Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Stay on Track with our Goals




 "We must not let the things we can't do keep us from doing the things we can do."
Richard L. Evans







Continuous Process - Start to Finish
Reviewing your progress towards goal attainment should be an ongoing process that happens from the start of your goal pursuit, during, and right at the end. It should serve as a constant feedback loop on the effectiveness of your actions and their implications toward the outcome. By reviewing constantly, you get immediate feedback on what is and isn't working and take steps to increase your chances of success. It gives you clarity on your performance thus far and prevents surprise at the end of the goal pursuit. If you leave the review until the end when everything has been done there is no room to make any changes. You also lose the opportunity to effect improvisations mid-way in the goal pursuit. Reviewing your progress also enables you to celebrate successes which provides motivation to stay on track.  It also helps us ensure our goals are still relevant.

Key Things to Ask Yourself  When Reviewing
As you review the results of your actions throughout the process, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. How are you faring against your targets? Are you exceeding your expectations? Are you barely meeting your expectations? Are you falling behind? Is this goal easier or harder than expected?
  2. Are you enjoying this goal, or at least excited about the end result? Reward yourself for achieving mini-goals and milestones to keep you on your journey. Remember, the end result needs to be something you really want.
  3. Have you been honest and ethical in your progress towards this goal? Your highly moral sub-conscious won’t let you achieve goals if they have unethical components or if you haven’t been honest with yourself. Is this holding you back?
  4. What is helping you in your goal? Why is it working? How can you focus on this to further drive up your results? Are there any opportunities to improve on what has been working?
  5. What is not helping you in goal? Why is it not working? Can you do anything about it to turn it around? Should you abandon the task instead? What can you do differently moving forward? How can you incorporate the lessons into your plan to maximize your chances for success?
If you have been tracking your progress via various methods you will be able to ascertain if you are on track.  If you are meeting/exceeding your targets, give yourself a reward to congratulate yourself .  If you are not meeting your goal target nor your task targets identify the additional actions you need to take to still meet your goal in the remaining time. If it is not possible for you to meet the goal within the same time frame and the time frame is non-negotiable, consider revising your goal target. Otherwise, you should extend your timing to reflect the new changes.

I started the year with the intention of achieving the following goals:
  • Lose weight - 10 kg
  • Improve fitness - jog 10 km in 1 hour
  • Reduce wine intake - 2 bottles a week.
I set myself up for success by following the golden rules for goal setting. That is I wrote and posted my goal using he following formula:
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic/Resourced
Time Limited

I then performed a Gap Analysis to ascertain my starting point and the steps I needed to take to reach my goals; I also researched topics that might help me succeed such as staying committed and positive in my quest.

Reality Check
This mid year review is "reality check" time. Have I been able to stay on track and be self-motivated?  As my goal was initially broken up into the various component parts it should be pretty easy to determine if I am on track or not.  Let's examine each one in tern:

Weight Loss.
My starting point was 67 kg.  I now weigh in at 64 kg.  I don't see this as a pass, even though I've lost a small amount of weight.  In a six month period I should have been able to loose the entire 10 kg.  Therefore I have obviously not been sticking to my diet. When you only have a small amount to loose then it is imperative that you stick closely to your diet plan.    I always find the winter months more difficult to stick to a diet as I love hot casseroles and hotpots.  Excuses excuses, I hear you say.   Yep, I know I just have to knuckle down and get on with it. I will have to develop a better tracking system of my task targets. For example keeping a food diary and weighing in weekly.

Fitness
You might recall in a previous post about caring for your feet I experienced a foot injury early on in the year which has hampered my progress towards jogging 10 km in a limited time frame. Despite medical support, foot exercises and  changes to my foot wear I am still able to jog for any length of time without causing pain in my foot.  I have therefore reassessed my commitment and capacity to fulfill this goal.  I am still determined to get fit but have to change the parameters somewhat.  My fitness goal is now performing some form of exercise (aerobic, strength, flexibility) for a period of 30 minutes a day/6 days a week. this should be easy enough to track via an exercise diary.

Wine Intake
The reason drinking alcohol ended up on my list of goals was drinking a couple of glasses (and I mean more than 2) of red wine at the end of a long day has become a firmly entrenched habit over the last 10 years. Of course,  this is above the recommended 2 glasses a day with at least 2 non drinking days as recommended by the health authorities.   So not so good for my overall health outcomes in the long term. In addition, as alcohol is high in calories and carbohydrates it definitely contributes to my overall weight.  Also it could not be too good for my fitness level either.  I thought I would really struggle with this one as alcohol can be addictive and it's difficult to break a bad habit. I have, however, been able to achieve this goal on the whole. Some weeks I have not had a drink at all and then on others (particularly if we have guests) I have drank more.  But overall I am pleased with my progress so far.

Conclusion
In the pursuit of your goals, you will undoubtedly face things that veer you off track. It is okay to be disappointed in the process. Face your disappointment, learn to deal with it but do not let yourself be defeated by it. Take stock and reevaluate your position. Draw up a new map linking you to your end destination.  Remember it takes perseverance to reach your goals. Remember as you pursue your goals to enjoy the journey. The goal achievement is but one point in time; the journey is the longest of the whole process. Only when you enjoy your journey will you be able to reach your final goal.


I'd love to hear how you're journey is going towards achieving any goals you set yourself  for this year.