For the past few Blog entries, I’ve discussed SMART Goals, and written about how to write SMART goals – but knowing how to achieve them is a totally separate challenge.
So, you’ve already taken a great first step by using the SMART criteria to set attainable, measurable, results-based targets. But there are a few other ways to set yourself up for success.
1. Write down your goal
You’ve established your goal… now what? Should you just let it rattle around in your brain until it’s over and done? Nope. You should write it down.
Jotting down your goal serves as a solid reminder of what you and your team members are working toward – but there’s some neuroscience at play here too.
A study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, found that people are 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals when they write them down.
2. Set regular check-ins
It’s not enough to have the goal written down, put it in a drawer, or even under the glass on your desktop – and THEN FORGET IT.
We’re all familiar with that rush of excitement we feel when we’re about to tackle something new. But once you get a little further in, that feeling quickly fades — it’s why so many New Years’ resolutions are kicked to the curb by February.
Any goal worth achieving probably won’t happen overnight, and it’s important to check in on your progress regularly to ensure you aren’t falling off track.
Having recurring reminders will keep the goal in the front of your mind and work process.
3. Celebrate your wins (even the small ones)
Don’t wait until your entire goal is accomplished to celebrate; recognizing smaller wins and milestones can keep you moving in the right direction. I’ll spare you the in-depth science lesson, but, essentially, you get a dopamine spike whenever you anticipate that something important is about to happen (like accomplishing something you set out to do).
That’s what triggers a motivation boost.
So, by setting smaller, incremental goals and then giving ourselves a hearty pat on the back when we achieve them, we can increase those dopamine spikes, which in turn encourage us to stay the course.