It’s the 3rd week of January.
How’s that New Year’s Resolution going?
New Year’s Resolutions have a poor reputation for being successful, but it’s rarely because of the goals set themselves. Your goals are important. You do want to achieve them. Sometimes people are quick to dismiss the value of New Year’s Resolutions and even stop setting them – after all, what’s the point, if you’re not going to follow through? But if you set a resolution – or a goal – that matters to you, maybe the solution lies not in giving up but shoring up your chance to be successful.
What you need is a proper framework.
A framework is a way of thinking and doing things that you can count on to help you succeed. Without a framework, you’re left to your own unreliable devices. Will power. Trying really hard. Both strategies that fail when your motivation wanes.
It’s better to tackle your goals with a framework you can follow that will lead you through the hard times and help you stay motivated for the long term.
So how to you go from “trying really hard” to actually achieving your 2017 goals? Try this framework: problem, project, plan, and process.
Problem. Define the problem. We make changes when something is wrong and we want it to better. So what’s wrong? What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
Project. Once you’ve identified the problem, make solving it your new project. Aside from setting the goal (“Drop 10 pounds.” “Increase revenue 10%.” “Hire new team.”), take the time to sit down and map out how you will achieve it.
Plan. Once you know how you want to tackle this project, put pen to paper and make the plan. What will you do, and when? What’s your timeline? What are the milestones? What are the steps?
Process. A plan is only as good as the paper it’s written on until you implement it, so the last step is to put a process into place. Decide when you will revisit the plan, and how often. Set about a regular routine of identifying the next immediate step; taking that step; evaluating the outcome; and revisiting the plan for the new next step. If you do this, achieving your goals is no harder than a walk through the park. You just take one step after another, until before you know it, you’ve arrived where you wanted to be.
Imagine the difference this could make for you in achieving your goals. Where once you had a feeble resolution (“Get my finances together”) now you have clarity about the problem (“My finances are a mess, and if I’m not careful I’m going to miss the chance to build a strong retirement.”). You have taken it on as a project. (“In the next six months, I am going to focus squarely on getting organized with my finances.”) You developed a plan. (“I know what I am going to do in each month to move from a mess to a strong financial set-up for the long-term.”) And you have a process. (“Monday is now “Money Monday.” Every Monday I look at my financial plan and choose the steps to move forward.”)
When it comes to making your 2017 goals a reality, remember, don’t just get inspired. Get ready, get started, get it done, and get the results!
The previous article appeared on Inc.com as a part of my column, “Behind The Desk.” Look out for new columns every week!