C-Suite Network™

Write Your Professional Goals Into Reality

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. When New Year’s Day arrived, I didn’t dream of achieving unrealistic changes to habits and behaviors. Instead, I thought through realistic goals. Then I snuggled up with a hot cup of coffee and began writing them down. At that point, something shifted.

Toward the end of 2019, as I thought through what I wanted for the new year, I never took the time to write down any of my goals. I brainstormed what I wanted to achieve and moved on with my day. Those goals didn’t seem real until New Year’s Day when I actually wrote them down. It was like signing a contract and agreeing to follow through on my promises. The commitment I made was undeniable since it was there in black and white.

When you have big dreams and goals, do you write them down, or do you only think about them? The difference may surprise you. One study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor of psychology, revealed participants were twice as likely to achieve their goals when they regularly wrote them down.

Science discovered that just thinking of our goals only enlists the help of our right brain — our creative centers. It is when we put pen to paper that we also engage our left-brain logic centers. By using our entire brain in the goal-setting process, we significantly increase the likelihood of attainability. As we repeatedly write down goals, our mind is reminded of their importance and begins to respond with subconscious day-to-day behavioral changes.

If you desire more influence, credibility, and opportunity in the workplace, I invite you to join me in this four-step, goal-achieving challenge:

1. Identify Where You Are Versus Where You Want To Be

Grab a piece of paper and settle into a quiet place of thought and reflection. Consider what professional success looks like. Perhaps you want a promotion or raise. Maybe you want more respect and authority with peer teams, coworkers, and colleagues. Or, perhaps you want your ideas to be heard and acted upon with enthusiasm and interest. Write down whatever your goal may be.

Next, consider the quality traits you believe necessary to achieve those goals. Would completing your high-profile project early lead to a promotion? Or, would more engaging meetings with colleagues lead to greater ideas and consistent follow-through? Write down every characteristic you believe is necessary to achieve your goal.

2. Define Your Current Status

Once you’ve defined and documented what you want professionally this year, reflect on what it will take to bridge the gap. This will help you identify the groundwork needed to guarantee success. For example, if you are a sales professional and want to earn a bigger paycheck, you need to close more deals. To close more deals, you need to convince more prospects to buy. To do this, you need more influence within the conversations and relationships you create to build a better rapport, deeper trust and greater credibility.

3. Engage A Support Team

Choose someone you trust and enlist their help to achieve your goals. Ask for their honest feedback and perspective about what you need to improve. Establish a routine appointment to discuss your progress and ongoing commitment to change. Research shows that while meeting with an accountability partner can increase your chance of success by up to 65%, routine meetings increase your chances of success by up to 95%. Make a weekly appointment with your accountability partner and commit to bringing your documented list of goals. Write down weekly action items and set a deadline or commitment. Discuss what you’ve done to implement their feedback and any progress toward your goals.

4. Realize Reflection Creates Reality

Choose a regular time each day to review your goals. Review what you wish to achieve and the steps necessary to get there. Read the notes provided by your accountability partner and write down the action items needed to stay on course that day. Personally commit to remaining focused on what you wish to achieve.

Don’t just dream of goals this year, but instead strive for success by engaging all aspects of your mind and body. Write down your goals. Develop a plan of action. Get feedback, enlist help and continually reflect on the next course of action. Increase your chances of success by grabbing a pen and paper.

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