3 Tips To Help You Succeed With Your Goals
I’m a very goal oriented person, but when one also has the goal of being a better friend, wife, daughter, etc., how you achieve those goals is sometimes in conflict with our work goals. Too late people realize that work was never the goal, right? I think this is what sends many people spinning into a mid-life crisis.
So while I’m about to talk about how to achieve work goals, first and foremost make sure you are living in a way that is true to you. When you are with family, be with them one hundred percent. When you listening to your partner, listen one hundred percent. When you are playing with your child, engage one hundred percent. If you do this, you will actually have much better focus when you need to do work and focus on your professional goals. That’s not really a hot tip, just my experience.
Tommy Newberry, author of “Success is not an Accident” paraphrased a great truth that our parents and grandparents likely advocated. “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is enough time to do the right things.” Make sure your goals and “To do List” are pared down to the most important few items each day and each year. Laundry might not be important on Saturday if you haven’t visited your aging parent in a while. Think about where can only youbring the most value and goodness?
We all get bogged down with mail, email, kitchen duty, social media, a new series you must watch, etc. Those are all fine things to handle after your most important work for the day is complete. You have one life, and there’s no Groundhog Day effect that let’s us relive even a single day. What do you really want to accomplish this year, this month, this week and today? Narrow it down to the accomplishments that will make you feel complete, happy, successful and poised to grow mentally, physically and emotionally. No matter what age you are, we can all grow each day in even a small way. Don’t waste the day. You’ll feel better, happier, smarter and more grateful for life when you live fully and with intention.
It also bears mentioning that when you prioritize your goals, make sure they are goals you can control. Winning a prize or a science contest is dependent on other people. Your goal should be more akin to submitting work that you think is innovative or relevant, or simply your best work. You can’t necessarily make a family member love you, but you can do things to help them, or spend more meaningful time with them, or try to be more aware of others’ needs. The goal is about you, and what you can change about yourself or accomplish. If it has halo effects or rewards, that’s great, but don’t set goals that are impossible to guarantee.
My tip to help with this: Eliminate physical clutter, mental clutter, less important commitments, excessive habits (over drinking, over sleeping, over exercising, you know—the things that suck time from the life that you personally want.) Say ‘no’ and streamline. For me, I’m constantly revisiting clutter and getting rid of extra things—clothes, books, kitchen supplies, etc. It’s amazing how freeing it is afterward. Check out “Tidying Up” or “Minimalism” on Netflix for inspiration. You don’t have to be extremist, but let go of things that don’t really matter. I’ve been doing this the last two years a little at a time, and I always love the results. Commit to a weekend of “spring cleaning” and cleanse your life down to your favorite things and your priorities.
Do your most important work, hardest work or creative work during your most productive hours of the day. For most people that’s the beginning of the day. After I get up, exercise, and pray the rest of my hours are spent writing until my page quota is complete. Some days it takes me longer than others. If I’m struggling, I usually give myself two choices—stay until I’m done or commit to finishing the pages on the weekend. If my husband and family are out of town on the weekend, that’s an easy call. If not, then I have find the time and discipline to complete it before then. I work to support myself and my family, but I don’t want my work to ever take away from my family. That’s my work-life balance commitment to myself. Yours might be different.
FYI—I’ve already lost enough time with my family when I worked a full time job on top of writing, so no judgment to everyone still working their asses off to make ends meet or follow a dream. Days off are not always a choice for a number of reasons. Hang in there. You will get there.
Only after my pages are written do I do email, bills, little chores, read the trades, etc. My colleagues that I collaborate with on different things also know that I will only do meetings at the end of my day. True they are not getting my best self by that time. I have told them what my priorities are and they are second. I’m probably their second or third priority too. Don’t feel bad. A meeting can derail your whole day. Schedule smart.
The reality—most times after I finish 10-12 pages I won’t do anything else. More screen time is the last thing I want. Emails sometimes sit for several days. No one has died yet. But in seven weeks I was able to write the first draft of a book. Maybe next time I can do it to six weeks.
I will also add that while I was an executive at Disney, my successes came not from answering email, but from focusing on developing new projects and initiatives, getting them staffed and started, and following up on final execution. Put your email on an automatic reply and let people know the hours you will be answering email each week, and that they should call you if they need a quick response. Email does not produce results. If you want to be recognized by your leaders, you need to accomplish work that advances the company’s goals. If your job allows, spend your best hours developing a pitch, visioning a new solution, or designing a new process. Schedule everything else after lunch.
3-Enjoy Each Milestone
When you complete a goal, it feels really, really good! Take time to enjoy it. Share your progress with a supportive loved one. Completing goals is great for your confidence, self-esteem, and personal development. Remember what this feels like. It will motivate you to accomplish the next goal, and give you the confidence to dream bigger. Goals build on goals and if you’ve prioritized right, that equals a pretty nice life. Look, we all know life is not fair. We will always have struggles, challenges, taxes and death. But achieving one goal at a time, gives you a little control over your life and your overall happiness.
Dream big, but start small, and take it one day at a time, one task at a time, one step at a time. And each day, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, even if your only goal was to just get through the day without getting arrested for killing anyone. If you’re sleeping in your own bed after a day like that—goal achieved.