Long-Forgotten Goals: Here’s How to Get Back on Track
At the start of each year, we all get excited and take out our pens and notebooks (or start a new note on our phones) and write down every goal we intend to reach—anyone, especially those who’re in business, understand this excitement very well. As a business professional, you likely set ambitious goals for yourself and your career at the start of the new year. However, as the year progresses, it’s common to fall off track and abandon these goals altogether. If you find yourself in this position, don’t worry—it’s never too late to get back on track and follow through on your long-abandoned New Year’s goals. In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you do just that.
Revisit your “why”
As a business professional, most of your goals are likely related to your own career growth—things like getting a promotion, asking for a raise, or starting your own business. Revisiting your “why” isn’t to simply pull out that old dusty notebook and take another look at your goals; you most likely won’t feel much aside from disappointment. The important thing to remember isn’t what those goals were, but the reason why you set those goals in the first place. Revisiting your “why” can be the driving force that will help steer you towards picking up where you left off and setting off to achieve those goals—after all, motivation is overrated, and it’s drive that will keep you moving forward. Research shows that having a strong sense of purpose can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals. The personal values you hold and your sense of purpose—the things that drive your “why”—are what keep you wanting to continuously work towards your goals.
One of the main reasons people abandon their New Year’s goals is that they set unrealistic expectations for themselves, and what’s more demotivating is taking a look at the goal—which is the end result—and seeing it as too steep of a hill to climb, and therefore, not worth the effort. As a business professional, you likely have a busy schedule and many competing demands on your time. If your goal was to read a book a week, for example, but you haven’t been able to find the time, start small. Set a more achievable goal, like reading for 15 minutes a day only, and then working your way up as time progresses and the habit becomes more rooted in your daily routine. Research shows that starting small, or creating “small wins,” can help you build momentum and make progress towards your larger goals.
Set specific, measurable goals
When setting goals, it’s important to be specific and measurable. More often than not, we tend to be incredibly vague while writing down our goals for the year. This means setting goals that are clear and easy to track. For example, instead of setting a goal to “network more”—vague, cannot be tracked, immeasurable—set a goal to attend one networking event per month or to schedule coffee meetings with two new people each week—clear, measurable, and trackable. Research shows that setting specific, measurable goals can help you stay focused and motivated, and increase your chances of success.
Use technology to your advantage
A business professional such as yourself is likely have access to many tools and technologies that can help you stay organized and on track, or at least ones you know of already. Consider using apps or software to help you track your progress towards your goals. For example, you could use a habit tracking app to help you stay consistent with your daily habits, or a project management tool to help you break down larger goals into smaller tasks. This will help you not only track your progress, but also keeps you accountable—remember to keep the notifications on and don’t mute!
Find an accountability partner
Accountability is a key factor in achieving your goals. Having someone to hold you accountable can help you stay motivated and on track. Consider finding an accountability partner, such as a colleague, friend or a spouse, who can check in with you regularly and offer support and encouragement. And if you know a friend who’s perhaps more successful than you, research shows that you might actually be more motivated to achieve your goals when someone who is of “a higher status” than you knows about your goals.
Getting off track doesn’t mean you have to stay off track
It’s important to stay motivated and focused on your goals, even when you face setbacks or challenges. We sometimes find ourselves feeling too disheartened and disappointed to get back on track, but you’ll find it more rewarding to follow through even if we’re already almost half-way through the year. Remember, it’s never too late to make progress towards your goals and achieve success in your career, no matter how many times you fall off the wagon.