In this week’s episode of the Working With Podcast, I don’t answer a question and instead I give you some tips about achieving your goals in 2019.
Hello and welcome to episode 60 of my Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.
This week there’s no question to answer, instead, I have a slightly different format for you to help you go into the new year armed with the right strategy and motivation to make 2019 your best year ever!
Don’t forget if you are looking for more help and advise on anything related to productivity, time management and goal planning and achievement, then just head over to my website, carlpullein.com, for videos, articles, online courses and of course coaching and mentoring. Everything you need in one handy place.
Okay, let’s get started…
The new year brings hope, it gives us an opportunity to make a fresh start, do a reset and to take stock of our lives and has us thinking about where we can improve our lives and become better at what we do. But…
Statistically, most people will fail to make any changes or achieve any of their goals. When our good intentions meet the expressway of everyday reality our good intentions are usually the first things to break down.
However, with a little application and focus, we can make those changes and begin growing and developing a life we want without breaking our intentions.
So how do you do that?
Well, the first thing is to get really specific about what it is you want to change or achieve. It’s no good just saying I want to earn more money - earning more money is easy. Doing a shift in your local pub on a Friday night will earn you more money. You need to get specific. How much more money do you want to earn? 5,000? 10,000? - Be specific.
I want to lose weight is not specific enough to be either motivating or measurable. Just go to bed without eating your dinner and you will lose weight. You need to be specific about how much weight you want to lose and more importantly, by when?
Once you have the specific details and you have a set timeline, then you have a workable goal.
Now another mistake I see people making is having too many goals. You have plenty of time to achieve everything. You don't have to achieve everything in the first month. This is why so many fail in the new year resolutions. They have far too many and so their focus becomes diluted. I’ve always recommended focusing on no more than five or six goals for the year. Two or three are even better and remember if you do get on a roll and start accomplishing your goals quickly, you can always modify your outcome or target or add new goals to achieve later in the year.
In fact, doing a quarterly review of your goals allows you to add in some flexibility, see how you are progressing and maintain your momentum and motivation. It also means if you are falling behind you can devise plans to get back on track. Keeping things fluid and flexible allows you to adjust and refine as the year goes by. Sometimes when we set our goals for the year we are just a little bit too optimistic. Instead of giving up either extend your timeline or adjust the outcome. You don’t have to give up. Just refine and keep going. The hardest part of usually getting started, so once you start, don’t give up. Just adjust and keep going.
Now one of the secrets to successfully achieving goals is developing the right habits. Let’s say you have decided to do a power hour between 6am and 7am every morning. You want to create an hour for yourself - to exercise, study something or meditate - there's a habit in there to develop. That is to wake up at 6am. If you’re not used to waking up at 6am your focus will need to be more on developing the habit and discipline to get yourself out of bed at 6am every day. What you do during that hour, can be developed later. You can experiment in the first month, you will soon find a routine you like. A routine you find motivating and more importantly, enjoyable. When I began doing meditation in the mornings I didn’t really know how I wanted to do it. I researched some articles and videos and found a 15-minute meditation session I could follow. After a couple of weeks I modified it to better suit my needs and now my morning meditation is something I would never miss. I love it, it’s so relaxing and it sets me up for an outstanding day.
You see, goals are achieved through regular, daily practice of habits. Waking up early requires you to be in the habit of getting out of bed early. Losing weight requires the habit of watching what you eat, beginning an exercise programme requires you to go out and do exercise regularly. All of these changes and goals mean you have to build habits.
Other types of goals also need good habit development. Getting your masters degree needs the habit of regular study, being promoted at work, needs the habit of doing great work every day. Achieving goals is nothing more than developing the right habits and consistently performing those habits.
Which nicely brings me onto the next point and that is when you have written your goals out, can you identify what habits you will need to acquire to be able to achieve your goals? That’s really the secret of achieving goals. Building the right habits that will take you a little bit closer towards achieving your goal.
Let’s say your goal is to become a director in your company by the end of the year. Now, while we are in 2018, would be a good time to discuss with your boss or HR about what you would be required to do to achieve that goal. Once you have that advice you can then build a plan to develop your skills and your behaviours so you can demonstrate to the people that matter that you have both the skills and the ability to become a director.
Sketch out your ideas on paper or in a notes app and then look for the habits you can develop to make sure you are doing something every day to take you towards the goal. To become a director may require you to change your behaviour at work. Maybe you hang out with the gossip crowd at lunchtimes or perhaps you stand a little too long around the water cooler chatting. These are habits you will need to change. Change them. Find different people to go and have lunch with—people who can help you to develop your leadership skills.—Buy yourself a larger water bottle so you don’t have to go to the water cooler as often—that’s great advice if you ask me—just look for things you can turn into habits.
Changing your behaviour is difficult. It’s easy to behave differently for a day or two, but our behaviour is baked in, and if you want to or need to change yours, then you are going to have consciously change the way you behave by changing your daily habits. That is the only way you will make the lasting change you will need to make to be considered for the promotion you desire.
Another good trick is to look for links between the goals you have set yourself. If the majority of your goals fall under the category of your professional development, or personal development, then you may find there are some goals that naturally work together. This year I had three separate goals on my list that naturally linked. I wanted to begin waking up at 5 AM, to become fluent in Korean and to begin daily meditation. When I saw these written down I saw that I could wake up at 5 AM, do 45 minutes of Korean study and then finish the hour off with 15 minutes of meditation. I linked three goals together and that meant although I was achieving three goals, I only had to organise myself to do one thing—wake up at 5 AM—Once I was out of bed, I could move naturally onto my next one.
If you have lose weight and begin exercising on your list of things you would like to do in 2019, then these two obviously link together. All you need to do is to decide when and how often you will exercise. The simple act of exercising regularly will start the weight loss. Your daily calorific output will go up and as long as you daily calorific input doesn’t go up as well, you will lose weight. You’ve linked two goals together.
Finally, if you are attempting to achieve a goal you have previously failed at, spend a little time looking in to the reasons why you failed before. Sometimes we fail at goals because the reason for achieving that goal is not strong enough. Imagine you are a little overweight, but you feel happy with the way you are. But you still have lose weight on your list of goals for next year. Now the problem here is your motivation is weak. If you have lose weight on your list because of what someone else told you to do, then the “why” is not your “why” it is someone else’s why you will struggle to achieve that goal.
Other reasons could be the goal is too big for one year. Earning $1 million, for example, may need five or ten years to achieve that. Instead of going after $1 million, break it down to say $250,000 next year. If you find yourself at $500,000 by July, then you can always extend the goal to $1 million then.
So there you go, a few final tips to achieve your goals as we head into the new year. During these final days of December get yourself motivated, visualise what a great year would be like and create a plan to make it happen. You have the ability and the know-how to do it, you just have to decide how you are going to do it and make a determined effort to make it happen. Your year is in your hands. You have the power and all you need now is the right plan, the right motivation and of course to develop the right habits to make it happen.
Good luck and thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Working with Podcast. If you found this episode inspiring, please share it will as many people you know. Sharing and helping other people to have a fantastic year is a gift only you can give, so give as much as you can.
It just remains for me now to wish you all a very very productive week.