Change a Habit by Setting Goals

If you’ve decided to change a habit-whether it’s quitting smoking, lowering your blood pressure, becoming more active, or doing something else to improve your health – congratulations! Making that decision is the first step toward making a change.

1. Have your own reason

Your reason for wanting to change a habit is really important. Maybe you want to quit smoking so that you can avoid future health problems. Or maybe you want to eat a healthier diet so you can lose weight. If you have high blood pressure, your reason may be clear: to lower your blood pressure.

You need to feel ready to make a change. If you don’t feel ready now, that’s okay. You can still be thinking and planning. When you truly want to make changes, you’re ready for the next step.

It’s not easy to change habits. But taking the time to really think about what will motivate or inspire you will help you reach your goals.

2. Set goals you can reach

When you are clear about your reasons for wanting to make a change, it’s time to set your goals.

  • Long-term goals: These are large goals that you want to reach in 6 to 12 months.
  • Short-term goals: What are the short-term goals that will help you reach your long-term goals? Short-term goals are the small steps you take, week by week, to improve your health.
  • Updated goals: To help you stay motivated, track your progress and update your goals as you move forward.

Try these tips for setting goals.

  • Focus on small goals. This will help you reach larger goals over time. With smaller goals, you’ll have success more often, which will help you stay with it.
  • Write down your goals. This will help you remember, and you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve. Use a personal action plan to record your goals. Hang up your plan where you will see it often as a reminder of what you’re trying to do.
  • Make your goals specific. Specific goals help you measure your progress. For example, setting a goal to eat 5 helpings of fruits and vegetables 5 days a week is better than a general goal to “eat more vegetables.”
  • Focus on one goal at a time. By doing this, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and then give up.
  • When you reach a goal, reward yourself. Celebrate your new behavior and success for several days and then think about setting your next goal.

3. Prepare for slip-ups

It’s perfectly normal to try to change a habit, go along fine for a while, and then have a setback. Lots of people try and try again before they reach their goals.

What are the things that might cause a setback for you? If you have tried to change a habit before, think about what helped you and what got in your way.

By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.

There will be times when you slip up and don’t make your goal for the week. When that happens, don’t get mad at yourself. Learn from the experience. Ask yourself what got in the way of reaching your goal. Positive thinking goes a long way when you’re making lifestyle changes.

4. Get support

The more support you have for making lifestyle changes, the easier it is to make those changes.

Try these tips for getting support:

  • Get a partner. It’s motivating to know that someone is trying to make the same lifestyle change that you’re making, like being more active or changing your eating habits. You have someone who is counting on you to help him or her succeed. That person can also remind you how far you’ve come.
  • Get friends and family involved. They can exercise with you or encourage you by saying how they admire what you are doing. Family members can join you in your healthy eating efforts. Don’t be afraid to tell family and friends that their encouragement makes a big difference to you.
  • Join a class or support group. People in these groups often have some of the same barriers you have. They can give you support when you don’t feel like staying with your plan. They can boost your morale when you need a lift. You’ll also find a number of online support groups.
  • Give yourself positive reinforcement. When you feel like giving up, don’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself. Remember your reason for wanting to change, think about the progress you’ve made, and give yourself a pep talk and a pat on the back.
  • Get professional help. A registered dietitian can help you make your diet healthier while still allowing you to eat foods that you enjoy. A trainer or physical therapist can help design an exercise program that is fun and easy to stay on. A psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, or your doctor can help you overcome hurdles, reduce stress, or quit smoking.

 

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This article was written by WebMD, known primarily as an online publisher of news and information pertaining to human health and well-being.

How To Create Your Own Self-Directed Learning Plan

The persistent problem of the human condition is that very few of us actually follow through on our goals and live our dreams, particularly when faced with constant obstacles and difficulties. Studies show that 95% of people never set clear goals for achieving their dreams by committing to them and writing them down.

A big reason that so many people fail in online learning is because they don’t set clear goals for learning and they don’t have a self-directed learning plan. Fortunately, you don’t have to be one of those who in the words of legendary self-directed learner Benjamin Franklin “fail to plan and plan to fail”.

The reality is that learning a new skill is difficult and it requires a lot of focus and determination to succeed, particularly when you’re doing it on your own. Without defining exactly what you want to accomplish, the process or plan you will follow to achieve it and the deeper purpose for why you want it, your changes of failure will be very high.

