Goals, benchmarks, and quotas, all represent something we are trying to achieve. Most people are not accomplishing the goals they want to achieve, so what’s the deal?

According to an article on Inc.com, over ninety-percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions never accomplish them.  That is a ton of people, not feeling pumped about their results. In fact, a little over forty-percent of people have never succeeded in accomplishing their goals or achieving their resolution.

I have worked in the for-profit and nonprofit world and have seen people and companies set all kinds of goals. Improve client relationships, reach more people, give more money away, or take in more money. Individuals have set goals for spending more time with God, eating healthier, exercising more, making a budget, and so forth. Most of these goals will never be brought to fruition without some extra help.

I want to focus on a few that are the major culprits in many of us not accomplishing our desired goals.

1. Goals are not specific enough.

The more specific and concrete a goal is, the more it inspires us. The most popular goal people want to achieve is to lose weight. However, the goal to lose weight is not specific.

The goal needs to be so specific that it fits in the formula x to y by time or specific frequency. So the goal of losing twenty-five pounds by Christmas, now that has something to hang your hat on. Alternatively, instead of saying, “I need to work out,” the goal should be “I’ll workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from six to seven in the morning.”

2. Goals are not staying in the forefront of your mind.

Initially, we are pretty excited about our goals, and they stay at the forefront of our minds for a short period of time. However, after a while, our goal(s) get lost in the whirlwind of our lives unless we have a way of keeping them front and center.

3. Goals are not given the needed time and resources to be accomplished.

In the pursuit of improving, we can try to take on too many goals at once. When we do this, we end up not being able to give the time and attention necessary to each goal. One of the most eye-opening realities of having too many goals came from the book 4 Disciplines of Execution.

If a team focuses on two or even three goals beyond the demands of their whirlwind, they can often accomplish them. However, if they set four to ten goals, our experience has been that they will achieve only one or two. They’ll be going backward! If they go after eleven to twenty goals in addition to the whirlwind, they will lose all focus.

Simply stated, there is a diminishing return when we add too many goals.

While there are other reasons you may not reach your goals, these are the three big ones. Now, it is time to take your goals by the horns and fix the problem with these solutions:

1. Make sure your goals are specific.

Go back through the goals you set and make sure they tell you what you want to do and include by when or how often. Remember, going on a date night with my wife or spending time with my kids is not specific, but a date night with my wife every other Friday at seven in the evening is.

2. Enlist accountability.

The first step to accountability is to keep yourself accountable by reviewing your goals weekly. I encourage you to make this a part of your weekly review. For businesses, your most important goal or two show be very clear to your team members and reinforced consistently and constantly.

You can take it a step further by enlisting someone to ask you whether you are keeping in tune with your goals. One of my clients has his team ask one another over a dozen questions weekly, and they keep track on a spreadsheet of their progress as pictured below.

3. Choose fewer goals so that you can accomplish more.

I know this may seem backward, but if you try to accomplish too much, you may end up accomplishing none of them. So go through your goals and choose the most important two or three goals that you want to accomplish. You will go further faster if you have fewer goals.

Keep in mind that there are some goals that enable you to accomplish others. For instance, if you have a goal to workout and have quiet time early in the morning, but struggle getting up early enough, simply accomplishing the goal of waking up earlier will help you accomplish the other two.

4. Decide on trade-offs.

If you add something to your life, you have to take away something else.

It is not as easy as it seems to simply add a goal to your life without subtracting something else to make room. For instance, if you love to binge watch Netflix shows late into the night, but also have a desire to wake up early in the morning, something will have to give.

As one person has said, sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more. Yes, you may love binge-watching Netflix, but you love waking up earlier more so you can work out, write a book, read a book, or have quiet time.

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything. Decide what are the necessary trade-offs and make time for what you desire.

If you follow these four-step process to accomplish your goals, you will accomplish more of what you set out to do.

I would love to ways that have helped you accomplish your goals or what has proved challenging.

Like most people, you want to make sure you are choosing the right path when making big decisions. The bigger the decision the more that is involved. This can cause fear as you do not want to cause damage by making the wrong decision.

Throughout life, you will have to make quite a few big decisions; where to go to college, whom to marry, and even whether or not to accept that job offer in another city.

Most recently, my wife and I have wrestled with her not working full-time so she could devote more of her time to our children. Many people have wrestled with this decision before, and I think this is a decision the couple has to make.  For us, I knew that was Christa’s dream to be a stay at home mom.

