I have written extensively about strategies to help set goals for maximum success. I know all of my savvy readers are now actively making sure their goals are both SMART (Specific,Measurable,Attainable,Realistic and Time-Specific) and HAIRY (Heartfelt, Animated, Irresistible, Rockin' and Yours). *Click the resource links at the bottom of this article if you need a refresher on SMART and HAIRY goal-setting.
Why then, even after setting SMART and HAIRY goals, is there still such an abysmally high failure rate to our goal setting?
Many of us forget to pay attention to the critical piece to ensure success of our personal goal-setting - Accountability. We have no problems with setting accountability structures in our businesses. We are consistent and conscientious about helping our staff team create specific action plans to help achieve business goals; we hold meetings to check in on their progress, we ask them to report back to us on deliverables, we hold them accountable and they act.
If accountability works in business, why don't we apply the same techniques to our personal goals? As long as we privately hold our goals we won't have a good success rate. The vast majority of us need external supports and motivators to help us "keep on keepin' on." As un-sexy as it sounds, putting a structured accountability system in place is the key piece to ramp up the success of our goals.
8 BBN (Boring but Necessary) Accountability Strategies to Supercharge your Goal-achievement Success Rate
1/ GET CLEAR ON YOUR 'WHY'?
First and foremost, you must be accountable to yourself. To do that, you must make sure your reason for wanting to achieve a goal is compelling enough to really make you want to commit to it.
For example, let's say you tell me that your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year. OK. Let's go deeper. Why do you want to lose the weight? You might say, "So my clothes fit and I look good". Let's go even deeper. Why do you want to look good? "Because I will feel more confident and have more fun." Now that's a compelling reason to lose weight - To feel confident and have more fun.
Make sure you drill down and get at the compelling 'Why' underneath your goal. Keep your 'Why' present for yourself and keep reinforcing it. Your 'Why' will provide personal accountability and inspiration for you to keep going.
2/ GET A PARTNER
Find a specific accountability partner (or two) who are invested in seeing you achieve your goal. Share your compelling 'Why' with them. Make sure you pick accountability partners without personal agendas. Pick ones who will support you, encourage you, celebrate with you, remind you of the reasons for your setting your goal and help you get back on track if you get stalled.
Be specific with your accountability partners. How often do you want them to check in with you? Are you going to give them daily progress reports? Will you email them or phone them? How do you want to be held accountable? What kind of encouragement do you need from them? Set up clear and specific parameters for your accountability partnership.
4/ JOIN A GROUP
In addition to your specific accountability partner(s), for even more rocket-fuel, join or create an accountability group. Group support works. If your goal is not specifically attached to an existing group, you can easily set up your own. Try a Business Mastermind group, set up a private Facebook group to check in and share successes, or join any number of specialized online programs.
5/ DIVERSIFY YOUR MEASURES OF SUCCESS
Make sure that your goal has more than one measure of success. If you have several measurables, you will consistently make forward progress each week in at least one of your measurable areas and be more easily able to keep up the momentum and motivation for change.
For example, one of my creative clients (an avid golfer) set up a Health Index for herself with measurables that give her a weekly "health golf score." Her ultimate goal is to lower her "golf score" each week. Although her goal originally was centered around weight loss, her Health Index includes several other important measurables that will contribute to her feeling of health success such as blood pressure, cholesterol readings, level of energy (assessed on a scale of 1-10 when she started so that she had something to measure against), number of reps of arm weights, number of minutes on the bike at the gym etc. Movement on any one of those measurables is lowering her weekly "health golf score" and keeping her motivated as she sees her successes building.
6/ WRITE IT DOWN
You must actively measure your progress by putting pen to paper. The process of writing and recording your efforts has a huge impact on results. It makes you acknowledge your incremental successes and remain conscious and intentional about your progress. Writing it down holds you personally accountable.
Studies have documented that individuals with clear, written goals are significantly more likely to succeed than those without clearly defined goals. And in a recent Weight Loss study it was found that those who kept "food journals" and documented everything they ate lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep food journals!
7/ GO PUBLIC
Going public signals that you are truly committed to your goal . Think about this as garnering public support for your goal. You are much more likely to keep on track if your colleagues are asking you how it is going. Saying it out loud starts to reinforce a personal belief system that builds energy and keeps you going. Get bold! Go Big!
8/ CELEBRATE YOUR INCREMENTAL SUCCESS POINTS
Create milestones along the way to reward and keep you going. You are the fabulous one doing the work. Each incremental step forward is a step forward. Celebrate each and every one of them. Let's turn accountability into a sexy word.
How to set SMART Goals: Click here to download the chapter on Do-able Goal Setting from my book, Harmony from the Inside Out
Setting HAIRY Goals: Click here to read the article in my Feb. 2012 Newsletter