For most of my clients, the hardest part of goal setting and realization is continually bringing energy and focus to their goals throughout the course of the year. While many people begin each new year with reflections and purposeful intentions, at some point, additional motivation will be needed. By nature, a habit is a settled routine and it is hard work to depart from practices we have used for years. In working with leaders, I find that we all need something that serves as a reminder of who we are becoming, because it can generate the juice to help us fulfill our purpose.
So where are you in your goal realization? Is your energy and drive fading? What follows are suggestions to support a continued focus on important goals throughout the year:
- Choose a metaphor, image, or phrase that helps call your desired future into being. It’s even better if you can have one for the past and one for the future. Structuring them as “from/to” helps ensure clarity – in terms of where you were and where you are going. These can be thematic. Here are a few examples: From wait to create, from foundation to growth, from leading to co-leading. These sayings will have the most meaning for the person who writes them, but they are essentially short reminders of the shift you or your team are making.
- Get specific. You and your team should have descriptions of goals and key milestones that you’ll achieve on your way to success (the “what”). Be sure to include leadership goals that address the “how” you’ll work and lead together.
- Regularly seek activities that engage you in that new desired action or in similar actions. Be clear about where and when you will practice the new skill or habit. Practice pausing before these opportunities to remind yourself of your intention as you bring it into action.
- Get accountable. Determine how you will track, monitor and adjust your goals to ensure you are achieving the results you want. Most people, leadership teams included, need the structure of having to stand and account for how they are doing relative to stated goals and milestones. If you are holding yourself accountable, establish a routine for reviewing goals and progress, and sharing those in some way.
- Block time on your calendar where you can focus on your goals, investing thought into the changes you are making, reviewing progress, and energizing the next leg of the work. I typically block time weekly to concentrate on my goals in an intentional way, which helps bring them into action during my regular work activities.
- Find some quotes that will serve as your touchstones. These may come from poetry, leaders, or from people in other parts of your life. I usually have a few “teachers” I follow who are sources of personal motivation and inspiration. Here are a few that I’m leveraging this year….
“Being a warrior doesn’t mean winning or even succeeding. It means risking and failing and risking again, as long as you live.” – Richard Strozzi-Heckler, “In Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Green Berets;” and
“Pressure creates diamonds, so go shine;” and “The work beings when dreams are bigger than your excuses.” – Robin Arzon, Vice President and Head Instructor of Fitness Programming at Peloton, author and athlete.
Who or what is your inspiration?