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A month into the New Year and my guess is the majority of those “New Year, New Me” resolutions have gone out the window. Even the most well-intentioned can certainly experience the steady flickering of their once fired-up willpower flame. But with the right goal setting strategies you can position yourself to get back on track this month, turning yourself from “goal setter” to “goal getter”.
In fact, “goal getting” was the topic of the most recent SheSays panel hosted here at CHIEF. For those who aren’t familiar, SheSays is an award-winning organization running free mentorship and meetup events for women in creative industries around the globe. I was lucky enough to participate in the all-star, all-female panel with Lauren Laitin, professional life coach at Parachute Coaching, and moderator Karen Goodman, who founded the DC chapter of this empowering organization. While our topic of goal getting is a really important factor in personal and professional growth and success, we had a lot of fun chatting as well—there were quite a few laughs had throughout!
If you weren’t able to catch the conversation in person, below are some key goal setting tips we hit on during the panel:
1.) Set goals that you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about your goals, you won’t be willing to invest the time and energy it takes to meet them. Goals should require putting in elbow grease—and in some cases pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone —in order to result in true growth and advancement. Most people won’t be willing to do either of these things if they don’t truly feel the impact achieving their goals will have personally or professionally—at the individual, team or company level.
2.) Ensure your goals are both challenging and attainable. I read a Harvard Business Review article recently in which the author recommended setting goals that you have a 50/50 chance of achieving, and I love that concept. If you consistently set stretch goals that you don’t achieve, you’ll become discouraged and may drop your goals altogether. On the flip side, if your goals aren’t challenging enough, they become about just checking a box rather than actually progressing and developing.
3.) Break your goals down into smaller steps and develop an action plan for achieving them. Most goals can’t be reached overnight and require a series of efforts, some with dependencies, to get to the final finish line. Just like the project schedules our CHIEF Project Managers develop to support day by day progress with clients and project team members, mapping out an action plan with what you need to do and when will help you stay on track and notice when you don’t.
4.) Build in a system of social accountability. Whether joining a community with a shared interest or disclosing your goals with your manager or team, social accountability is an important tool in providing extra motivation and encouragement. Not only does letting others in on your goals solidify your commitments, but it also gives you a support system to lean on when sharing about both progress and obstacles along the way. For example, CHIEF’s Project Management Team shares goals annually with each other, and then we take turns providing quick status updates every couple months during one of our weekly team meetings as we track towards the 6-month and 1-year goals we had set.
5.) Allow yourself to pivot and adapt your goals when circumstances require it. Changes in your professional or personal life can mean the goals you had originally intended to meet are no longer realistic, or as valuable as they once were. Rather than writing goals off as failures when these inevitable changes arise, reevaluate and keep pushing forward. Remember, goals are about growing and developing as a person—not about sticking to a black and white plan.