Top Tips - Goal setting

13th April, 2017

Top Tips - Goal setting

Have you ever wondered what you’d like to be doing in five or ten years’ time? Or even what you’d like to achieve in your current role at work? We all have ambitions, whether big or small, and achieving them can be empowering and a huge confidence booster. Goal setting is really important because it gives life a focus and a sense of ambition and purpose. But sometimes it can be tricky to figure out how to actually get there.

Here are our top tips for setting your goals:

1. Make sure your goals are realistic

A good goal should be something that stretches your skills to the limit and which nudges you out of your comfort zone. But it also needs to be attainable. You might dream of a top job at testing moon boots for Nasa or chocolate at the Cadbury’s factory, but depending on your current career path, those options may not be achievable! Setting realistic but challenging goals is the perfect recipe for success.

2. Make sure it’s something that inspires you

When setting your goals, make sure it’s something that really inspires and motivates you and will result in something meaningful. If it’s not something you care about, you’re unlikely to have the energy and enthusiasm to see it through. For example, there’s little point vowing to learn a complex new skill simply because it might look good on your CV or get a promotion if it’s not something you will enjoy and will feel proud of.

3. Write down your goals

Writing something down makes it feel more tangible and concrete. It doesn’t matter where you make a note of your goals – whether in a notebook, as part of your PDR or a post-it on your fridge - but doing so will mean you’re less likely to put them off until a rainy day. The best way to ensure you stay motivated is to make sure your goals are positive and inspiring. For example, you could say: “Today I will increase my sales by 10 per cent,” or “this week I will recruit an amazing new employee.” Your ‘calls to action’ need to be positive and encouraging.

4. Create an action plan

The secret to success is in the planning! There’s no point making bold statements about what you’d like to achieve if you have no idea how you will get there. An action plan will help you focus on the individual steps you need to take to realise your ambitions. Crossing each action off as you achieve it will help you see how far you’ve come and will be a great source of motivation when things get tricky. An action plan, split into bite sized chunks, is especially important if your goal is complex or something which may take a long time. For example, if you’re planning a big event, why not start an event planner detailing what arrangements you will make every week to ultimately create a successful and enjoyable event?

5. Ask for help if you need it

Nothing worth achieving is ever really easy. Achieving your goal is likely to get tough at some point along the way. But don’t forget, others around you will want to see you succeed to – you just need to be bold enough to ask for help if and when you need it. It may be that you look for a mentor or coach at work – someone who has been through similar training or traveled the same career path you’d like to. External agencies, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, could provide guidance and contacts for others within your industry or sector. You could also look at online forums like Linked In or blogging sites to share experiences and information with others. A strong network will help you stay focused and motivated when achieving your dream feels like a long shot.

6. Give yourself a deadline

Setting a time frame in which you want to achieve your ambition will help you stay focused and determined, rather than letting it slide. Your deadline could become part of your celebrations to help motivate you even more. For example, if you’re goal is to learn another language by next summer, why not book a holiday or arrange a business trip to test out your skills in person?

7. Celebrate your successes

Success is the biggest motivator because it makes you feel good. Whether it’s a small achievement or something much bigger, always take the time to celebrate and mark how far you have come. There may still be lots of hard work, but remembering what you have learnt and achieved will inspire you moving forward.  It’s also important to ask for feedback from your peers or mentor along the way to ensure you’re on the right track.

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Steve HintonWritten by Steve Hinton

Steve Hinton is an experienced Executive Coach and Consultant working with Chief Executives, Managing Directors, Senior Executives and other leaders and can work with you to create exceptional and successful leadership teams.

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