With this desire came many other questions. When is the right time? How will this affect the future? How will this change our finances? When, if ever, will we pull the trigger?

Craig Groeschel once said, “The decisions we make today, determine the stories we tell tomorrow.”

I wonder if we could rephrase it as, “the big decisions we make today determine the big stories that we tell tomorrow.”

[bctt tweet=”The decisions we make today determine the stories we tell tomorrow. Craig Groeschel” username=”justinsetzer”]

With all the thoughts, questions, doubts, and concerns that can come with making big decisions, there are things that can help make the process less overwhelming.

1. Information.

  • Adequate information

Growing up my pastor told me you needed two things when making a decision; adequate information was one of them.

When making a decision, you need to consider the different types of cost involved: opportunity cost, monetary cost, time cost, and consequential cost.

  • Accurate information

The other thing my pastor growing up told that I needed when making a decision was accurate information. It goes without saying that we have a plethora of information in this day and age, but not all of it is truly accurate.

Do your needed due diligence before making a big decision and make sure that the information you have is correct.

2. Clarity.

You need to be clear on what you want in life, especially if you want to make big decision-making more fruitful. If you are looking for something to help you have better clarity in your life, I encourage you to create a life plan.

The questions to ask is what decision will lead me to my desired outcome.

3. Wisdom.

As a person of faith, I always want to try to have God’s wisdom when I making a large decision. Take a look at what Jesus’s brother James said, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” This is my starting point when it comes to wisdom.”

You should also seek wisdom from your spouse, family, trusted counselors, mentors, and books.

From our life plan, Christa and I knew that one of our desired outcomes was for her to be able to devote her time to our children.

I would love to know what other ways you use to you make big decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people give up goal setting because they don’t achieve the results they set out to.

I am a big proponent of setting goals for your personal and professional life. One of the processes I take my coaching clients through includes making a plan for their life, business, and time.

The goal of these plans is to help them dig in and get from where they currently are to where they always wanted to be. One of the greatest benefits of taking this avenue is that it gives a person great clarity on what they want. Then they simply set goals to get them to their desired future.

By the time these plans are tweaked there can be more than a dozen goals. While the clarity is increased tremendously, many people still don’t hit their goals. One of the main reasons they don’t hit their goals can be summed up in one word; focus.

We set ourselves up for failure when we front-load our goal setting. It is harder to focus on multiple goals at one time, because if you aim at everything, you may hit nothing. Here are a few ways to help you get focused on your goals.

[bctt tweet=”If you aim at everything, you may hit nothing. ” username=”justinsetzer”]

1. Decide what your three most important goals are. 

Instead of having dozens of personal and professional goals, decide what are your most important three are from your life and business.  Now you may think that you won’t have the impact necessary if you set fewer goals. While that can be true if you set goals that have an impact on multiple areas you can still go far.

2. Keep your goals in your face.

If you just write the goals down today and never at them again, it’s unlikely that you will hit them. At a minimum, I encourage people to read their life plan weekly. Better yet, create some kind of visual scoreboard, that will serve as a constant reminder of your progress.

3. Give your goals some time

I am not referring to waiting some time before deciding, but that there should be a time in your schedule to accomplish your goals. One of the most consistent ways to improve it to create a weekly rhythm. In a weekly rhythm, you make time for what is most important.

The reality is that all of your time will not be able to be spent chasing some new goal, there is most likely too much demand on your life for that to be realistic. You may be able to give up to twenty percent of your time to a new initiative.

Once you shrink the number of goals, create a way to keep them in your face, and give the goals the necessary time to accomplish, you will be well on your way to giving the proper focus to reach your preferred future.

 

 

While planning may not be the most exciting thing, it can bring amazing results.

Recently, I have asked a few leaders if they have planned for the first quarter of next year. So far, all of them have not been able to step away to do so. Just like us, their lives are incredibly busy.

Like you, these leaders want to thrive in the New Year. However, a plan helps us bridge the gap between where we are, to where we want to be. It lays out the necessary steps to reach our desired goals.

At the time of this writing, we are approaching the New Year, and there are unlimited possibilities. This can be the year that you chase your dreams, but you need to know how to get there. There are three plans that if you have and follow will help you succeed in the New Year. I was introduced to all these plans when I used the coaching services of Building Champions.

