Be clear with yourself

Having a clear, aspirational goal that is meaningful to you contributes significantly to the achievement of that goal. This may sound obvious, but it is not. It is all too easy to drown in a large, vague or all-too-demanding goal (‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to run a marathon’). The bigger and more non-specific a goal is, the more likely we are to drop it after a while. Do not underestimate the importance of the goal-setting process.

Here are some key principles for goal clarity:

  • Commitment – check with yourself how emotionally attached you are to the goal and your level of determination to reach it. For example, if you decide to create better connections with team members, to what extent is this meaningful to you, and how truly motivated are you to do it? Is this something you think you should do, or something you would like to do?
  • Clarity – set clear and precise goals that can be measured or clearly felt. When a goal is clear in your mind, you know exactly what is required and the resulting success is a further source of motivation.
  • Challenge – we are motivated by achievement and the anticipation of achievement. Set a goal that is challenging but that you believe you will be able to accomplish. Ideally your goal will trigger you positively but not overwhelm you.
  • Keep it simple – make sure the task is simple, clear and within your reach. It is best to break down big goals to smaller elements, and then the likelihood of achievement is increased. For example, instead of saying ‘I will go to bed at 10pm every night’ (which may feel too early for you given your commitments or wishes), you can decide to go to bed 15 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime and stick with this new habit until it becomes routine.