Participants in the goal achievement workshop at the recent 6th Annual Businesswomen’s Seminar & Expo Day in Melbourne gained new insight into goal achievement by sharing their stories and strategies for achieving goals. They departed with new tools, skills, contacts, motivation and energy to work with their goals.
During the workshop, participants revealed their three greatest goal achievement challenges to be time, staying motivated/focused and balancing life and work. The other challenges they faced were setting realistic goals, lack of self- belief, having access to resources and strategies, and unexpected challenges.
While knowing the obstacles doesn’t make them disappear, it does give you something to work with. To help you get started, here are some ideas for dealing with these seven major challenges.
1. Making time
Setting and achieving your goals takes a commitment of time and energy. You need to put aside time for setting and achieving goals. Diarise a regular weekly time dedicated to working towards your goals. Simply put, if your goal is to make ten new business contacts in a three-month period, you’ll need to put aside a weekly timeslot to develop these. Block out the time in your diary and make it a priority.
2. Maintaining focus
Stay focused. Plan to spend the first 10 minutes, half hour or hour of every working day doing something towards your goal. Make it a priority and don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked. Try different techniques to stay focused. Visual reminders such as a picture or screensaver will remind you of your goal. Have a friend call you to check on your progress. It doesn’t matter what the technique is, as long as it works for you and you use it often.
3. The balancing act
Balancing personal and business goals mean being conscious of the energy you put into each. While it is normal to fluctuate depending on what’s happening in each area of your life, looking after your personal life is again a matter of making it a priority. Diarise time for you and family, and define clear boundaries around work and personal time.
4. Setting realistic goals
A goal needs to be inspiring and compelling to motivate you to take action. Let your imagination run wild when you set goals. Don’t just say to yourself: ”I will increase my revenue by 40%”. Instead, imagine yourself taking congratulatory calls from your accountant, telling your friends and colleagues, being able to employ that much-needed staff member, upgrading your office and driving around in the car of your dreams.
Next, set a realistic date for achievement and jot this into your diary. A good beginning is to make sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related (SMART). It’s important to be clear and real about what you can achieve.
Now break your goal down into manageable short-term goals. Having short-term goals and doing something towards your goal daily will help you stay motivated. Acknowledge the milestones along the way. Recognise that any step towards your goal is positive, no matter how small, and that the ability to take small steps consistently is the only requirement for goal achievement.
5. Believing it
Often in the beginning we are good at imagining our goal achievement. We think about, obsess about and imagine ourselves with the outcome. This intense focus keeps us motivated. However, once you start working towards a goal. It’s important to stay focused on the positive – harness this motivation and keep negative thoughts at bay.
Anxiety and doubt are natural in the goal achievement process. Decide up-front that you will not be defeated when these thoughts come along. Pick a word or sentence that you find motivating and place it somewhere prominent. Surround yourself with positive people and support networks that reinforce your belief in yourself and your ability. Notice the emotions that emerge on the way to achieving a goal. Knowing yourself and the way you respond is the key to maximising goal achievement.
6. Using your team and resources
Be willing to do whatever it takes to get the support you need. No-one does it all alone. High performing athletes have a team of expert support staff to help them. If you plan to be a high performer in your business life you need to rely on your own expert team.
Make a list of everyone you can imagine who could help you achieve your goal. Rule a line and on the other side of the page write down what it is you need from each of these people. Include a time-frame for when you will ask for their help and start today.
Use the support of those you trust, respect and admire to help you reach your goals. Get a personal coach to ensure your best chance at success. Have support systems in place for times when you are likely to lose motivation. Find a buddy, join business networks and benefit from the social and learning support.
7. Rising to the challenges
Women often go into business with high expectations and unrealistic dreams about freedom, flexibility and lifestyle. The reality is that building a successful business and achieving goals is hard work.
Somehow we believe that achieving goals should be fun and pleasurable. With this belief, when the going gets tough and boredom sets in, challenges crop up or we face a lack of resources, most people abandon the goals they have set.
You can give yourself a head start by recognising that reaching your goal will be difficult and unpleasant and involve some sacrifice. Anticipating difficulties that may arise will allow you to mentally rehearse and put in place the coping strategies needed to overcome these challenges.