We all know about setting goals. If you’ve been around the business world, you’ve probably sat in countless workshops centered around establishing goals, each with their own snappy acronym – SMART, OKR or CLEAR. Many of us have been asked to produce annual goals for evaluation at work. And we all know about New Year’s Resolutions.
But as much as we like to make goals and set deadlines, achieving them, especially big life goals such as a new career, additional educational credentials, or major life changes, can be daunting. I once worked for a boss who followed the Jim Collins method and loved setting BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). Not only did I find the name completely ludicrous, the size and scope of the goals created intense anxiety and often decision paralysis. When a goal is so big, we often don’t know where to start.
So, when I became a coach, I wanted to focus less on creating the goals and more on achieving them. In particular, I’ve established a set of questions that I ask my clients to focus on quarterly as they examine their goals and their progress:
- Where are you right now on the path to achieving this goal?
- What is the next mini-goal that you need to achieve in the direction of your overall larger goal?
- What obstacles are standing in your way?
- What additional resources do you need?
- What habits or skills do you need to develop?
- What will motivate you?
- Who are the people who can help you?
- How will you celebrate the achievement of this mini-goal?
- What is your first next step? What can you do today? What can you do this week?
Goals are essential for moving forward in our professional and personal lives. But it’s so easy to become overwhelmed or frustrated when we see the gap between here and there. Creating these mini-goals and celebrating them as essential pieces of the overall target, can help us build the bridge to our imagined future.