Look to the Future

Very soon many of us will engage in some form of celebration to mark the end of a year, some will take a holiday from work and a few will work through the festive season. They will all share one thing in common.

The beginning of any year marks a time when people shake off the past and think about the future. They start to make plan, set goals and reflect upon their progress.

Setting goals can be a frustrating process. That is because our goals for the future are often tainted by our lack of progress towards achieving our goals of the past. We know we should have in place some idea of where we are going while at the same time we know that in the past those plans often haven’t come to fruition.

In there lies the first problem and the solution. It isn’t the plan that’s at fault, it’s the implemention that is lacking. Making a plan is easy, putting that plan into action takes time, persistance and personal accountability.

Start by setting your goals. Be sure to set a goal you can achieve. For example, you might want to save for a new car. If you set a goal to save a daunting $10000 you have created something that in your mind appears unlikely. However, if you set a goal to stash $5 per day into a secret safe, that is so much easier to achieve and you get to celebrate your achievement every day of the year rather than only once (if you’re lucky).

Secondly put in place a process for achieving the goal. Instead of physically taking $5 a day from an ATM and squirilling it away in a tin can, arrange an automatic deduction each day into an investment account. The bank does the work, you don’t miss the five bucks and you collect a small amount of interest. Viola, job done.

There are many ways you can ‘automate’ a set of tasks to remove the temptation for procrastination.

At work our goals are influenced by other factors. Often we cannot achieve them alone, therefore our goals require the input and collaboration of others. The principle remains the same, however. Identify the end goal, identify who you need to help you acheive it, set out the steps, timeframes, KPI’s and what success will look like. Remember, when your goal requires the input of others, then a key part of your role is mentor and coach as you keep them focused and on track. Don’t just set and forget.

If the next twelve months demands a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) take a project management approach in the first instance. Create a workflow by breaking the overall project into a series of small, achievable tasks. Set a timeframe, establish your collaborators and process for monitoring progress. Create a project plan, a to do list, something that helps you keep track. Keep it simple. Some of my more complex projects have been managed with nothing more than a (rather messy) to do list hand written on an A4 sheet of paper. I don’t recommend you do this however I  do recommend doing what works for you.

By all means plan for 2019. Be bold if you want. Just remember that the plan won’t implement itself. Goal setting is only partially complete if you haven’t set out a process for implementation. Goal achievement will never occur if you dont take personal responsibility for doing the things you set out to do.

One final piece of advice. Write down the goals and implementation plan. If it stays in your head it remains a dream. The act of writing down goals and plans help you to determine the reality of what you are seeking to achieve.

John Coxon has been working with managers since 2002 as a mentor and coach, helping them to be the best they want to be #BeYouBeYourBest when you are ready to be your best email john@johncoxon.com.au for a free, no-obligation chat about the things you want to achieve

 

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