1. Life Plan:

I learned about life planning, and the rest of the plans, years ago and the results I have experienced have been amazing. I call a life plan a personal life blueprint because that is exactly what it is. It is a blueprint for the life you desire to live.

In a life plan, you decide what your most important priorities are. You then decide how you want that key area of your life to look like if it was exactly the way you want. Then you create a plan to get you from where you are, to where you want to be. I wrote a more detailed post here.

2. Business plan:

You don’t have to own a business in order to create a business plan. If you are leading a team, department, or want to start a business, then creating a business plan is for you.

In a business plan, you decide what you want to accomplish over the next year. Once you have your year goals in mind, you can then create a plan for each quarter that will help you reach your desired outcomes for the year. I wrote more about creating a business plan here.

3. Time plan:

I am not sure of a bigger productivity hack than to maximize your most valuable asset through creating a blueprint for your time. Time has a way of getting away from us because we have not laid out a concise plan for how you want to spend it.

In a time plan, you decide ahead of time how you will spend your week. Although this will not always work out perfectly, it will get you much closer than if you just winged it.

The time plan is set up to help you accomplish your predetermined goals in your life and business plan. I wrote more about this here.

These three plans have had a huge impact on my life and have become part of the framework I use to coach others. This next month, quarter or year can be amazing, but you need to decide what amazing looks like.

Take some time and create a plan for your life, business, and time; you will be glad you did.

Coaching is something that has helped me with leadership development. In fact, I think it’s something that professionals can’t afford not to have.

There I was stuck. Have you been there? Knowing that you have potential, but don’t understand why you can’t get past where you are. Like me, you have reached out for help only to come up empty.

I was there, but I didn’t plan on staying there, and I don’t think you do either. Instead of hoping something would change, I started investing my money in coaching. Honestly, I didn’t know the results I would achieve, but I knew there needed to be a change. Do you know what happened? A life change happened.

Coaching is becoming a huge industry, and I believe it’s because it works. You can go further faster with someone in your corner.

Coaching is one of the best investments I have made in my life, and I would encourage you to do the same. If you need more convincing here are some more benefits of coaching.

1. Clear Direction.
A coach will typically ask what results you are looking for and help you create a plan to achieve those results. The coach will not make the plan for you, but they will help you discover how to get from where you are to your desired future.

2. Perspective.
A coach is able to offer a different perspective than your own. The reality is that you have some blind spots, so they can help you see what would otherwise not be apparent to you.

3. Increased Productivity.
According to research done by ICF, seventy percent of coaching clients had a boost to their work performance. That same article showed that more than half of those coached improved their time management skills as well.

4. Work/Life Balance.
Coaches can tell when you are off-kilter in your work/life balance. This alone is worth the investment.

A good coach will encourage you to not only grow in your professional skills but give your best to your faith, family, and health.

I have been on both sides of the coaching relationship, being the one coached, and now coaching others. It is something I believe in wholeheartedly.

If you are in a season where you are trying to improve personally and professionally, I challenge you to invest in a coach.

Do you ever get the feeling you need to start or stop doing something? I believe we all have experienced this.

I recently met with a key leader. During our bi-weekly meeting, we discussed our normal three evaluation questions:

  1.  What has been your biggest win(s)?
  2.  What has been your biggest obstacle(s)?
  3.  What hot topics do we need to discuss?

During this talk, the conversation shifted. We discussed the effectiveness of the different areas he led. The shift went from simply talking to evaluating an area.

This was when I introduced him to three words that would help him in his evaluation process. In fact, these three words can help you improve not only at work but at home as well.

1. Keep. What do I/we need to keep doing?

These are the areas of your life or business you need to keep doing. These areas are important to your future success.

For your business, this may include staff meetings, one-on-one’s, dynamic customer experience, etc.

For your personal life, this may include personal devotional time, exercising, consistent date nights, etc.

2. Start. What do I/we need to start doing?

There may be things you or your team are not doing but should be doing. These are the new things that will energize you/your team to reach your desired outcomes.

For instance, if you want to have a culture of leadership development at your organization, but there is no defined plan to make that a reality, that would be something that needs to start.

The things you start should help connect where you are today to where you want to go.

3. Stop. What do I/we need to stop doing?

This can be the hardest, but most important, question to ask. Are there negative habits you or members of your organization must stop doing?

