In the Army my drill instructor was fanatic about what she called the “5 P’s“, which at that time stood for “Piss Poor Planning Prevents Proper Prosecution“, or as I like to think of it now, “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Having goals, whether for personal reasons or business, and being able to meet them is an essential skill everybody needs these days. Staying focused and motivated on what you need to do to attain those goals is something everyone struggles with in their own way.
My friend Jim Raffel (@raffel) touched on this in his recent blog post Planning Pays Big Dividend. Primarily Jim was talking about how his goal, “…to get to the point where I am writing my blog posts about a week ahead”, which as a side benefit, gives him the time he needs to review and improve his posts, for both readability and SEO. Because he took the time to plan and figure out not only what he needed to do to achieve his goal but how to achieve it this is a good example of why having goals is good for you.
Don’t think that goals are only good for blog writing, because they’re not. Goals are good for anything you want to do well. For example you could set a goal to walk 20 minutes at 4mph every day on the treadmiill before you go to work. A little planning tells you that you’re going to need to get up a bit earlier so you have time to stretch and get that walk in. You may also need to work up to the speed. The benefits of reaching this goal are you’re doing some exercise that will lead to you getting back in shape and burning unwanted calories. Another benefit could be stress reduction. But it all starts with the goal.
The goals you set don’t need to be lofty and verging on unattainable. Start small, but think big. Break that big idea or goal down into smaller more manageable pieces, and focus on achieving those one at a time. Want to get better at public speaking? Practice your delivery in front of a mirror and time it. Make a video of yourself presenting and then watch it. See where you fell off track or how you could improve it, then do those things and make those adjustments and record yourself presenting again. Repeat this process until you feel comfortable with how you’re doing things and then take all that practice to stage and deliver that presentation, just like you practiced.
What goals do you have for today? What about next week? Next month? How do you plan to achieve those goals?