The real secret to achieving your goals
Published May 13, 2020, 2 min read, tagged as: careermentorship
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about goals. I believe that by setting clear, attainable goals and being able to measure successes or adjust course appropriately allows us to track progress and in that feeling of progression is something that motivates us.
It's human nature to want more. We want to achieve more, have more, know more. Setting a time-bound, measurable goal is a great way to create check in points and be retrospective. Its a great way to see whether we're actually achieving more. But its easy to set the wrong goal, and this seemingly harmless mistake can actually prove to be very costly.
Take a situation we've probably all been in at some point. "My new years resolution is to start going to the gym." How many times have you said and failed at this goal? When you make the goal your intention is in the right place. You know you have to be healthier and going to the gym is how you can do it. But the execution is lacking something - motivation. If you're not already motivated to go to the gym what makes you think that's going to change? Luckily, there's a simple way for you to start changing your behaviors to not only achieve your goal, but be so motivated that success becomes a side effect and not the focus.
Why do I even want to go to the gym? I want to be healthy. Going to the gym is just the output, but being healthier is the outcome that I actually desire. The gym is just a single output that contributes to that outcome. I also have to eat healthier and work on mental health etc. So, what if I change my goal to measure what actually matters?
Try focusing on the "why" and not the "what". There's a reason why we do what we do. You may want a promotion, but why? Is it because you want more money? Maybe you want more responsibility? Waiting for a promotion is a very passive goal, there's only so much you actually control. But what about wanting more responsibility? Is that something you can do proactively? Probably. Let's have a look at some example goals, writing them as outputs vs outcomes and then compare the impact.
The most important step is to plan ahead. Think about the outcomes you want to deliver so you can focus on achieve the outputs and manifest the impact in your mind so you have motivation to work toward.
Here's an example of how to separate inputs, outputs and outcomes. Taking the example of wanting to be healthier, first we identify the inputs - getting a gym membership, changing our shopping habits and getting access to knowledge that helps us grow. Next, we identify the outputs - these are the actions we're going to take and act as our measures of success. If i'm going to the gym and i'm feeling more confident I can attribute the change to having a healthier body and mind. Next, we're identifying the underlying reason and that's the outcome we want to have. Finally we're acknowledging that it's an ongoing cycle. Some things will work and some things won't, but we have to make the necessary adjustments to the inputs and outputs to keep pushing in the right direction. I call that the feedback loop.
Create something similar for your own goals, focus on the outcome and see if it motivates you to success.
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