Skills 360 – Achieving Your Goals (Part 2)

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Hi everyone. I’m Tim Simmons and you’re listening to Business Skills 360. Glad you could join me today for the second part in our look at “achieving your goals.” Today I’m going to talk about how to maintain your focus and motivation while you work toward achieving your goals.

Let me start off with a quote from the well-known business guru Robert Allen. Allen said: “The future you see is the future you get.” What he is talking about is visualization, which is necessary for achieving goals. You have to visualize yourself or your organization accomplishing whatever it is you’ve set out to. This is what many professional athletes do before a big competition… they walk through the match and imagine themselves winning. Let me repeat it for you: “The future you see is the future you get.”

This is one way of helping you maintain motivation, but there are others. One other way is through a system of rewards. Of course, when you finally reach your goal there is a great payoff. That could be a sense of accomplishment, greater profits, better working relationships… whatever your goal is related to. But that great payoff may not be enough to sustain you, especially when you’re working toward long-term goals. Remember how I mentioned in the last episode that you need to establish milestones or benchmarks along the way? Now, what you need to do is to attach rewards to those milestones. What kind of rewards? Well, that depends on the type of goal. If it’s a personal goal, you could reward yourself with something fun, like a night out, or by buying something you really want. If it’s an organizational goal, then maybe you need to reward all the people involved. For example, you could throw a party or give bonuses. Those rewards and incentives will help everyone stay on track and give them something real to look forward to.

Now, visualization and a system of rewards both help people remember that they’ve set goals. The mistake that many people and organizations make is to set goals and then promptly forget about them. That’s wrong. You and your employees or colleagues should be keeping your goals in mind whenever you do something. You need to remind yourself or your people of goals. This could mean writing them down, posting them on the staff room wall, or having regular updates.

In an organizational setting, goals may have their own communication plans. If you have set goals that depend on the work of other people, those people should know about it. For example, imagine you are a regional sales manager and decide that you want to increase sales by 15% in the next quarter. Who are you going to tell? Well, the salespeople, of course. You need to let them know that there is a clear, or smart, goal in place and that you want them to work together to achieve it. Then you need to check in on their progress, update the entire team, and remind them what they’re shooting for.

So, do all of these strategies guarantee success? Are these tactics foolproof? Of course not. I’m telling you right now that there will be bumps along the way. You will experience setbacks, and there will be days when the goal appears farther away than the day before. This is normal. A common mistake is to give up on a goal when mistakes are made or problems occur. You need to see these setbacks as opportunities to refocus. Look at what happened. Figure out the reason for the setback, and then you will have improved your chance of success. Failure is not falling down, failure is staying down.

Great. Remember that achieving your goals is a process, not an event. It takes time, energy, motivation, and the ability to deal with adversity. It doesn’t happen all at once. But if you set good goals, manage them well, find the right time and resources, and maintain motivation and momentum, you’ll get there.

That’s all for now. If you’d like to learn more or test yourself on today’s lesson, check out the website. You’ll find vocabulary explanations, discussion questions, and a quiz. Thanks for listening, and good luck with your goals!