Tips for effective goal setting

What begins as a simple “to do” list can mushroom cloud into “where do you see yourself in five years’ time” before the kettle hisses to announce the day’s first cup of tea, which is when most of us put goal setting in the too hard basket and either tackle the lowest hanging fruit (easy emails) or just sit down in the fruit tree’s shade (to read Real Housewives recaps). But here’s the deal — it doesn’t have to be that way!

Apply a few techniques that’ve come from the trenches (we’re talking recovery from substance abuse and the like) to the things you’d like to accomplish, and before you know it you’ll have a road map that leads to one destination — success. The secret sauce that’ll carry you there safely? Sharing that journey with others. That’s why the Canberra Innovation Network’s Virtual Coworking community hosts an optional weekly meeting of the Accountability Club — and, much like the board at the front of the CrossFit gym or the anonymous circle of folks meeting in a church basement, a person is more likely to stick with a goal and make it to the next challenge with a community’s support.

Here are a few of the Accountability Club’s gold standards of goal setting:

  • Set goals that motivate you. Each one needs to be associated with a WHY. Like a lot of us in business and life, if we don’t have a good “why”, we’re not going to be motivated to act.
  • Put your goals in writing! And make them tangible. Use active language (“I will” instead of “I’d like to”).
  • Make an action plan by breaking your goals down into steps and tasks. What resources do you need? What challenges do you think you’ll come across along the way and how will you adress them?
  • Don’t stop! If your goal is going well, great! Celebrate that! If you hit your goal, great! Set another one. Get that dopamine! If you’re struggling with your goal, take the time to review what you’ve accomplished, consult with your community to identify the barriers to success (this is where the Accountability Club is key) and make the necessary adjustments.

And perhaps most importantly? Ensure the goals you set are SMART.

  • SPECIFIC: Don’t be vague or general, think about the details (but not overcomplicated)
  • MEASURABLE: Include precise amounts, dates, etc.
  • ACHIEVABLE: Be sure you can reasonably achieve your goal – otherwise you’ll only demoralize yourself
  • REALISTIC: Make sure your goals are in line with how you want to live your life (which is why your goal needs a “why”)
  • TIMELY: Have a deadline! Even if it’s an ongoing goal, set deadlines to accomplish along the way

SMART goals

Good luck, goalies — you’ve got this! And we’ll be there to help (and hold you accountable — Thursdays from 11:00 AM!) along the way.