How To Turn Goals Into Results: The 2 Missing Steps

By Michele Connolly

How To Turn Goals Into Results

If I ask you what you’d like to have or to achieve in the next month, what comes to mind?

Many people say things like:

  • Finish a work project
  • Start a hobby
  • Get rid of clutter
  • Organize the computer
  • Lose a few pounds…

In fact, coming up with goals isn’t hard for most people. They know what they want.

But translating goals into results is another matter. Despite carefully writing out goals and starting to take necessary actions, somehow the desired outcomes don’t materialize.

What goes wrong?

A common problem is that people fail to take 2 crucial steps after they set their goals. And these 2 steps make all the difference when it comes to checking the ‘completed’ box beside a goal.

The Missing 2 Steps

Let’s say you set some goals at the start of the month. If you use the Goals & Priorities Diary you’ll probably want to do this before next month begins.

Here’s the process:

Step 1: Choose Your Goals

Before the start of the month, choose up to 5 goals. For most people, this number is achievable and motivating. But choose fewer or more if that feels good for you.

If you have a list of goals you want to achieve this year, choose your goals from the list.

Action: Set 5 goals for the coming month. If you use the Goals & Priorities Diary, use column 1 on next month’s Goals Planner page.

Right, so that’s the basic part. The next 2 steps are the ones that usually get left out – but these provide the power to turn your goal from desire into done!

Step 2: List The Tasks Needed To Achieve The Goal

Next, think about what you will need to do over the coming month in order to make progress toward the goal.

For instance, if your goal is to update your CV, your list of tasks for the month might look like this:

  1. Find and review latest version of CV
  2. Add most recent jobs, achievements, skills, etc
  3. Send a copy to a friend in recruitment for her advice
  4. Find a career coach – ask friends for recommendations, search online, etc
  5. Book a session with career coach to review the CV
  6. Make recommended changes to the CV.

I bet you can already see how powerful this step can be in advancing your goal.

It replaces a nebulous concept, ‘update’, with very specific and concrete steps. And specific, concrete steps are far more motivating than nebulous ones. You know exactly what you’re in for so you’re less likely to procrastinate; and each chunk becomes small and achievable.

Not only that, but listing out your tasks like this gets your sub-conscious working behind the scenes. By the time you sit down to add recent skills and achievements to your CV, your brain may already have come up with some good material for you.

Action: For each of the goals you set in Step 1, list all the tasks you need to complete this month. In the Goals & Priorities Diary, use column 2 on the Goals Planner page.

Step 3: Allocate Your Tasks To Specific Dates

The second missing step for turning goals into results is to allocate each task to a date during the coming month.

And when I say allocate, I mean put it in your diary for that day.

This task-date allocation step has 2 benefits:

First, by putting the task in your diary, you make a commitment.

If you find yourself hesitant about committing to a date, perhaps you’re not genuinely interested in the goal. Well, that’s good to know! There’s no point wasting your time on something that doesn’t really matter to you.

Instead, take the goal off your list and use the resources and energy for other goals you do care about.

But if you do want the goal, commit each one of your goal-related tasks to particular dates – and feel great about paying the toll to cross the bridge to the prize.

Second, putting tasks into your diary on specific dates gets them out of your mind-space, and frees up your day-to-day brain capacity.

This means you can focus on each day as it comes, without having to keep all your mental balls in the air at once – while at the same time knowing you have a system in place to work toward the goals you’ve set for yourself.

This is liberating, energizing, and motivating!

Action: Allocate each task you listed in Step 2 to a date in the coming month. In the Goals & Priorities Diary, use column 3 on the Goals Planner page.

By the time next month rolls around, you’ll be all set to translate your goals into results!

[Image by Lights Out Photos]

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