We all struggle with goal setting and keeping our New Year’s resolutions each year.
And why is that? Is the problem us?
We’re going to make a possibly unpopular statement and say, “Absolutely not!” The problem lies with the resolutions themselves, including poor planning and goals.
Some of the most glaring issues with resolutions include making the wrong goals, not knowing what you want, unrealistic expectations, and setting your sights too high. (And while we at High Hanging Fruit believe that goals should be set high, we also know that they still need to be realistic.)
Discover how to reach your personal KPIs and more effectively set goals so your New Year’s resolutions aren’t forgotten this year.
Common Goal-Setting Problems
Some of the most common goal-setting problems include making the wrong goals and not knowing what you want.
You’re Making the Wrong Goals
A lot of us make goals based on what we think we should achieve the following year.
Maybe your peers have reached milestones by certain ages or after a select number of years in their positions. But those are just arbitrary numbers, and it doesn’t mean you need to make those same goals.
Before you can determine your goals, you should think about what you want — and more importantly why you want what you want.
When we base goals on intrinsic motivation instead of external factors, we’re more likely to stick to those goals.
You Don’t Know What You Want
What were your New Year’s resolutions? Did you want to network more? To find a new job? Inject a little more passion into your current role?
Now ask yourself why you made these goals. Did you do so because you actually wanted to achieve them? Or did you arbitrarily make goals you thought you should make?
Workplace trends are changing. The old milestones and success markers no longer make sense anymore. We no longer need to hit certain milestones before we “arrive” at our destination.
Before making goals for the next quarter, ask yourself what you really want. What do you want short-term and what do you want long-term?
Unrealistic Expectations/Too Lofty Goals
Manifestation gurus have placed us all in an unhealthy cycle of unrealistic expectations.
The universe has your back! You can have it all! Why shoot for the moon when you could reach the stars?
Yes, we all need to set our sights higher than we expect to reach. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t readjust our expectations from time to time. If we are always striving for unrealistic outcomes, we’ll never feel satisfied and we’ll never meet our goals.
Instead of shooting for the stars, ask yourself what is possible. Then maybe shoot for a little higher than that. Consider easier-to-reach goals like monotasking for a day (or a few hours) or spending a few hours a day building your personal brand.
What Are Your Personal KPIs?
You can’t measure your success if you don’t know what you’re striving for. Before you can set key performance indicators, you need to know what you want and why you want it.
What do you want?
What do you want (your goals)?
So many of us arbitrarily decide on our goals without really thinking about what we actually want.
We might set a goal of acing our performance reviews but what we really want is to feel valued and do good work. Maybe you set a goal to reach a career milestone by a certain age, but what you really want is to make a difference and feel validated.
There are so many ways to make a difference, feel validated and valued, and do good work.
Why does it matter?
We often set goals and personal KPIs without remembering why we want them, and remembering our “why” is an important step to achieving them.
When you’re struggling to meet your daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly KPIs, remind yourself why you want to achieve them in the first place. It’s too easy to forget why we want that promotion or raise when we’re struggling through a pandemic, civil unrest, and international turmoil.
But doing so will give you the motivation you need to push through.
Goal Setting Tips
Goal setting continues to be a constant struggle for most of us — especially when it comes to meeting personal KPIs.
As we near the end of Q1, let’s reassess how we set and track our goals. Look back at Q1 and ask yourself if you reached your personal goals for the first few months of the year. Assess your first-quarter KPI.
Then, set your goals for Q2, following these tips.
Create Short-Term Goals
Chunk your long-term goals into short-term ones. What are the steps you need to take to hit your next career or personal milestones?
Make a list of these steps and decide how long each step should reasonably take. Then, schedule these steps into your short-term and long-term goals calendar.
Whether or not you meet these goals is somewhat irrelevant. What’s important is that you’re taking steps toward your goals. Even if you don’t meet your Q2 goals, you’ll want to see some progress toward achieving them.
When goal-setting, it’s important to plan for failure.
Despite what we tell job recruiters, none of us are perfect. There will be times when experience setbacks or a lack of willpower.
We get sick. Our schedules fall apart. We need more help or time than we planned for. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected. And when we fail to do this, we’re making a plan for failure.
That’s where WOOP comes in. WOOP stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan. What’s your wish? What’s your possible outcome? What obstacles stand in your way of meeting your goals? What plans can you implement to tackle these obstacles?
Focus on the Process
We’re hardwired to want to focus on the outcome (the goal). But when we do this, we end up sabotaging all of our best-laid plans.
We have practically no control over outcomes. All we can do is focus on how we plan to reach those outcomes.
Systems work exactly the way they’re designed to. If you’re not getting the results you want, you need to evaluate your process. What’s going well? What’s working? What’s not?
Are you able to stick to the process, or is it too restrictive? Are your goals too lofty?
Evaluate and Reevaluate
One of the reasons our New Year’s resolutions don’t work is because they don’t require an active plan or process with reevaluation.
Let’s say you make a resolution to get healthy in the upcoming year. How are you planning on tracking your success? Based on your gym or nutrition goals? Or based on how you feel?
We so often make resolutions in January only to forget about them by February. And part of the reason we do this is that we often forget to evaluate our progress and reevaluate our process.
Would we recommend evaluating our progress on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis?
Absolutely. But at minimum, we recommend doing this on a quarterly basis to ensure we’re not staying up the night before to pack in all of our goal progress in the 11th hour.
How are you monitoring your personal KPIs this year? Are you able to stick to your goals? If you need a little extra support and community, join us at Rise. We can help you build your personal brand, stick to your goals, and offer the support you need.