For bigger picture things, such as goals, being mindful of our preinclinations is a critical part of achieving success. This framework is intended to help you focus on your own unique approaches to accomplishing the outcomes you desire across work, relationships, health, and other important areas.
The four steps to evaluating and achieving a goal:
- Assess the goal’s desirability, achievability, and outcomes.
- Articulate what the goal is and why it’s important to you.
- Categorize the goal’s level of urgency and importance relative to other things on your plate.
- Pause here and determine if this is a goal worth pursuing. If yes, proceed. If no, reconsider the goal.
- Determine how you’ll approach this goal in a way that works for you. For example:
- If you’re using our To-Do Matrix, your biggest goals should be listed at the bottom of your worksheet as high-level priorities that will be carried with you from week to week.
- Break the goal down into sub-goals or sub-steps. Be as explicit as possible about what you might need to do in order to reach the goal, so you can visualize your approach.
- Decide if the goal can benefit from an early start (a precrastinatory approach). If so, determine what can help you get started and stay motivated.
- Evaluate whether there are reasons to take a step back prior to completion (e.g. to gather more information, allow the creative juices to flow, etc., i.e. a procrastinatory approach)? If so, make sure to build in time and space for this stage.
- Think through what might cause you to face self-doubt or over-optimism that may stand in your way of successfully achieving the goal. Brainstorm ways you can preempt or overcome these tendencies.
- Move from intention to action.
- If you’ve broken your goal into sub-goals, you may be increasing your level of commitment or exertion, and getting closer and closer to the ultimate goal.
- You may also consider building habits such as making sure you complete your daily task list. This will help you to create momentum and keep at the goal.
- Getting started, even in small ways, can reduce anxiety and make the goal feel (and become) more achievable.
- You did it! (Or, hopefully you did it!) Now is the time for a post-mortem.
- How did it go?
- What could have gone better?
- What would you do differently next time?
- How can you apply your learnings to other goals you have in progress or on the horizon?