Most jobs I’ve held throughout my career have had an annual performance appraisal process. As a manager, I’ve facilitated a number of them as well. I’ve had some employees who have taken the process to heart, particularly when it comes to setting goals for the next year.
Others? Not so much.
Why Do We Do That?
It always amazes me how someone could go to the trouble of setting goals with the knowledge that they will be evaluated on their achievement – or the lack thereof – then stroll into the boss’s office one year later and not even remember what the goal is, much less have taken any actions to accomplish it.
As frustrating as this is, I have to admit I’ve been guilty of it, too. With the best of intentions, I put my annual goals in a document, filed them away and never looked at them again. Until it was my turn to frustrate my boss with the same haphazard approach.
If you’re reading this post, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you aren’t the type of human that would set a goal without any intention to work on achieving it. But, as the popular saying suggests, good intentions have paved roads to some very unsavory destinations.
So, why wo we fail to properly focus on our goals? How do we wind up staring down the end of the year realizing we have made no progress towards them whatsoever?
It could be that…
Our Goals Are Too Aggressive
What? Aren’t we supposed to dream big? Reach for the stars? How will we ever accomplish great things if we don’t set daunting goals?
I’m not saying don’t set big goals. Your goals should be big enough to scare you. But you should know what you can do in any given period of time and be realistic about how much time and effort you will need to make it happen.
I’ll tell on myself here. I want to retire some day. “Some day” isn’t in any calendar I have seen. I should really have a goal for retirement with a target date and annual goals to move me forward based upon that timeline.
Bill Gates provides some great insight in the quote above. I believe we set 10 year goals thinking we’ll be able to accomplish them in a year or two. They are so big that we freeze working on them when we aren’t seeing enough progress.
We may want to start a business, finally become our own boss, retire, or get out of debt. So, we set that as our big goal. We set it without a plan. We set it without an understanding of how much effort or time we’ll need to achieve it. So, we diddle and dabble in it, but we don’t accomplish it.
If you have big goals, you will need to break them down. Blow them up into manageable chunks that you can deliver on over shorter time periods.
Break Long-term Goals into Yearly Targets
Let’s say you finally want to start the business you’ve always talked about. You’ve dreamt of being your own boss, creating your own future, making your own destiny.
Entrepreneurship is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, and a great goal for many people. But, have you thought about how long it will take to accomplish truly being your own boss? Most businesses require a Herculean effort just to get started. And then it may take years to generate a profit, which means you will likely be working your day job and building your business for quite a while.
Be realistic about how much you can accomplish in a year, set an annual goal that challenges you past your comfort level, but not be so aggressive as to be unachievable.
Break Yearly Goals Down by Month or Quarter
This is the same principle as above, but on a shorter timeline. If you know where you want to be at the end of the year, what do you need to accomplish by February? Tracking performance to goal on a monthly basis empowers you to quickly determine when things aren’t working and get back on track.
Break Short-term Goals into Daily or Weekly Habits
When you know what you want to accomplish monthly or quarterly, the next step is to build daily habits you can track to build momentum and ensure progress toward your ultimate goal. When I started Navel-Gazing, I knew I had to get better writing. I also knew I had a steep learning curve with formatting, web development, search engine optimization, and numerous other items.
While I do have goals for driving traffic and gaining followers, the habits I track daily are writing, learning skills and marketing this blog. I have committed to one post a week, knowing I will be learning and growing with each post. This is a manageable frequency for me to write, learn, and develop the needed skills to grow the blog while still living my life and working full time.
Breaking down big goals into manageable chunks isn’t rocket science. However, it will help you make progress towards bigger accomplishments. Winning small in accomplishing daily, weekly and monthly tasks will help you win big in making sustained forward progress towards your biggest life goals.
Wishing you all the best in achieving whatever goals you have set for 2023!
Tagged GoalsPersonal Development
This post was previously published on NAVEL-GAZING.COM
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