In this instructional guide, I’m going to take you through the process of creating your own self-directed learning plan:

1. Start with why you really want to learn a new skill.

This is a really important first step that is overlooked by most people. When you’re a self-directed learner, you don’t have an authority figure that has created a system of rewards and punishments to motivate and grade you.

This means you have to be intrinsically motivated, which means you are self-motivated by your own internal sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose.  When you define your purpose for learning and how achieving your goal matters will make you feel emotionally, it becomes much easier to stay motivated for a long period of time.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to uncover your why:

Do you want to do more meaningful work? To feel more fulfilled and happy.
Do you want to get a higher paying job? To feel more respected and influential.
Do you want to build a change you want to see in the world? To feel you’re making a difference.

To stay on course when I’m feeling tired and distraction, I practice visualizing the outcome I want to achieve with an extra focus on how it makes me feel knowing I will inevitably achieve it.

2. Set clear goals about what you’re planning to learn.

I like to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting framework to set really clear, actionable goals. Here’s how it works:

Specific: The first step is to get really specific about what you want to achieve. Write down a single sentence that identifies exactly what you are committing yourself to learn.

Measurable: You need to make sure you can easily measure your goal. A good place to start is committing some time each week to pursue your goal without interruption or distraction.

Achievable: You need to be realistic. If you’ve struggled in the past with online learning, you need to set the bar low to build the initial habit and then work your way up to more time and effort as your confidence improves.

Relevant: You need to make it relevant to your life, this is where “your why” comes in. You want to commit to this goal because you have thought deeply how it will impact and improve your life and well-being.

Timely: You need to set a time window so you have a milestone to celebrate when you’ve achieved your goal. I recommend initially setting short-term goals for learning that can achieve in less than 30 days.

3. Structure your time and schedule your learning sessions.

This is crucial step is you want to be a successful self-directed learner. Going to school forces you to structure your time because you have to show up for class. When you’re learning online, you need to create a similar structure by committing yourself to a weekly schedule.

I recommend using a tool like Google Calendar, MyStudyLife, or even a more advanced project management tool like Asana or Trello. You should set aside blocks of time where you can spend time learning without any interruptions. Ideally, set aside 2-3 hours at a time and take short breaks every half hour or hour. You should also set reminders to review your notes and memorize key information you will need later.

To stay focused when you’re learning, I recommend using a Pomodoro Timer like Be Focused Pro for iPhone and Mac OS X, or Productivity Challenge Timer for Android.

It also helps to set up a time at the end of each week so you can review your progress and make sure you’re on track to achieving your goal. If you’re not on track then you may have to adjust your self-directed learning plan to be more realistic.

4. Find a learning accountability partner or start an online study group.

The key to building a self-directed learning habit is to make yourself accountable. For most of us, being accountable to ourselves simply isn’t enough to be successful. So that’s why I recommend committing to learning a new skill with a close friend, colleague or family member.

If you don’t have someone to learn with, join a popular online course or membership-based learning community with other students who are committed to learning. You can also start your own Facebook Group or weekly Zoom Hangout so you can talk about what you’re learning, ask questions and help each other succeed together.

5. Apply what you learn by building your own digital portfolio.

If you want to learn a new skill, you need to apply what you learn by building something with it. We live in an age where a resume or degree doesn’t matter nearly as much as a digital portfolio that shows exactly what you have done. Ideally, your digital portfolio should have detailed case studies to show off the value you offer and the business results you have achieved for others.

This means you need to build a personal brand to differentiate yourself and your own professional-looking website with a digital portfolio section that shows off what you can do.

A good place to start is with your own self-hosted WordPress website that allows you to customize the look and feel with a professional-looking WordPress theme from a marketplace like Themeforest. If you’re not technical, you can have your own WordPress website up and running in 20 minutes using a plug-and-play service like Bluehost.

Now take action and start learning!

The future belongs to the brave and curious so if you’re serious about learning something new, follow these steps and you’ll be on the path to achieving your dreams by making your goals a top priority in your life.

The path to doing what you love and mastering valuable digital skills starts with spending more time learning, creating your own online projects and sharing them with your social networks.

If you follow these steps to create your own self-directed learning plan, you’ll have a strong foundation to learn and master new skills throughout your life.

Good luck!

 

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This article was written by Kyle Pearce, who teaches people how to build location independent careers and use flow psychology to make a living doing work they enjoy. 

10 Ways To Jump-Start Your New Year’s Resolution!

Don’t wait until next year to start achieving your fitness goals. Get the drop on your New Year’s Resolution now with these 10 pro tips!

