

Maybe a productivity application like Asana, Trello, or Click Up.   Or perhaps your CRM or other software already has a productivity feature you can integrate with your sales and marketing.  Regardless of what you use, keep it simple in the beginning to ensure you will actually use it.

Keep the goal front and center

In those early days of practiced goal setting, being clear on my Why, milestones, strategies, and how I could implement it into my other work was a huge task.  More than a few times, an entire quarter would pass and my review consisted of pulling out the plans and realizing I never got past week 1.  Starting out small is a great way to see what is working for you and not working for you.  Review your action items and goal for the week in a team meeting or when you’re planning your schedule for the week.  Post the goals on the mirror in your bathroom or on a dry erase board at work.  If those aren’t enough, consider implementing a different method.  

Break down the big goals into milestones or mini-goals

Chunk your goals into mini-goals or milestones so that you know you are on the right path.  Once you have those in place, what do you need to do this week so that you can make sure you achieve that milestone in four weeks?  Even the biggest goals that seem like a stretch can be achieved if you can see yourself taking small steps to get there.

Set timelines

Create an end date for your goal, and ideally for your milestones.  It is common to set too easy of a goal that is really just a task.  It is just as common to swing in the opposite direction and create too big of a goal which is actually your three year vision.  There is a sweet spot where the goal is challenging but your mini-goals help to create a clear timeline of success.  Setting dates to these makes each more clear and easier to achieve.

Track It

Find a way to measure your success.  I love numbers so my goals usually involve a spreadsheet of some sort.  I also love marking out to-do list items.  The Full Focus Planner is my new obsession because I can keep the most important things in my weekly view.  At the end of the week leftover items are moved to a new day or to a holding space in Asana that I may get to another day if my priorities shift.  By tracking, you not only see what techniques are working for you, you see what things may be a distraction and learn to avoid them.

Reconcile

What were your plans versus what really happened.  Why did things happen and why did they not happen?  Sometimes you may even learn that the goal you set out for isn’t the best one for you.  If you’re tracking your progress you will realize this much sooner.  Read: save time.

Practice Grace

Something not working the way you thought it would?  Or maybe you are having a challenging week with personal issues and just not doing what you know needs to happen in your business?  This happens to everyone.   Whether it is for business or personal take a step back and show yourself a little grace by being okay with the fact you didn’t do it.  Instead of fretting, understand what stood in your way and what you have to do differently the next time.  Just be careful not to give yourself grace when you’re just being lazy!  There is a difference.

Eat the frog

If you can only get one or two things done in a day, make sure you get the things done that mean the most.  If your priorities are clear and you “eat the frog” you will not only achieve your goals faster but feel a whole lot better about yourself.  There are many origin stories for this phrase but they all mean pretty much the same thing.  Rip off the band-aid!  You’ll agonize much more if you worry about making that phone call, working on your budget, or whatever dreaded task on your to-do list.  In addition, you’ll know that if it takes longer to get that task done that it was the most important one and you spent your day wisely.

The Skinny

Find your method (10x, SMART, SMARTER, planners)

Keep it front and center so you remember why you’re working so hard!

Use milestones or mini-goals to stay on track

Set timelines

Track it

Reconcile

Forgive, learn, move-on

Eat the frog

 

You aren’t alone.

Most people that come to me for help are high achievers responsible and capable of huge tasks.  More than 75% of the time, a clearer picture of financials is the most important task we can start with.  Understanding your budget and potential helps make strategic decisions for hiring new staff, opening new stores or creating a solid team culture.  Focus your time and attention on what is going to bring you the most value for your time investment.

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When determining what will bring the most value to your time investment, I have found companies and non-profits of all sizes have a need for clarity of financials.
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