What gets measured improves, what is rewarded or recognised gets done


When I set myself a goal, or have a target to achieve, I find that I usually start off with a hiss and a roar, but nearly always lose the plot somewhere in the middle.

My focus wavers and I come up with excuses about why the goal can’t be achieved or isn’t important.

I find every lame reason for not pushing on – including blaming others. If I can’t blame someone else, I’ll find some other way to take the pressure off myself.

The best way to avoid ‘mid-goal blues’ is to set up a realistic strategy before you start. This strategy should include measurable checkpoints or – as they say in the business world – ‘key performance indicators’.

Break your goal down into measurable chunks, and take on a bit at a time, step by step – that way you won’t end up feeling so over-whelmed. The number of milestones, stages or steps you need to create will depend on the timeframe of the overall goal. There needs to be some kind of reward when you achieve each milestone.

For example, perhaps you have decided to go for a month without alcohol or sugar. You could break this goal down into 24 hour periods, and have a little celebration at the end of each day, rewarding yourself with something you enjoy (but not alcohol or sugar!).  Then, at the end of each week, you could shout yourself out to the movies or some other activity you enjoy.

If you have a weight loss goal, divide up the total number of kilo-grams you want to lose and create milestones and rewards along the way. Or you might do a 12-week exercise programme that has specific fitness and weight loss (or gain) milestones and outcomes. I like 90-day goals because they have a long enough timeframe to allow for some pretty big achievements, but they are short enough so that the end is always in sight.

Studying can be tedious – especially if you have years of it ahead of you. No one enjoys every facet of the study or work they have to do – you just have to remind yourself that every moment you have your head down and your bum up is taking you closer to your dream.

Divide up the degree or course of study into years, and then into semesters. Look at what you have to do right now and create mile-stones. I do this when writing books. First I create the outline, the introduction and all the chapter titles. Then I beaver away at a re-alistic pace that will allow me to reach a set deadline.

The best way to avoid ‘mid-goal blues’ is to set up a realistic strategy before you start

Measurements and milestones will keep you on track, but treat the process as a tool to guide you and not a weapon you use to beat yourself up. Meanwhile, your rewards should be enough to keep you going, but not better than the ultimate reward, which is the completion of the goal. Whatever your goal, make sure the out-come inspires you enough to last the distance.

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