Resolution time is creeping up faster than you think. What goals will you be making this time around? Build muscle to fill out some medium-large shirts? Get a grip on your love affair with the office donuts and lose weight? Or maybe transform into an overall healthier, better version of yourself?

Whatever your goal happens to be, get a head start now on making a firm resolution today rather than waiting for the clock to strike 12 on December 31st. After all, there’s no such thing as the “perfect” time to start. What’s important is simply that you start!

Sure, it’s a little cold out, and you’ll have some holiday temptations to thwart, but here are 10 expert tips from shredded BodySpace members to warm you up for the coming fitness endeavors ahead.

1. SET PERFORMANCE-RELATED GOALS

If you’re always striving for a certain look, it might do your self-esteem and perspective wonders to instead think about performance and strength. “Oftentimes, focusing solely on physical results can lead to discouragement and frustration when those results don’t come fast enough,” says personal trainer Lindsay Cappotelli.

“I recommend setting performance goals in the gym, such as getting your first pull-up done or reaching a certain number of push-ups,” she says. “Having something besides just the mirror or scale to focus on will help keep you more motivated and consistent with your workouts.”

A major upshot of knocking out performance and lifting goals is that your physique will typically start to improve, as well. Set goals for your major lifts, mile time, and more—just don’t wait until January 1st to do it. Start today!

2. BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your dream body won’t be, either. “Take baby steps to lay a foundation for the goal at hand,” recommends trainer and MuscleTech athlete Ed Honn. “If you go from 0-60, the change could be too abrupt to ensure long-term stability.”

Instead of concentrating on a massive, far-off goal, focus on smaller changes you can transform into habits that contribute to long-term success. Examples include eating enough protein to support muscle function and your goals, replacing soda with green tea, or, as Honn likes to suggest, “Adding more quality food to your diet, taking steps to be more active throughout the day, and making sure your program is tailored to the goal at hand.”

You can’t progress without progression, and baby steps ensure steady progression.

3. CHANGE IN STAGES

Just as you need to lay down your foundation to hustle toward your goals, you also need to prepare yourself for every stage of the journey. “For any change, most people will go through a cycle of precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and then possibly relapse,” explains trainer Nick Twum. “As a personal trainer, I focus on each stage individually. You must first recognize why you want to change in order to combat the denial that you likely feel, as well.”

For some individuals, taking that first step is the hardest. “Once my clients have made the decision to prepare a plan of action and have been working to keep things motivated,” Twum says, “I help them be aware of the chance of obstacles or a sudden stop, which could lead to lack of results.”

When you can recognize what your goals are on a micro level, you will have an easier time making a plan and putting it into action at each stage. As a result, you will feel more in control over any changes, increasing the likelihood that you stay consistent and eventually reach your desired destination.

4. MOTIVATE YOURSELF WITH PROGRESS PICTURES

While we’re on the subject of motivation, one great way to keep motivation high is to take progress pictures, even if you dislike taking pictures of yourself. You don’t have to show anyone; just keep them for yourself. Or, if you want even more accountability, post them to a supportive fitness community like BodySpace.

“There’s nothing more motivating than seeing how far you’ve come in the last year,” explains bodybuilder Jesse Hobbs. “By taking pictures now, when this time rolls around every year, you can reflect back on how far you’ve come and how much hard work you’ve put into changing yourself for the better.”

Plus, long-term change doesn’t show up in the mirror as clearly as it does in photos. For accurate comparison, aim to take your progress pictures at the same time in roughly the same clothes so that you get a true representation of the changes you’ve made.

5. EDUCATE YOURSELF

When it comes to getting fit, knowledge really is power. Arm yourself with the appropriate knowledge and continually strive to stay atop the latest happenings in fitness. It’s a fast-moving industry that regularly comes out with new information.

“There’s so much free information out there pertaining to your diet and ways to improve your workouts,” says physique athlete Jimmy Everett. “Take the time to research and find a logical program that fits your needs.”

You can find the best program in the world, but if it’s not something you will enjoy and stick with, it’s probably not the program for you. There’s no one perfect way to approach fitness and nutrition; you just have to educate yourself and find the things that work for you. Bodybuilding.com’s Find a Plan section is the perfect place to start.

6. BUDDY UP

If you’re really struggling to stay committed to your workouts throughout the holiday season because you’d rather be sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace, find a gym partner and buddy up! If you can find someone who’s stronger or more fit than you, that’s a major bonus because he or she will push you harder.

