Did you set yourself up with grand goals this year? More importantly, did you create a path to achieve those goals?
When a new year comes along, we feel energized and charged to “make a fresh start” and make this year our best year ever. That feeling is amplified this year because the New Year also rolled in a new decade — a powerful motivator for grand goal setting.
How did you choose your big goals this year? Did you look ahead a few years and reverse engineer your way back? Did you take the time to determine what are the three areas in your life you want to improve?
Our biggest mistake is often making too many things important. In EOS we say all the time, when everything is important, nothing is important. In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins says if you have more than three priorities (areas of focus) you have no priorities. So what are the major areas (priorities) in your life you want or need to improve? Income, marriage, fitness, education, relationships, impact? Choose no more than three. These are your areas of focus and improvement. Write your S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year around these.
Next, choose Rocks (90-day priorities) for the quarter that align with achieving your annual goals. These, too, should move the needle in one of your three areas of improvement.
I have written about managing your priorities and not your time. Recently, I came across a fantastic tool in my Darren Hardy Insane Productivity course called the Sunday Planning Tool. In the vein of Stephen Covey’s Urgent/Important Matrix, this tool will help you identify how you are spending your time and allow you to correct course prior to falling into the trap of doing the “stuff you should not be doing.”
Create four boxes labeled: Priority 1, Priority 2, Priority 3 and Wasteland.
At the beginning of your week (Sunday evening), look at your calendar. Place each of your meetings, calls, activities, etc. into one of the four boxes. Anything in the wasteland is just that, a waste. Highly successful people are laser-focused on their goals and priorities that will deliver the results they demand. Our pace of success will increase when we learn to remove the activities and events from our lives that are not moving the needle in our identified areas of focus.
I have created a color-coding system in my Planner that does the same thing. I use a highlighter for each of my big three — anything still in pencil needs to go! Because of this practice, I have dropped a couple of committees that not only were not adding value to my big three, but I also felt I was no longer providing value to those committees.
This Sunday Planning tool concept will help you implement the “Do More by Doing Less” article I published a few months ago.
Be aware, though. The drive and euphoria of exciting new goals can wane over the first few months, or even weeks. The challenge is to stay disciplined even after that feeling goes away. It is too easy to quit if our goals seem arbitrary. We will often talk ourselves out of the relevance or significance of the work we set out to do if we don’t have the right goals.
So how do you stay focused and on track? Take the time to create strong and aligned goals that clearly impact the areas of your life you wish to improve and anchor back to these areas weekly using the Sunday planning tool. It will be more difficult to justify quitting when your mood and motivation dip.
Take time to build your calendar each week to ensure you optimize growth in your three areas of improvement (and make sure you are feeding all three!) If you don’t take the time to fill up your calendar, other people will fill it with their priorities. Don’t forget to build in time for recharging and relaxing. You will achieve more and better results when your tank is full! When you feel yourself lacking motivation in a month or two, read this and reset using your Sunday planning tool!
Cheri Kuhn is a Professional EOS Implementer and founder of the Perfect Planner. Read her leadership blogs at traction-advantage.com/category/latest-news.