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Published on June 8, 2020

How To Complete Goals Quickly And Effectively

How To Complete Goals Quickly And Effectively

They say that half the battle of completing goals is setting the goals themselves. But the other half of this battle is finding the motivation to work towards that goal despite the circumstances.

And not many people are very good in the second half of that battle.

In most cases, people end up giving up or failing, and it’s sad to see that after people put effort into achieving their goals. So, for the people who are struggling, my suggestion is to consider some of the strategies listed below to help with completing goals.

Furthermore, understand why you continue to struggle to complete goals in the first place.

Why Do People Struggle With Completing Goals?

While there are many reasons for not completing goals, it can be narrowed down to a lack of two core things: motivation and patience.

Motivation is your desire to complete things. If you don’t have the motivation, then you’ll get trapped by excuses – excuses as simple as “oh, I don’t feel like doing that today.”

Patience, on the other hand, is to help you out long-term. The goals that you are working towards aren’t usually things that can be achieved in a single day or a week. You have to have the patience that what you’re doing is helping you reach your target. If not, you’ll do something rash and lead to failure.

Patience is something that only you can work on. There’s not really any kind of formal strategy as patience is more of a self-controlled aspect of ourselves.[1]

For example, forcing yourself to wait and figuring out what is making you impatient in the first place are strategies to being more patient.

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Motivation though is something where there is a plethora of advice and strategies as motivation stems from different sources. There are many ways for you to achieve your goals, and there is no specific path that you can take.

Strategies for Completing Goals Properly

With this in mind, here are some strategies that you can keep in mind to make completing goals easier and more achievable. There is no one golden standard for how to set goals and complete them, but that leaves room for you to experiment.

Try out these strategies for at least a few months to see where it takes you. From there, begin making adjustments to better tailor your goal-achieving process.

1. Set SMARTER Goals

If there has to be a gold standard for goals, I’d say it’s the SMART goal system. When people talk about goals, the first method that springs to mind is this system. However, people have expanded on that system and have created the SMARTER goal system.

SMARTER is the same thing as SMART. You are still setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. But the ER stands for evaluated and re-adjusted.

In other words, after you work on a goal, you go back to evaluate it and then make adjustments to it to reflect that evaluation.

For example, say you’re looking to lose weight and have set a goal to lose about ten pounds in a month. It’s risky, but for some people it can be manageable if you work on your diet and work out plenty. The ER would kick in two weeks into this and allow you to look at your overall progress.

What is going well for you? What needs improvement?

This step in the system can help you in a big way. If you’re in the position you want to be in, you’ll build up more motivation and confidence.

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If you’re not, you’ll move to the R and re-evaluate your goal. Maybe you were a little too ambitious and need to be more patient. Why not lower the bar slightly to help you build up motivation?

SMARTER goals are better because there is that check system in place. SMART goals can have that too, but that method focuses more on the characteristics of the goal rather than checking up on it afterward.

2. Remove Bad Habits

The main purpose of goals is for you to remove bad habits, but it’s worth reiterating as bad habits aren’t only focused on one area of your life. There are many overarching bad habits, such as coming up with excuses.

Ultimately, these block your progress and stifle motivation, and they can get frustrating to deal with. But this comes back to exercising patience. This process takes time to work on.

My suggestion is to take the time to identify your bad habits. What habits do you have that you think are bad for you? Write them out and come up with a plan to remove them from your life.

Better yet, replace these bad habits with many good habits. To do this, consider what this bad habit provides you. Every habit covers a need, whether that’s emotional support, a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment, and so on.

Figure out what that bad habit provides and find something similar – but better – that can satisfy the same needs.

3. Build Self-Discipline

Another strategy is to begin building self-discipline. When you have discipline, you don’t have to worry as much about finding the motivation to do things. Even during the early stages, there is a state of mind that you can enter where you won’t have to think about doing a certain task.

You’ll do things automatically without thinking.

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A good example of this at work is your morning routine. Every morning, you have a series of tasks you do to prepare yourself during the morning. If you want a more fulfilling morning – provided you’re not happy with your routine right now – you can incorporate other activities. Soon enough, those will become part of your routine as well.

4. Limit Distractions

On top of mitigating bad habits, you also want to focus on having fewer distractions in your life. Some ways that you can limit distractions are to better organize your working space.

Another option to consider is having activities that you can do prior to work or during it to help you get into a flow state. Things like meditation or listening to white noise or soft ambient music can help in those regards.

5. Have Better Management of Your Time

On a similar note to distractions, perhaps you are someone who gets distracted by other tasks. You only have 24 hours in a day, and a portion of that is dedicated to eating and sleeping.

Your time is valuable and you want to be sure that you are spending your time wisely. Keep in mind this doesn’t always mean working all the time. Make sure you strike a balance with your other needs like social and health needs too.

You want to be certain that whatever it is that you are doing at the moment is worth your time. What benefits are you getting from doing a certain activity? What benefits are you getting from talking or being around a specific person?

Remember this benefit doesn’t have to be extraordinary every time, but you want to be mindful so you’re not spending time with those dragging you down or making it too difficult to concentrate. The same applies to activities too.

6. Do the MIT First

MIT. Most important task.

There are many iterations of this, but it’s all the same principle. The first chance you get, you want to be tackling the largest task first. This has a lot to do with how motivation works.

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People think that handling smaller tasks first makes it easier to build motivation for bigger tasks. I can see the logic behind this. However, remember that these small tasks still drain your energy.

If you spend all day completing the small tasks that inch you forward towards your goal, chances are you won’t have much energy – and motivation – for the big task at the end.[2]

In most situations, you’re probably going to have the most energy in the morning and so, it makes sense to use that energy on something that demands a lot of it.[3] Later on in the day, you can “power down” by doing all the other tasks that don’t demand a lot of mental or physical strength.

7. Accept Failure

The final strategy that will help you is to accept failure. As much as it’s key to be optimistic, remember that you’re not always going to hit your targets. There will be days where you won’t get everything done or experience a setback.

Don’t worry so much about that and take it as a lesson to improve for next time. Going back to when I mentioned SMARTER goals, you want to apply that in all things in life.

When you experience a delay or you want to note your progress, go and evaluate and make adjustments if needed.

Final Thoughts

Completing goals is challenging and requires a lot from us. You need to work hard, and you need to keep that momentum going.

At the very beginning, it’s easy for us to resist change and slip back to our old ways. That’s okay. Remember that motivation comes from when you’re starting something and continuing it.

Like a boulder rolling down a cliff, if you are practicing these particular tactics, you’ll find it easier to have the motivation and the energy to be completing goals in no time. And there will be nothing that’ll get in your way.

More Tips for Completing Goals

Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

1. Make Time for You

If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

4. Work on Your Personal Brand

Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

5. Be Accountable

Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

8. Learn to Embrace Failure

Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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“I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

9. Build Your Resilience

Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

10. Ask for Help

It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

Final Thoughts

You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

Reference

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