“Having a friend to train with will boost your confidence,” says fitness model Danielle Beausoleil, “but will also increase your odds of sticking with your regimen because you won’t want to let the other person down. Plus, exercise is way more fun when you have someone to train with. If you are married, try training together as a couple and watch your relationship grow.”

So grab a co-worker, a friend, the cute supermarket cashier, or whomever, and make a promise to keep each other accountable!

7. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE

Perhaps one of the most overlooked strategies for staying on target is to simply make sure you are well-hydrated. “Most of us don’t drink enough as it is, but drinking a lot of water, especially before a big meal, helps with the feeling of being full so that you are less likely to take in so many calories,” explains MuscleTech athlete James Pulido.

Not in the mood for plain water? Try simply adding a slice of lemon or lime, or some cubed watermelon, to a large pitcher of water. You’ll find it more refreshing and a lot more palatable. Soon, you’ll be chugging down the whole pitcher!

“Make drinking ample water a habit right now and practice it every day, all day,” says James. “Consistency is key.”

8. HIRE A TRAINER

If you’ve never worked with a trainer before, it’s important to find the right trainer for you—someone who sees eye-to-eye with your goals and meets your budget. Some trainers can be more expensive than others, but the right one can be well worth the investment.

“There is something to be said about having someone in your corner, making sure you follow through with your goals,” says cover modelDave Dreas. “A good trainer can set you up for success by keeping you motivated, on task, and accountable.”

A strong support network and a great coach are some of the most underrated drivers of fitness success, but if you’re not sure you want to part with your cash, heed this pro tip: “The months of October, November, and December are slow months for everyone in the fitness business, as most clients are out shopping, partying, and going about their holiday activities,” says James Pulido. “This means you can take your time and shop around, ask plenty of questions, and get an amazing deal on personal training sessions.”

Gyms usually boom in January as people commit to their resolutions, so use the holiday season to your advantage to find the best trainers in the business at an affordable price.

9. THROW OUT YOUR SCALE

You read that right. If you’re really frustrated by your weight and have a tendency to weigh yourself frequently, just toss the scale.

“I think the most important tip is to trust the process and stop measuring yourself strictly by body weight,” says personal trainer and competitor Katie Miller. “It’s not about how much you weigh, but about how much stronger you feel and where your confidence stands.”

10. DON’T PROGRAM-HOP

It’s tempting to jump ship when you’re 4 weeks into a program and feel like the results are less than ideal. However, strong results often take more time than 4 weeks to start showing. Stay the course rather than hopping around from one fitness program to another.

“Realize that there are multiple ways to approach your fitness goals, but it’s important to use just one method at a time,” says Miller.

“Think of fitness as a chocolate chip cookie recipe,” she suggests. “There are several recipes to make a pretty delicious chocolate chip cookie, and if you follow each recipe until the end, they will most likely turn out perfect. But if you mix recipes together, you will end up confusing yourself and end up with something that doesn’t even resemble a cookie.”

Trust in the process and try to stick to your chosen plan for at least 6-12 weeks. If you don’t get what you wanted, it might then be time to re-evaluate the program along with your overall approach.

Instead of constantly reading the numbers on the scale and sending yourself into a panic attack, use other measurements like body fat, strength, mood, waist circumference, and progress pictures to gauge your progress.

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This article was written by Shannon Clark, a freelance health and fitness writer located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A Harvard Psychologist Reveals the Biggest Reason People Don’t Achieve Goals

Shooting for the moon is a worthwhile goal if you’re NASA.

But as Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy explains in a recent Big Think video, the average person will probably find more success (and happiness) if they shoot for just down the block — at least at first.

The biggest mistake a lot of people make in setting goals for themselves, Cuddy says, is that they focus only on the outcome, not the process.

Cuddy is an expert on human behavior and the author of “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.” She’s conducted loads of research into tiny triggers that cause us to either take pride in our accomplishments or look back on our failings with regret and disappointment.

She’s found that people often get down on themselves because of unrealistic or poorly planned goals.

“They’re so big. They’re so distant,” Cuddy says of moonshots such as losing 40 pounds or getting a dream job. “They require a million little steps in between, and each of those little steps is an opportunity to fail.”

The smarter approach is to learn to embrace the process.

On its face, that may seem counter-productive, like you’re taking your eyes off the prize. But Cuddy emphasizes the power of using long-term thinking for short-term planning. You won’t lose all the weight overnight, so your best option is to focus on making each day the best it can be. Chop up the big goal into a string of daily or weekly goals that are easier to accomplish.

