How to nail those annual goals
With reviews on the not-so-distant horizon, now’s the time to buckle down and achieve what you set out to. Aside from any financial incentives, striving towards a stretching goal also boosts our motivation and morale – just the cure for the January blues.
- Get in line. There’s little point striving for something that’s out of whack with your company’s overall mission. Make sure your goals are aligned by asking yourself what your organization’s ultimate aim is, how your team or department contributes towards that aim, and what your role is in helping your team succeed.
- Make it personal. We’re far more likely to go the extra mile to achieve something that’s personally rewarding. How will success benefit you personally? Try to think beyond financial reward to find a more internal motivation. If you’re struggling, zoom out and think about how the goal links to your interests, skills and broader aspirations, both in and outside of work. How will it push you to be your best?
- Break it down. The challenge of achieving a significant but vague goal – “increase new business”, for example – can leave us wondering where to start. Be specific about what exactly you need to achieve, how you’ll measure it, and by when. Then work backwards, defining the milestones involved in getting there, and exactly what you’ll focus on today, this week and next. Suddenly it doesn’t seem quite so daunting.
- Get your priorities straight. The reason stretching goals boost performance is that they’re, by definition, difficult to achieve. Life is bound to get in the way. Preempt any obstacles by listing what else will compete for your time and attention. What are the ‘moments of truth’ that might halt your progress? How will you prepare for these and make sure the goal remains your priority?
- Stay on track. Schedule regular check-ins with a colleague, your manager, or even a frank one-to-one with yourself, where you review what you’ve already achieved, where you are in relation to the goal, and anything you need to change. Use your support network to keep you accountable and on track.