The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
As we bid farewell to Thanksgiving and gear up for the grand entrance of 2024, amidst the holiday cheer, it's the perfect moment to hit the pause button, reflect on the past year, and kick off the exciting journey of setting new year's goals and resolutions. Over the next three weeks, join me in unraveling insights, strategies, and tips to make your 2024 goals a reality.
The Power of Goals
Goals affect performance and outcomes, period. Goals are not mere aspirations; they're the driving force behind exceptional performance and outcomes. It's a fact—individuals and teams that set challenging goals consistently deliver the highest levels of effort and performance. A casual "do your best" won't cut it; specificity in your objectives is the key.
Goals: Your North Star
Goals serve a dual function—they keep us focused and energized. In a world where attention is the new currency, waking up with a clear goal in mind directs our efforts toward what truly matters, leaving distractions in the dust.
Achieving steps toward a goal sparks a self-reinforcing cycle. It's a celebration inside our brains, a recognition that we're on the right path. This positive reinforcement fuels our focus, making the journey enjoyable and the destination even more satisfying.
The Why Behind Goals
Commitment is the secret sauce to a successful goal achievement journey. Research underscores that the relationship between goals and performance is strongest when there's a genuine commitment to those goals. And how do we foster commitment? By defining a compelling 'why'—a greater purpose that resonates clearly. Thirty-five years of research echo the same sentiment: The significance of goal attainment must be deeply ingrained in the individuals pursuing it.
Whether it's a personal goal, a team effort, or a collaborative project, the purpose behind the goal is paramount. A vision, a mission, or a core value driving the goal is the key to unlocking achievements. And remember, the tougher the goal, the more critical the 'why' and commitment become.
If you're ready to embark on this purpose-discovery journey, check out these recent blogs for some inspiration::
Support is a game-changer for goal commitment. Be an active listener, reward small victories, and eliminate obstacles standing in the way. It's a collective effort, and every bit of encouragement fuels the commitment to achieving those milestones.
Michelangelo was right. The highest and most difficult goals produce the highest levels of both effort and performance. So if your initial goal was, for example, reaching the 90th percentile of employee engagement on your team, why not shoot for the 95th or the 99th?
Keep in mind that more difficult, complex, and longer-range goals need to be broken down into smaller, more proximal goals or tasks. For example, if you're trying to reach out to at least 3,000 potential clients next year, break that down into monthly and daily goals. Even the idea of contacting around 300 people per month might seem daunting. But reaching out to 10 people on average per day seems much more doable. When we break large goals into smaller tasks or goals we increase ours and others' self-efficacy. We need to believe we can do it.
Studies unveil the fascinating connection between time management and goal performance. Studies show that when a person is allowed to control the time they spend on a task, hard goals prolong effort. It allows us to take advantage of a known success strategy: Intensify efforts for short bursts of time or maintain a steady, deliberate pace over an extended period.
Another key? A clearly defined deadline. Tight deadlines lead to a more rapid work pace than loose deadlines. Whatever the goal, having a clearly defined deadline or time-frame is key.
Next week, dive deeper into the world of goals and goal-setting as we explore SMART goals and BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals). I'll be including a free SMART goal worksheet. Your journey to a remarkable 2024 starts here—stay tuned!
Consider Enlisting an Expert
If you would like some expert guidance on goal-setting and/or project planning and achieving amazing results, schedule a free, one-hour discovery session with me: 60-minute Discovery Conversation with Alan
Call or eMail
Read Part 2 here: Are Your SMART Goals Really Smart?
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a coach and leadership development consultant with 15+ years of experience. He is passionate about helping leaders transform their leadership, their teams, and their organizations. Impactful, professional approach driven by a passion for meaning and purpose, a growth mindset, and a commitment to excellence and service in order to drive change and results.
Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Transformational change starts with a conversation!
Alan is on a mission to partner with like-minded leaders who want to make a positive difference in the world.
Schedule your free, one-hour session by clicking here: Discovery Conversation with Alan
Or call or email me: Contact Page
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
Free Discovery Conversation!
Impactful change starts with a conversation! Schedule your free, one-hour session by clicking here: Discovery Conversation with Alan
Or call or email: Contact Page
In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.