Every day we wake up and start our routines with key goals in mind. We all have had some experience with having to plan out our day, set deadlines, or even set our alarm to be sure we are out the door on time. All these things can be considered a form of project management.
As we all know some days are better than others, but each day is a day we can get closer to improving or achieving our goals. It only takes a few steps to create an effective strategy to successfully achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Below are 5 steps to help you get started on successfully accomplishing your short-term or long-term goals using project management phases.
Identify your Goal
It really is important to identify what it is that you personally want to achieve. Here are tips to get started:
Take some flashcards or post-it notes and write down all of your dreams and goals.
Review them all and start separating them into two piles: short-term: things that you can get done within the next few days, weeks, or months and long-term: things that you can achieve within the next 6-12 months or years (you can define what short-term or long-terms goals mean to you).
From each pile identify which goals are priorities to you. We recommend starting with 7 short-term goals and 3 long-term goals (it is always better to have more short-term than long-term goals to start).
Gather Your Tools
Most people think “I’ve identified my goals, now it’s time to plan and get started!” However, not taking the time to gather all of your tools is where many people fail. It is extremely important to educate yourself and take the time to fully research and prepare before executing your goals. Below are some simple ways to prepare:
Research - Start researching what is needed to achieve your goals and what success looks like (especially what success looks like to you).
Consult & Follow - Identify key companies, and or people, that have achieved similar goals. Reach out to them to see if they would be willing to coach you or provide some advice. Yes, the thought of reaching out to a stranger may be a little intimidating, but you would be surprised at how many people are willing to help those that share common interests. If you are not quite ready to put yourself out there, at least start following social media platforms that share your common goals.
Schedule check-ins - It is important to hold yourself accountable. One way to do so is by confiding in another person, sharing your goals, and asking them to help keep you encouraged. A great way to stay on track is by scheduling check-ins with your friends, mentors, or even your journal. Just simply start talking about your day, where you are with your goals, and all that you have achieved.
So, we have identified our goals, researched all of the tools/resources needed to keep ourselves on track, now it’s time to plan. Here are 4 quick tips to get started on planning:
Organize both your short & long-term goals by priority (Tip: Look at each of your items as tasks and start with a few short-term goals/tasks. Then sprinkle in long-term goals/tasks to work towards simultaneously.)
Identify what is needed to achieve each one of those tasks. For example, if you wanted to start a business do you have all of the tools you’ll need to accomplish at least your short-term goals? If not, let’s add the items or tools that are needed as short-term goals.
It’s time to commit to each of these tasks by assigning a deadline or check-in. When assigning your deadlines be sure you are completely honest with yourself and your surroundings. Make sure those deadlines are realistic for you.
Create a checklist of each task and the dates they are due. It is important to arrange each task by their deadline starting with the task that is due first. (Tip: Create a calendar reminder a few days before your target deadline to ensure that you are still on track.)
Below are the 5 keys to executing your plan:
Create calendar events of each task (don’t forget to schedule your check-ins).
Start working on your tasks focusing on one thing at a time (balance and being honest with yourself is key. Make sure you have all tools needed before attacking a given task).
Check-off the tasks you’ve completed.
Monitor Your Progress - even if you do not make all of your deadlines it is important to monitor your progress (remember: there is a lesson with every achievement and failure).
Treat Yourself - every time you have completed a task don’t forget to reward yourself, you’ve earned it!
Celebrate Your Wins
The hardest part about starting something new, is starting. It’s important to celebrate every win and even find opportunities to improve. The biggest take away is knowing that the key to success is all in the strategy. Stay focused and commit to working towards your goals every day and you WILL be successful.