WD World

This is a Goal Post – Literally

We had a 45-minute wait before my wife and I could get into PF Chang’s for dinner. This didn’t bother us at all because we were on a date with no kids. We have four kids, ages 3 to 11, so time with each other is valuable. While we were waiting for a table, we received a text that severe thunderstorms were in the area and that a tornado might be headed our way. Since we were now spending our date looking at the radar on our phones, we decided to just go home rather than worry. The date was a bust.

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to have a date night twice a month, which requires intentional planning and effort to make happen.

Have you set a goal and you did everything right, but it just didn’t work out? Why is it so hard to stay on track to fulfill the goals you want in your life or business?

I am a strong advocate for setting personal and business goals, and I revisit my own goals on a regular basis. But even as I say this, I am reminded that it can be a struggle to stay on track in our business and personal lives. In my blog post, It’s Time to Focus Before You Get Distracted, I stated that setting goals is the first step to productivity. At Warren Douglas, we have a stringent goal setting and strategy development process that we perform for our clients. We call it the Strategy Map. We decided to use this process on ourselves last November and December, which required multiple meetings, intentional focus, and team collaboration. Creating goals, strategies, and tactics is hard, but I think implementing, adjusting, and staying on track is much more challenging. How do we stay on track? In an effort to figure this out, I did some research and found the following tips helpful.

  1. Keep goals exciting and relevant

Goals should be specific, measureable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART). Michael Hyatt mentions, in his Best Year Ever course, that goals should also be exciting and relevant. For example, my goal to have date night with my wife is exciting because it is something to look forward to after a chaotic week. It is often difficult to find time to communicate with each other in a meaningful way. Obviously, this goal is relevant since communication and time with each other is important in a good marriage. At Warren Douglas, one thing we did was look at what the goal would look like in one, three, and five years. A vision for the future increased excitement and enhanced the relevance of our goals. “Begin with the end in mind,” as Stephen Covey says in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

  1. Remember your ‘Why’

Inevitably, challenges will arise that make staying on track difficult. Anything worth doing will not be easy, or everyone would do it. On our ‘busted’ date night, my wife and I were disappointed because we looked forward to our time together. When challenges arise, it is important to remember the motivation for setting the goal in the first place. I set the goal of having a date night with my wife to improve communication and, consequently, our marriage. I know that a good marriage helps the family, and a strong family is powerful in this world. At Warren Douglas, we experience the challenge of staying on track due to client needs, miscommunication, and changes in the business and industry. Why do we set goals? We want to grow; we want our employees to have new opportunities; we want to provide new and innovative services; and we want to practice what we preach.

  1. Schedule or plan your next step

What would happen if I became discouraged about our date night, and I didn’t schedule another one? My goal would not be met. I know it seems simple, but it is important to always have the next step planned and scheduled. John Murphy, an Executive Coach, mentions that in order to have the momentum to meet your goals, you have to get started and keep your plan in motion. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that the tendency of a body in motion is to keep moving, and the tendency of a body at rest is to keep still.

  1. Keep Adjusting

We always have to adjust our strategy and goals as the world changes. A stormy date night required us to go home and take care of the family, but we adjusted anyway. Michael Hyatt mentions in his post, What To Do When There’s No Wind In Your Sails, that it is critical to stay engaged, stay alert, and keep adjusting. He says that small adjustments can have a significant impact on momentum, such as improving a product or service, reworking the message, refining the technique, and expanding skills.

  1. Stay Uncomfortable

This is probably the hardest one of all. Who wants to be outside his/her comfort zone? We should all have stretch goals that are outside our comfort zone, and these are the hardest to implement. Anytime you try to do something worth doing, there will be resistance somewhere. Seth Godin states the following in his book, The Icarus Deception:

Resistance is a good thing – a symptom that you are doing something that matters. When the resistance shows up, I know that I am winning. The resistance is a symptom that you are on the right track. It is not something to be avoided. It is something to seek out.

There is nothing easy about meeting your goals in your personal or business life. Criticism, procrastination, resistance, and other storms are ever looming. A successful journey can be found by keeping goals exciting and relevant, by remembering your ‘why’ for setting your goals in the first place, by planning your next steps, by continuing to adjust, and by staying uncomfortable. To progress to the next level in your business and personal life, the journey is essential. Warren Douglas continually strives to progress along its own journey of accomplishing purposeful and intentional goals.

Oh — one more thing — my wife and I have another date night scheduled, and the weather forecast looks great.

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