Goal setting is a waste of time. I hate goal setting. It never seems to get me or anyone else anywhere. So why am I writing about goals? Stephen Covey can explain better than me:
This quote is exactly my point. These 3 simple ideas don’t help you set goals, they help you accomplish your goals. This isn’t a shortcut. I want to stop talking about what I want to do and actually do it! But I can’t accomplish my goals alone. The first thing you need is accountability.
To be accountable is to take responsibility. Or another way to put it is to keep your promises. You can apply this idea to your goals as well.
When we write down our goals there is a new level of accountability. By writing goals down you create a contract with yourself. And good ones have due dates. This written agreement is much more powerful than an agreement you think or speak. Next time you are coming up with a goal, write it down on paper.
Once you write it down, try these 5 ways to stay accountable:
- Post the written agreement somewhere you will see it every day (on your phone, your desk at work, the fridge, a bathroom mirror, whatever works for you).
- Start casually telling people about your goal. I have told countless people I am writing a book and plan to publish. Now my integrity is coming into play, motivating me to finish.
- Work on your goal every day until you finish, even if it is only for 30-seconds!
- Find a friend that will ask you about your goal and keep asking and encouraging you to finish. Have them help you with it so they have some commitment to it as well.
- Spend some money on the goal. When we do this a new level of emotional connection occurs.
Remove Any Confusion – Details
Being specific and detailed is important. It removes ambiguity. There should be no confusion on what your next action for your goal is. Specifically, what you will be doing and when you will do it until you accomplish the goal.
Have a place for the details to live and to get reminders. Use a to-do application and a calendar. This greatly increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal. The details MUST lead you to take action.
Not only do the tasks need to be detailed, but they EACH must have a due date (maybe a due time too). Simply putting them on a to-do application, telling a friend, and writing it down still may not get you there.
Due Dates Are Critical
What’s more motivating? I’m going to run a marathon or I’m running the marathon on October 8, 2016. This goal automatically creates accountability and drives you. Due dates add more weight to your written agreement with yourself.
When you add details goals will begin to be fun. It won’t be about setting goals anymore, but about accomplishing. Just this morning I used all three of these ideas: Accountability, Details, and Due Dates and it got me out the door to the gym.
I needed a kick in the pants from my wife at 5:45 am, but that is part of the accountability key and it worked. When you combine these 3 ideas together, the chances of success greatly increases.
Synergize The Steps
Take each of these areas and use them as one powerful tool. Write down your goal and post it on your mirror, tell your wife and buddy about it, then go buy the widget that will help you make it happen. Accountability – check!
Get your computer or phone out and put as many tasks down in your to-do application as you can to complete your goal. Create tasks that are clear, specific and drive you to take action. Be Detailed – check!
Finally, take these detailed tasks and add due dates and due times. For example, set an alarm to get up at 5:45 am and go to the gym for a 45-minute workout tomorrow morning at the Y. Due Date and Time – check!
When you cover all three of these areas you are sure to move toward accomplishing more and more of your goals. Go ahead and start now, write down your next goal. Heck, put it in the comments to create accountability!