Productivity

Golden rules of goal setting

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When it comes to setting New Year resolutions, most people struggle to adhere to them as they are too vague, ambitious or unmeasurable. That’s not to say that striving for betterment is a waste of time, though. On the contrary. But the key to success is taking the right approach.

Consider the meaning of the word ‘resolution’ (a firm decision to do or not to do something) versus ‘goal’ – (the object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim or desired result). A goal is something to work towards and allows for lapses along the way but the idea is to reach it and move on to the next thing.

For professionals embracing the new world of hybrid work, which typically affords better work-life balance (as people are able to combine working in an HQ with being based at home and at a local coworking space), this means there is more scope in 2022 to upgrade skills, improve time management and invest in personal wellbeing. Here are five tips for setting goals – and achieving them…

Choose a ‘power’ word

Sometimes simplicity is the best approach. Choosing a ‘power’ word that has resonance for the New Year acts as a way of guiding you in your decision making and helps to remind you of your priorities as you balance time at your desk with looking after loved ones, for example. American philanthropist Melinda Gates is an advocate of selecting a ‘word of the year’.

She wrote on LinkedIn: “In 2016, my word of the year was gentle, which, for me, functioned as a reminder to go easy on myself, to fight the pull of perfectionism, and to encourage others around me to do the same. The next year, my word was spacious, which encouraged me to make room for the things that matter. Last year, my word was grace.”

She says that a well-chosen word “makes the year better – and it helps me be better, too”.

Focus on one objective at a time

Having too many competing goals will detract from your chance of success, so a good approach is to eliminate the distraction of other ambitious targets by putting your focus on one at a time. It can also be helpful to break down a “BHAG” (“big hairy audacious goal”) by deciding on more manageable aims that can be achieved over a set timeline.

For example, instead of saying you want to have a team of 100 employees by the summer, focus on recruiting more gradually and keep the business lean, perhaps working with freelancers and contractors, to retain a degree of flexibility. Focusing on the exact projects or tasks you need help with will give you clarity in your decision-making.

Stack your successes

Success is addictive, so setting achievable targets that you can ‘stack’ one on top of the other once they are done can be incredibly motivating. The method works like this – you say: “After I have got a new accountant, I will work on my financial forecasts.”

The approach is also effective at building better habits. For example: “After I have done one hour of emails in the morning, I will go for a run.” The nature of hybrid working, which has flexibility at its heart, is ideal for supporting both personal and professional objectives.

Whether your goals are for you as an individual or that of the company, writing them down is particularly important – whether it’s on a whiteboard for everyone to see, in a notebook or on your phone – because it’s satisfying to tick them off and you can visibly see your progress. The Strides app is worth downloading as it is specifically designed for logging goals and stacking successes.

Talk about goals with others

A well-known technique for achieving goals is to talk about them with other people. This is because knowing that colleagues, for example, are expecting you to do something motivates you to actually get it done. Having a monthly Zoom catch-up or in-person meeting at an office or local flexspace is a great way of sharing progress reports and announcing when goals have been reached.

And don’t forget to celebrate those wins, no matter how small they might be. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins says: “You can only build on success.”

With locations in thousands of neighbourhoods all over the world, find out how Regus can help your business thrive in the new, hybrid world of work.

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