The challenge most people have with setting goals is figuring out how to achieve them. Many goals end up abandoned because they become a burden rather than a source of inspiration. When you don’t have a goals strategy, achieving your goals will only be a mirage.
In this article, you will find insight into why you need a strategy for your goals and examples of what you should include in your goals strategy.
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What Is a Goals Strategy?
A goals strategy is an approach you take to achieve your set goals. It is a plan of action and a set of tactics you deploy to ensure that you accomplish the things you set out to do.
A goal being pursued without an accompanying strategy will ultimately lead to abandonment or frustration. This is because there are internal and external forces that can work against your goal. Your strategy is meant to help you confront these unforeseen circumstances.
What Your Goals Strategy Should Include
Your strategy should consist of primary plans, contingency plans, tactics, and other initiatives you are willing to take to achieve your goals. Below are examples of things you can include in your goals strategy.
1. An Action Plan
Your action plan is a clear outline of how you intend to achieve your goals. It includes strategic plans and the moves you have to make to achieve your goal in the long term.
For example, if you intend to save up an amount of money over a period of one year, your action plan will include a regular plan of setting aside a certain amount of money. It can also include other details, such as whether or not you will need to open a designated account for savings. The plan can also include how you intend to cut down on some other expenses to achieve your goal.
2. A Focus on the Process Rather Than Results
One of the best strategies you can deploy to achieve your strategic goals is to focus on the processes involved in achieving your goals rather than the end results. When you focus your energy on the process, you have greater chances of hitting your goals.
For example, if you have a goal to land a new job, your first focus should be on finding opportunities that match your previous work experience.
Once you’ve found a position, your next focus is preparing and submitting an attractive resume and cover letter in order to get called for an interview. If you get called for an interview, your next focus would be giving the interview process all it takes. This will involve researching the company, preparing to give appropriate responses to your interviewers, and portraying yourself as the best candidate for the job.
Your goal of getting a new job will likely come to fruition if you have focused on giving your best at each of the stages mentioned rather than just being preoccupied about getting the job.
3. One Specific Area to Focus on
One of the reasons people often find it impossible to reach their goals, even when they have a goals strategy, is because they run after too many goals at a time. While you can have multiple goals, choosing and concentrating your energy on one goal at a time can make a difference.
Human nature is not wired to perform optimally when its energy is diverted toward too many things at one time. Focusing on an area means prioritizing your goals, taking one thing at a time, and moving on to the next thing when you’ve achieved the previous one.
For example, if you want to improve your business planning, don’t focus on product development, a business strategy, and social media marketing all at once. Take one at a time in order to give your full attention to it.
4. Contingency Plans
Another strategy you can put in place for your goals strategy are contingency plans. There are many things that are outside of your control that can affect your goals. For example, there can be major socio-economic changes that can affect your goal projections, changes to your living situation, or an unexpected illness.
For example, your investment plan can be affected by an economic recession. If this happens, you will need an alternative plan to be able to achieve your investment goals.
5. Openness to Embracing New Directions
When situations change and a goal seems out of reach, embracing a new direction might be another way to reach your goal.
For example, if you have the goal of occupying a particular position in your organization, and after giving your best, the position is given to someone else, seeking a similar position in a similar organization can be something to think about.
If it is business, and you are not getting results with the kinds of clients you currently have, you might upgrade or downgrade your product/service and focus on a different set of clients.
6. A Miniature Version of Your Goal
It is good to set big goals, but before you launch, test it on a smaller scale. Testing a smaller version of your goal as part of a goals strategy will give you the opportunity to detect opportunities and threats to your goals that you might not have considered before.
This strategy is applicable in business and for individuals. It is what recruiters use as job simulation (a test job) to ascertain how a candidate will perform on the real job. It is what partners practice when they date to get familiar with each other before making a marriage commitment.
This looks like the one earlier mentioned about focusing on the process, but there’s some difference. Creating milestones means breaking your goal into actionable units and focusing on achieving each unit at a specific moment.
For example, if you plan on moving your family to a new country for permanent residency, this will require that you at least secure employment in that country. Therefore, your first milestone will be to secure employment that can guarantee you and your family permanent residency. The second milestone is to secure your visa and residency permits, and your third and last milestone will be to plan the logistics of the move.
All of these will come with deadlines or timelines, so add those to your goals strategy.
8. A Competitor
While it is good to work at your own pace, healthy competition can help to bring out the best in you. It can also make you go the extra mile you might not have been willing to go alone.
Whatever it is that your goal is about, you can find someone to compete with. It might be at your workplace or someone you know remotely. A good example of this is found in two great athletes in the game of soccer: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Both players attest to how the rivalry between them has made them better in the game to the amazement of fans around the world.
9. An Accountability Partner
If your goal remains with you alone, it is easy to bury it in the pit of procrastination or drown it in the ocean of complacency. However, when you communicate your goals to an accountability partner — someone that is interested in your growth and can challenge you to action — you will often find the motivation to achieve your goals.
For example, when you create your yearly goals, you can have a chat with your accountability partner to challenge you based on your goals and the timeline you have set. To be more accountable, you can schedule a monthly or quarterly goal review meeting with your accountability partner.
If you still find that you’re struggling with procrastination, despite this support, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.
10. Daily Action
Your goals have to be serviced daily to keep your mind on them, so make this part of your goals strategy. This might be as simple as thinking it over: what you have done and what you can still do to reach your goal. It can also involve taking actions, such as making a phone call, sending an email reminder, or making a request that is connected to your goal.
11. Comfort With Failure
If you don’t mind whether you fail or not, you will give your best to the processes involved in achieving your goals. Sometimes, not being sure of what the outcome might be can prevent us from giving our best because we don’t want our efforts to go down the drain.
However, when we are comfortable with failure, we will give our best to the process, leaving the outcome to emerge on its own. The results of this kind of approach are surprisingly impressive. However, even if it turns out that it truly failed, you will be proud that you gave it your best.
12. A Goal Performance Journal
Have a journal to track your performance, including actions that you took that led to success in the process of achieving your goals. This will not only be useful for your current goal pursuit, but it will also be useful for future goals, as you might need to repeat those actions.
Achieving your goals will require more than strategies; you will need to have the courage and determination to pursue your goals in the face of all odds. However, strategies do have their place. They provide the best path you can take to achieve your goals and limit your chances of failure.
More Tips on Achieving Goals
- 6 Golden Rules to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals
- How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully
- 15 Reasons Why You Can’t Achieve Your Goals
Featured photo credit: Patrick Perkins via unsplash.com
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