“A lot of research is showing us that we do much better when we focus on incremental change, on little bits of improvement,” Cuddy says.

That’s how you go from a couch potato to a marathoner. You temporarily ignore the fact you need to run 26.2 miles several months from now, and focus only on running one mile today. And since that goal is much easier to achieve, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment once it’s complete.

In turn, that creates the extra motivation you need to move onto a second and third run, and, ultimately, the race itself.

“Eventually, in aggregate, you get there,” Cuddy says. “You may not even realize it, until one day you turn around say ‘Wow, this thing is much easier for me now than it was a year ago.”

 

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This article was written by Chris Weller

Becoming a Disciplined Person

Self-discipline is a pattern of behavior where you choose to do what you know you should do, rather than what you want to do. It’s the inner power that pushes you to get out of bed to exercise rather than sleeping in. It is the assertion of willpower over more basic desires and is synonymous with self-control.

It includes having the personal initiative to get started and the stamina to persevere. Being disciplined gives you the strength to withstand hardships and difficulties, whether physical, emotional or mental. It allows forgoing immediate satisfaction, in order to gain something better, but which requires effort and time.

Discipline is one of the cornerstones to living a successful and fulfilling life and something we should all strive to master.

Benefits of becoming a disciplined person

When you are consistent in doing the things you know you should do, when you know you should do them, here are the benefits you will enjoy:

  • You will achieve your goals. When you are consistent in doing the things you know you should do, your odds of achieving your goals will be dramatically increased.
  • Your self-esteem will soar. Every time you push yourself to do something you know you should do, you are building your self-esteem.
  • People’s respect for you will grow. This includes everyone from your spouse to your employer who witnesses your efforts.
  • You will influence the lives of others. Every good and right thing you do, influences the lives of those who are watching and can have a ripple effect on future generations.
  • You will see greater success in all areas of your life. Jim Rohn said, “For every disciplined effort there is a multiple return.” Think about it.
  • You will enjoy a more rewarding and satisfying life.

Downside of lacking discipline

When you consistently neglect to do the things you know you should do, when they should be done, here’s the downside:

  • You won’t achieve your goals. I’ve never met anyone who achieved any worthwhile goal who lacked discipline.
  • You won’t feel good about yourself. No matter how hard you try to justify your actions, you know what’s right and wrong. Lying to yourself only makes it worse.
  • You’ll lose the respect of those who are dependent upon your actions.

Making the decision to become a disciplined person may prove to be one of the most important decisions you make because of its powerful influence on every part of your life.

A commitment to discipline

The first step in becoming a disciplined person is to make a commitment to yourself that from this day forward you are going to do the things you know you should do, when you should do them. As part of this commitment, you cannot allow yourself to make excuses or justify not doing what you should do.

If you struggle with discipline, start small. It’s how we all got started. Start by taking out the overflowing garbage, answering an email, changing the light bulb, or cleaning your bathroom. Start today doing all the little things you know you should do, but don’t feel like doing.

When you need to do things that make you uncomfortable, remember the wise words of leadership expert Dr. John Maxwell who said, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”

When things come up that are scary, heed the experience of Dale Carnegie who said, Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.

Becoming a discipline person will likely be the hardest thing you do, but it can also become the most rewarding. All successes in every part of your life are built on the foundation of discipline.

I want to challenge you to start doing the little things you know you should do. As you do, recognize yourself for each thing you do. With constant awareness and sustained effort you can actually train yourself to become disciplined.

This is not the first time I have blogged on the importance of discipline, and it won’t be the last. Of the over 1000 little things on my list, nothing has a higher dollar value to the market than discipline.

Discipline is one of the key differentiators separating those who live successful and fulfilling lives from those who don’t.

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Todd Smith – Started his first business at 18; at 23 earned $250,000 his first year selling real estate; earned 25 million dollars in last 23 years as an entrepreneur. Learn more about him at littlethingsmatter.com

Why 4 Smaller Goals is More Effective Than 1 Big One

The end of the year is fast approaching, which is when many business owners’ thoughts turn to planning and goals.

If you’re like most people I know (including me!), the vast possibilities of the new year are totally inspiring, and you start doodling long lists of goals and aspirations around what you’d like to accomplish both in your business and your life…

…travel abroad for a month

…get to the gym more

…reach six figures and beyond

…launch a new product

…double your email list

…hire a team member

…take up salsa dancing

But once January rolls around, how will you make those goals and dreams a reality?

