Putting the "GO" in "GOAL"

You have a goal - now what? This is how most goal-setting starts:

Example: I want to lose weight. I will do this by cutting out alcohol and cookies from my diet and walking to work every single day. 

Great goal, excellent ideas for what to do to reach the goal. But the person who made this goal is going to be hard pressed to actually achieve the results they are looking for because they are missing key elements of goal-setting and behaviour modification. 

If you want success in reaching your target, achieving your goals, and crossing things off your to-do lists and new years' resolutions, you need to follow the following guidelines:

  1. Make it achievable. You can set your goals high, but don't do something like "I am going to go from couch potato to ultra-marathoner by July". 
  2. Make it actionable. "I will eat healthier foods and walk to work every day"
  3. Make is measurable. "I will lose 20 lbs" <--be specific
  4. Give it an end point. "I will lose 20 lbs by next November"
  5. Give yourself additional motivation "If I lose 20 lbs by next November I will treat myself with a vacation in Mexico". 
  6. If need be, break it up into smaller goals. "In order to lose 20 lbs by next November, I would like to lose 0.5 lbs per week. If I lose 0.5 lbs in a week, I will treat myself to a night at the movies".

This is what I do every single time I am take on a project, whether it be at work , home, or in whatever else I'm up to. For example, when I first started at the Museum, we had a Facebook page with 259 followers. I figured in a town the size of Penticton, it should be more than that. Plus, our average age of engaged users was 45-55 years and almost entirely women. I set goals, and to keep on track, I emailed those goals to my boss and told him my plan to do it. It went something like this:

  • I want to increase our facebook following by double (518 followers). 
  • I want to do this within 3 years, July 2015. 
  • I intend to do this by increasing the number of posts per week from 1 post/week to 3 posts/week, and making those posts more interesting by including photos, locally relevant content, and tagging other organizations. I will also use hashtags and post to twitter. 
  • I will measure the progress we make every 6 months.

I didn't need much additional motivation since it was part of my job anyways, so I'll skip that step in this case. This is the result:

 

 

So we hit our target (518 followers) some time in 2015, and now I've made a new goal with a shorter deadline - 650 followers by the end of 2016. I'm going to be posting more original content (rather than shares). I will be making more how-to videos as well, and behind-the-scenes vies of what really happens at the Museum. If I make this goal of 650 followers by Dec 31st 2016, I will buy myself a bottle of my favourite wine and toast the fact that a significant  part of what I actually get paid to do is to muck about on Facebook.