Advertising
Advertising

3 Surefire Ways to Follow Through on Your Goals

3 Surefire Ways to Follow Through on Your Goals

We all have big goals we’d like to achieve that we know will enhance our experience and enjoyment of life. Whether you want to learn another language, reach your physical peak, or fulfill your lifetime dream of becoming a diving instructor, goals will help you get there.

Deciding on a goal is easy. Following through, on the other hand, is not. Here are three surefire ways you can give yourself a helping hand and follow through on your goals.

1. Go Public

Very few things are quite as motivating as public accountability. Once we’ve announced to friends, family, co-workers, and the general public that we’re working towards a certain goal, we’re far more likely to actually complete that goal.

Why? Public accountability works for two main reasons.

Advertising

First of all, we don’t want to look bad. We care what our nearest and dearest think of us and we don’t want to seem flaky. If we publicly announce a goal and don’t complete it, we have to face up to everyone who asks “Hey, how did that marathon go last summer?” As much as we might be able to justify prioritising our long lie-ins over long runs to ourselves, trying to explain that to someone else is going to be pretty embarrassing.

The second reason that public accountability works is more positive. Just as we know we’re going to have to ‘fess up if we don’t complete our goal, we also know that we’ll have a lot of support from people around us when we do complete our goal. This in itself can help motivate us to push through the more challenging times.

So if you’re working towards a goal and want a simple yet effective way of sticking to it, get on Facebook, send a group email, text everyone on your contacts list, and watch your motivation levels soar.

2. Set milestones

One of the biggest barriers that stands between you and your goals is becoming overwhelmed. Goals always contain a series of action steps, which have varying degrees of difficulty. When we look at the goal as a whole, we might feel discouraged by how far we are from the completion point.

Advertising

Breaking the goal down into several milestones, however, helps keep us motivated. Instead of focusing on how far we have to go until we complete the big goal, we can shift our focus to the smaller, more manageable milestones.

Not only do milestones give us cause for celebration on the way to completing our goal, they also help us stay on track with completing our big goal by a certain date. Setting a deadline is one of the key hallmarks of achievable goals: if you don’t have a deadline, other commitments *will* get in the way.

3. Incentivise success

You can incentivise yourself to complete your goal in two ways:

  • Rewarding completion
  • Penalising non-completion

In practice, rewarding completion of a goal or milestone might look like treating yourself to something when you reach that particular target. At the same time, you can commit to a certain penalty, such as donating $100 to charity, if you don’t complete a certain milestone or goal.

Advertising

These incentives are most effective when you agree to the details in advance. If you wait until you either reach or don’t reach your milestone or goal to decide on the specifics, this method won’t be as much help.

We are masters at self-justification, so if we don’t agree to rewarding ourselves in a certain way at a certain time when we reach a certain goal, then we’re more likely to cheat, or forgo the reward altogether (and rewards are important). Equally, if we don’t complete our milestone or goal and haven’t agreed a penalty in advance, it’s going to be a lot easier for us to reason our way out of sticking to the penalty.

Decide which rewards and penalties you’re going to commit to in advance, and you’ll be far more likely to stick to them.

Which method is right for me?

Any one of these three methods will help you reach goals and targets. You know yourself better than anyone so you’re in the best position to decide which of the methods above will be most helpful to you individually.

Advertising

If you’re really serious about achieving your big goals, however, you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting there by implementing all three at once.

What are your surefire ways for following through on your goals?

More by this author

Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun You Can Easily Enjoy Life In A Way Most People Don’t 7 Practical Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence Why You Should Always Embrace Negative Emotions

Trending in Communication

1 15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success 2 How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success 3 How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out 4 What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important? 5 Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

Advertising

Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

Advertising

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

Advertising

3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

Advertising

5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

Read Next