Statistics tell us that only 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. And anecdotally, I’d guess it’s roughly the same for business owners who set lofty goals at the beginning of the year, but don’t have any plan for how to reach them.

And that’s the key: It’s not about setting different goals, it’s about having a better plan.

I encourage you to dream big! Set those pie-in-the-sky, out-of-this-world goals!

Then develop the plan to execute them.

If you’d like a little help getting started, I’ve developed this simple goal-setting worksheet you can download here.

First, you’ve got to have a plan.

Planning is absolutely necessary for business success.  You cannot expect to grow with any kind of consistency without a solid plan.

Planning will:

  • Provide crystal clear focus on what tasks you should be tackling at any given time.
  • Reduce mistakes and missteps over time.
  • Actually save you time.

That last one is people are often skeptical of. Planning is one of those “important but not urgent” tasks that gets put off, because people assume it will take too much time away from their productivity.

In fact, productivity expert and author, Brian Tracy, suggests “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.”

That means for every hour you spend planning, you’ll get save 60 hours on the execution.

And I don’t know about you, but I could definitely find a good use for 60 additional hours next year!

But one big goal isn’t very helpful.

The problem is that most people go about planning the wrong way. They either make way too many goals, without any concept of how long each of those things will actually take to achieve, and then get scattered when they try to do it all…

…or they make one giant goal, but lose track of it in the day-to-day business of running their business.

While it’s OK to have one big goal for the year — to increase your revenues to a certain dollar amount, gain a certain number of new subscribers, or expand your product line, for example — that kind of big goal is often hard to keep track of over the course of the year, and very hard to break down into action steps.

The solution, then is, what my friend Todd Herman calls the 90 Day Year.  He suggests breaking down your year into segments of 90 days, four segments per year.  For each 90 days, you choose one or maybe two goals that you can achieve in 90 days and then spend the entire time focused on those goals.

This kind of planning has a lot of benefits over traditional annual planning:

  • First, it’s more predictable than annual planning. It’s very difficult to break down long-term goals into individual action steps or to figure out what you should be doing to reach that goal on any given day.  Ninety-day plans strongly connect the action you take today with the specific results you want.
  • Having shorter-term goals keeps you more focused. Annual plans fail because too many objectives result in chaos and poor execution. Ninety-day plans force you to choose 1–3 priorities with greatest impact, and then create energy and urgency to act.
  • Having short-term goals forces you to break a big goal down into individual parts and then create daily action steps for each part. These steps are specific, actionable and achievable in the time frame.
  • The overall plan is structured so that if the action steps are completed on time, your goals are achieved!

The biggest benefit for me is that it helps keep me laser focused; if a new opportunity appears, I can quickly ask myself, “Does this help me reach my short-term goals?”  If the answer is yes, I can say yes to the opportunity with gusto. If the answer is no, I can turn it down without guilt or schedule it for later.

This kind of planning really helped us 10x our business and focus on the tasks and goals that would make the biggest impact.

Short-term goals help you focus on what’s working — and what’s not.

The other huge benefit of this kind of short-term planning is that it gives you the freedom and imperative to pivot when something isn’t working — and the mechanisms to figure out what isn’t working and why.

If you have just one huge goal for the year, it’s like driving a giant cruise ship; it becomes slow and difficult to change directions mid-journey.

But a short-term plan is like a luxury yacht that can maneuver and change directions much more quickly and easily, to head for the best possible destination.

When you’re taking the time to stop and plan every 90 days or so, it:

  • Builds your self-esteem. It’s much easier to see your progress and what you’ve achieved, and help assure you that you’re on the right course.
  • Demands your attention and helps you to respond more quickly (rather than ignoring the fact that a certain tactic isn’t really working — which is so easy to do!).
  • Helps you understand why you’re not hitting goals when something falls a little short. It’s much easier to see if it’s a flaw in the plan or the execution.

 

At first, some people may be a little disappointed when they see in black and white how little they’re moving towards their goals — but this is actually a good thing!  Most of us drastically underestimate how long a project will take and then overestimate how much progress we’ve made.

But when you break your goals down into short sprints, with clear action steps, you can’t help but see where your process is working and where it’s not. This is invaluable information for the smart business owner; you can start outsourcing, find more team members, change direction, change your forecasts, or any number of other solutions once you know what the problem is.

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This article was written by Melanie Duncan.

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