January 7, 2020
It’s New Year, time to set goals, to remind yourself of mission and purpose.
At 10Eighty we encourage those we coach to push forward, to take risks and seek out new experiences. It’s good to do things outside of your comfort zone, to seek out new experiences and to engage in continuous learning. As a career coach I see all too many people who have checked out of the learning habit and am convinced that the secret of everlasting employability is self-investment.
Setting and regularly reviewing goals is a way to make sense of your personal and professional life. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham spent years studying top performers and found they all set goals, they calculate that an effective goal can improve performance by up to 16% (the equivalent of saving yourself an hour in an average eight hour day).
10Eighty top tips for setting goals
Focus on goals as the key to success; most people lose sight of their strengths at the very time when they need to be focusing on them the most. Your strengths represent the things you really excel at, understanding this and ensuring you use them effectively enables the creation of a winning mindset.
- Steven Covey in “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” studied executives and found that the most successful wrote down their goals and reviewed them periodically.
- Don’t focus too much on the end point as small changes can pave the way for bigger changes. Chunk the task down into achievable stepping stones and ask yourself, what is the smallest thing I can do today that helps me reach my goal?
- It’s not the end of world if you don’t get it right first time, take a tip from the Boy Scouts, ‘be prepared’. Psychologists call this an if/then contingency plan, or “if this happens, then I’ll do that”; a mental plan for how to react to things that may confound your good intentions. It takes three weeks or more to make or break a habit so just resolve to try again.
Set goals that give you a sense of engagement and meaning as these are significantly more likely to lead to motivation and achievement in the face of challenges; such intrinsic aspirations also correlate positively to well-being – vitality and self-actualisation.
Aim for success
Thomas Schelling of Harvard University looked at the ways in which we enforce rules on ourselves and recommends the “write it down” technique for two reasons:
“One is precision: writing invites careful formulation of boundaries, exceptions, penalties and rewards. The other is ceremony: formalising the rule in writing, perhaps with witnesses, attach moral authority and makes violation more threatening to one’s integrity, raising the stakes.”
Getting what you want is its own reward. At 10Eighty we believe that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. So set some goals and aim for success.
At the start of 2020 take the time to appreciate those around you, your family, colleagues and friends. And take the time to reflect on what you achieved last year, to make a commitment to stretch yourself, seek out new experiences and go boldly into the New Year.