A couple of weeks back, I was swapping messages with a friend Julie who asked me if I can teach her how I have the self-discipline to study on my own and have the energy and consistency to start something I want. I agreed to teach her my ways and in return, I asked her to teach me the Sandler’s Sales Methodology which she’s trained at.
Figuring out what to share with her was easy because I already have a process in place. Organizing my thoughts and how to communicate was the tricky part. Each time I ask, why was I doing what I was doing in each process? I decided to make slides and even share some pages of my little red Moleskine where I write all my goals in.
I thought I’d make it an article too! So I’m happy to share with you 3 ways in staying consistent in achieving your personal goals you can try!
1. BUILD A HABIT OF GOAL SETTING
Everyone sets goals, usually in the form of new year’s resolutions. I call them annual goals. Then you break these annual goals down into smaller parts divided into monthly goals, then divide further to weekly goals. Sounds tedious? Stay with me here.
Why do you need to build this habit? It enforces you to always reflect on what else you want to achieve on a regular basis and as a by-product you think about how else you grow continuously.
- Annual Goals. When setting annual goals, I like to set categories to focus for that year. Every year is different. Categories could be family, finance, career, fitness, relationship, travel, personal development, spirituality, community, etc. Each catetory has its own list. And of course, these goals have to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound).
- Monthly Goals. I have pages in my little red Moleskine reserved and labeled for monthly goals. But I only fill them days before the month starts. I learned priorities change a lot, for example, the pandemic. I make time to identify what I want to achieve that month that aligns with my annual goals.
- Weekly Goals. Recently, I started making my weekly goals cover only weekdays because the schedule is more consistent thus manageable. I make my weekly goals usually on Sundays before the workweek starts and they should align with my monthly goals. I make a separate list should I decide to have weekend goals. Sometimes I don’t if I choose to simply chill.
- Number of Goals. I now set 1 – 3 items per goals list. Beyond 3, I start to feel overwhelmed and out of focus. Previous years I set 5 or more in a list, I then end up doing nothing altogether because of the unnecessary pressure and demotivation.
- How about Daily Goals? I don’t make them. I do have a long TO DO list in my Notes app that outlines my deliverables for the week at work then I prioritize daily.
- Paper over Digital for Goals. Writing your goals on paper has a psychological effect that you’re signing a contract with yourself – and you can’t erase it. I’ve tried doing digital before but it wasn’t as effective because I knew I can just edit it anytime I want.
2. MONITOR PROGRESS REGULARLY
Why is this important? Think of it as your GPS when you’re driving from Point A to Point B. It gives you information on how close you are to achieving your goal and adjust your activities accordingly.
On the same little red Moleskine, I allocate pages for tracking the progress of my annual goals. For example, this year I wrote down 6 speaking engagements. The progress section I write a numbered list of the speaking engagements I’ve done so far with the date and name of the event. Also, I use boxes on all my list. I shade the box once done. That way it’s easier to see what’s completed and not.
How often do you monitor progress? Once a month I evaluate my annual and monthly goals. Then based on that info, identify my next month’s goals. My weekly evaluation happens every Sunday afternoon.
3. SCHEDULE COMMITMENTS THAT MATTER
I can’t imagine my life today without calendars! I’m impressed with people who can clearly remember upcoming events or commitments, I’m just not one of them. Thus, I rely heavily on calendars not only for work but also for personal, community, family, fitness, and even self-development commitments like the weekly progress sessions. Try it! They not only serve as reminders but also as documentation of how you spend your time on things that matter to you.
BONUS: REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
To improve your focus, disable ALL mobile app notifications except the necessary ones. The necessary ones for me are (1) phone (2) messages (3) calendar and (4) reminders. Some other messaging apps such as Slack, WhatsApp, and Viber I only enable badges so I only see there’s a message when I want to. How about email? I disable email notifications as well because they’re not always urgent. If something is urgent, people will call anyway. I don’t remember when I started doing this trick but I’ve become more in control of how I spend my time more than ever.
That’s it! If you learned and applied a thing or two from this article, let me know if you see any improvements in your life. Best of luck!