Don’t have a “goal”, have a PLAN! Most of us have goals–whether personal or professional. But just having a goal won’t make it happen. What makes youachieve your goal…is planning. How many times have you told yourself you’d change something but it never really stuck? How many times have you promised yourself you’d make a point to do (or not do) something? As a freight broker, I’m sure you’ve thought about maybe expanding your office, reactivating old customers, shipping some LTL instead of all FTL, learning a new language, etc. Only to watch days, even months slip by and you’ve had zero progress in the areas you wanted to make changes. It happens to all of us. But, it doesn’t mean you weren’t serious about your goals or that they became unimportant – most of the time it’s because of poor planning. It’s because we didn’t really fully define the goal, set objectives or put actions into place to help us achieve the necessary results by a certain time…because there was no PLAN!
Different things work for different people. To achieve…actually ACHIEVE a goal you need to have a plan in place. It’s the plan that breaks down the goal into workable parts and it’s those parts (when applied or tracked) that help you define your goal(s), gives you a list of actionables and makes you set a timeframe. Here are some basic guidelines to help you create a PLAN to achieve your GOAL:
1. SET A GOAL: I know you just rolled your eyes and this may seem a bit obvious but without a clearly defined goal it’s easy to lose sight of whether what you want to achieve is along-term vision or for short-term motivation. If you’re not putting serious thought or consideration into your goal, chances are you won’t be successful achieving results. When setting a goal, try using the What, Why and How Approach. The “What” stands for what you’re looking to achieve in your business or personal life. Defining a goal makes it tangible and therefore more likely to be achieved. Second, the “Why” is the reason you want to attain the goal you set. Let’s face it; we all get caught up in the day-to-day minutia of things. So, to stay on track and keep our goals in sight, we need to regularly remember why we are doing the task and the meaning behind it. And last, the “How”. These are the new skills we need to practice, the classes we need to take, the new habits or the breaking of old ones that will get us to where we need to be.
2. SET SMALLER GOALS: Once you’ve firmly defined your goal (personal or professional, long or short term), you need to set smaller goals. For a professional goal, this might involve crafting a company mission statement. For a personal goal this might involve making a daily “To-Do” list. If you’re committing to a long-term goal like a 5-year plan, try breaking that down into yearly plans and then maybe into a 6-month or even monthly plan. Just be sure to review your plan regularly to make sure you’re keeping on course and in-line with your overall goal and adjust as needed.
3. STAY ON COURSE: Your success in achieving your goal lies mostly in this area. Like the saying goes, “You have to have skin in the game”. The “skin” of it lies in your efforts of day-to-day reviewing and managing of your progress and doing so will help you stick to your plan. Although it can seem daunting or tedious, tracking these individual steps are a definite necessity. To make this part of the process easier, you can use a journal or diary to record your progress. Even if you’re always on the go, yep…there’s an App for that! There are countless apps out there for you to use to keep you on track, whether it’s losing weight, getting more active, setting reminders and even digital diaries! Another way to stay on track is to schedule time for yourself like you would for a meeting. Use that time to track your progress, review notes, and make necessary adjustments as needed. It’s very important to view your progress so you can see how far you’ve come and reward yourself as you hit certain milestones that will help keep you motivated.
One final note…If you prefer to track your progress digitally over the traditional pen-to-paper method, there are numerous apps out there that you can use to help you achieve what matters to you most. Here are some of the more popular apps for you to check out and download so you can log your progress while on the go – NO EXCUSES:
MyFitnessPal – A free calorie-counting food journal that integrates with fitness tracking devices that allows you to connect with others for accountability and motivation.
Wunderlist – A to-do app favored by entrepreneurs for its beautiful, minimalist design; great for long-term or short-term to-do lists that you can access from all your devices and share with others.
Evernote – A note-taking app with multiple uses, one of which allows you to keep track of goals by organizing a notebook with different goals and ideas.
Productivity Wizard – Includes a comprehensive set of effective tools like a to-do list, action plan, and weekly rituals among other things that will help you focus and boost your productivity/motivation to accomplish the results you want.
Nozbe – A paid, task management app where you set up a project and then the goals, habits and daily tasks to reach your goal; available on nearly every platform.
GoalsOnTrack – Very robust if you prefer all the bells and whistles while achieving your goal in a hierarchical sense and syncs with Google Calendar.
Some Tips on Goal Setting:
– Set Priorities: Rate your tasks (A-most important, B-moderately important and so on). This helps you to better focus on your priorities and directs your attention (and time) to the more important ones and also keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals.
– Write Goals Down: Whether you write your goals down on paper or on a digital device, it tends to make them more “concrete” and therefore makes them become more forceful and have more weight than just a thought. Because it’s in print – you HAVE to act on it!
– Be Realistic: Make sure to set achievable goals. Setting yourself up for failure from the onset is a definite motivation killer and will most likely hinder you from setting any future goals. Strive to reach things that are attainable as these will help to build your confidence and continue you on a path of improvement and continued successes.
– Reward Yourself: You don’t have to wait until your goal is reached to celebrate. Reward yourself along the way with mini victories as you reach mini milestones in your progress. This will help keep you motivated, committed to succeeding and continually moving towards your ultimate goal. Good Luck!…err..I mean, Good Planning!