Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Resolutions to Results III: Identifying Success

This is part three in an ongoing series of posts about setting (and reaching!) your goals this year. Part I (Brainstorming Goals) is here, and Part II (Prioritizing) is here. This post picks up where those two leave off.

Identifying the successful achievement of your goal is really important. If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you've gotten there? In the course of the next two posts, I'll share with you some tools to use to identify a successful achievement of your goal.

1. Measurability

To identify success, your mind actually needs some numbers. If your goal is “to work more” this year, what does “more” mean? Is one show or published article enough? Or do you have to do six shows this year, or four published articles for it to count as “more”?

Similarly, if you want to lose weight, how much do you want to lose? “Some?” Or fifteen pounds? When you’ve lost a pound, are you halfway there, or are you one tenth of the way? It’s hard to stay motivated when the desired end results are vague. It’s also really easy to let yourself off the hook when you use “mushy” words to identify success.

Coming up with numbers helps you distribute the work that you’ll have to do over the course of a year. If you want to teach six classes this year, that’s one every other month, on average.

If you’re not sure how you want to define success, try picking something. Make it realistic -- not losing 100 pounds by Valentine’s day, or getting your demo produced tomorrow. But if you’re not sure what’s realistic, ask your friends and family. Ask someone else who's done what you're hoping to achieve. Or just pick something. If you don’t get there this year, then adjust for next year. If you get there too quickly this year, you can always add to your goal.

2. WIIFM -- What's In It For Me?

WIIFM is all about the benefits you’ll get when you achieve this goal. This is really the driving motivation behind going after this goal in the first place. You can start to answer this question by asking yourself the following questions: “What will I get when I’ve reached this goal?” “How will I feel?” “What will be different once I’ve achieved this goal?” “How will this achievement change my life?”

Answering these questions specifically and richly will help you to stay on target. For big challenges, you can post the answers to the WIIFM questions in areas of high visibility (the fridge, your screensaver, over the toilet). Remembering what you’ll gain from the achievement will help you in the moment-to-moment choice-making.

Join me in the next post for two more tools to help you identify success and point yourself more specifically in that direction.

And don't forget! There's still time to sign up for the Make It Happen Now! workshop that I'm offering on January 16th from 2-5 pm. Information and the sign up button can be found here.

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