It’s that time of the year again, ‘new year, new me.’ Whether it’s losing a couple of pounds at the gym, travelling more, starting a new business or working towards a promotion – nothing compares to that feeling of writing down your resolutions in a brand-new diary.
But how many times have you found yourself completely demotivated as the January blues kick in and your offtrack before you’ve even started? According to research, only 20% of people set goals for themselves. What’s more unfortunate is out of the 20%, only 30% of people actually succeed.
Now is the time to change your personal goal-setting approach and find a method that works, so you can take charge of your destiny in 2023.
Five ways to effectively set personal objectives:
By embracing failure and becoming a learning organisation
“To practice a discipline is to be a lifelong learner. You never arrive. The more you learn, the more acutely aware you become of your ignorance.” – Peter Senge
When people set personal objectives, they typically see only two outcomes: either a hard pass or fail. This stigmatises failure as the result of lack of achievement. It’s important to make sure your goals are realistic and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) and your forgiving of failure. You’re only human, and as the adage goes, ‘you learn more from failure than success.’ Embrace the lessons, see it as character development, don’t dwell and keep striving.
Having this mindset will also help you become a ‘learning organisation.’ Companies that transition from the traditional top-down corporate structure to a learning organisation model have a better chance of building an environment of continuous growth, risk-taking, learning and cooperation.
Personal mastery is one of the key disciplines advocated by Peter Senge, when it comes to creating a learning organisation. Personal mastery is the development of the ability to achieve personal goals; learning organisations facilitate this by creating an environment in which employees can develop their own sense of vision—how they see the world, what matters to them, and what they are passionate about contributing to through reflection.
By focusing on outcomes rather than inputs
Personal objectives are typically input driven rather than output focused. Input-based objectives involve specific tasks and activities that must be completed in order to achieve a goal. Output-based objectives are outcomes you agree on with your team that serve as benchmarks to fulfil a larger organisational goal. Shifting your mindset to consider the larger impact you can have tends to give you the motivational boost you need.
At IRIS we changed the way we measure our performance, from Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s). This goal management framework helps companies execute strategy and it’s designed to help organisations move mountains and achieve really great things by focusing the efforts of everyone around clearly articulated ambitious key priorities. It involves organising employee efforts around doing work that really matters and the principles include clarity, transparency and alignment. Laser sharp focus on OKR’s unlocks the power to achieve business goals and create a culture where everyone knows they are making an impact.
By ensuring your personal goals align with your career ambitions
So many times, I’ve seen people develop goals that correspond with organisational goals, but it doesn’t get them any closer to their ultimate dreams. It is critical to map out the career path you want to pursue and work with your manager to verify if your objectives are giving you the necessary skills and experience to advance to the next level.
Goals are also often only reviewed quarterly or yearly. If you want to progress faster, you must reflect on your goals on a daily basis and incorporate them into your DNA.
Professionally, connecting your personal career ambitions with the goals of your company might be one of the most powerful career tactics since it makes you more desirable. If you enjoy your job and identify yourself with the organisation, you will discover that your employer invests in you as well, producing a win-win situation.
By setting yourself stretch goals
A stretch goal is an objective that is purposely difficult to achieve. Having stretch goals creates a number of advantages for you, your team and your company including: encouraging innovation and creative problem-solving; increasing employee motivation and engagement; increasing the likelihood of the business’ success – even if goals aren’t accomplished completely, you’ll likely achieve further than you would otherwise; maintaining team alignment and encourage greater collaboration to reach stretch goals; increasing understanding for leaders and supporting future decision-making.
Stretch goals, when applied properly, will challenge team members, keep them focused on growth and development and discourage them from resting on their laurels.
Digitising your personal objectives
Personal objectives have traditionally been recorded in a diary, a jumble of sticky notes, or a calendar. There are now numerous HR platforms available where employees can put their objectives into a software and track evidence of their professional development. When it comes to appraisals, leaders can easily seek data from a single location – spending less time searching for information and more time making informed decisions to support employee growth and development.
Final thoughts: If you take the time to put your ideas into goals, you can achieve everything that your mind can conceive. Dream big, but make sure you create tangible targets to help you get there.