For your personal life, this may include activities that negate your most important relationships. You may have gotten into a habit of bringing your work home with you, and it has affected your family life. That may need to stop.

For your business, this could include you stop allowing employees to bypass their department heads, and go straight to the top when they have questions or concerns.

The keep/start/stop process has effectively been used by countless individuals and organizations. The process was designed to be used for feedback and is, therefore, very effective when used with a team, whether that is your family, department, or volunteer team.

I would love to hear from you, “What is something you need to keep, start, or stop doing.” Leave a comment below and begin the conversation.

I think we can learn from short distance runners that a good start is important. Every day we all start off in the blocks, some get ahead, while others lag behind.

The way you begin your day can have a huge impact on how the rest of it plays out. In light of this, it is imperative that we choose the right activities to begin the day with. Equally important is to stay away from those things that distract you from what’s truly important.

When it comes to waking up, I typically get up later than I desire. This resulted in me not accomplishing my desired results in the morning and left me feeling as if I was behind. I would then spend the rest of the day playing catch up. I am sure this has never happened to you.

This all changed after one of my personal quarterly reviews. As I was reflecting on my life, I realized that in order to get the desired results I wanted, I had to get more accomplished before I began work.

1. Devotional time with God. Since my relationship with God is important to me, my goal is to start off each day by spending time with Him. If you need help with your devotional time you can read this post.

More than any other activity, my quiet time gives me the right focus for the day. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

2. Connect with your family. When you have school age children, the mornings can seem rushed. Instead of rushing to get out the door in the morning, wake up a little earlier, and incorporate a 5-10 minute healthy breakfast with your family.

Having breakfast together is a great way to connect with your family. This may not be possible in all seasons, but it is a good goal to aim for.

3. Exercise. “Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better,” says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief science officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego. This may not be the best time for everyone, but for many, it will be. If you don’t exercise in the morning, the chance of other activities and responsibilities crowding it out is higher.

It has been shown that exercising in the morning can give you hours of increased focus and energy. Enlist the help of a workout partner if you need extra accountability.

4. Plan out your day. Begin the day being proactive, and choose ahead of time what you want to accomplish. You may want to ask yourself what are the three most important things you need to accomplish in that day. If you don’t prioritize your schedule, someone else will place their priorities in it.

My days are themed ahead of time as a part of my weekly rhythm. I have my days systematically planned ahead of time. You can learn more about how to create a weekly rhythm here.

My life has changed since I started beginning my day on the right foot. I have more energy, focus, and feel better connected in the relationships that matter most.

You will either start the day proactive, or you will go through the day being reactive. While we can’t control everything that happens in the day, we can give ourselves a better opportunity for success by being intentional how we begin the day.

Be on the outlook for an upcoming post about how to become a morning person.

Which activity will you add to your morning routine to get the most out of your day?

How to Create a Weekly Rhythm

As leaders, we have aspirations to be incredibly productive every week. We come to work determined to get ahead and take care of what is most important. By the end of the week, many of us are left wondering why we didn’t get the results we were hoping for. So what is the secret to a successful week?

A few years back I struggled to stay on top of things, which kept me from getting ahead. I remember taking a self-evaluation test where I was asked to rate myself on how organized I was on a scale of 1–10. I gave myself a raving 3, only because I felt confident—confident my organizational skills needed a little attention.

This evaluation was given to me by Building Champions, whom I had hired for personal executive coaching. This was one of the best investments of my life. In the beginning stages, they had me create a life plan, which I have since renamed as my personal life blueprint. If you don’t have a personal life blueprint, I would encourage you to complete one of those first.

Once I became clear on what I wanted in my life, it was time to make it happen by scheduling it. Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them. If you really want to know how you spend your time, you can do a write-down for three days, listing how you spend every half hour. Yes, this is a grueling, yet eye-opening exercise. Building Champions has a time-blocking document you can use here.

[bctt tweet=”Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them.” username=”justinsetzer”]

Now it is time to create your desired time block, which I have renamed ‘desired weekly rhythm’. The weekly rhythm shows how you would spend your time if you could control it. While there are many unforeseen circumstances that can come up in a week, many weeks are normal.

The rhythm is broken up into thirty-minute segments, showing how you would spend your time in an ideal week. There are a few keys to creating a weekly rhythm that will help you get the most out of your week:

1. Plan your day’s theme.

The focus is important and having your day’s theme can be a huge boost to productivity. Instead of jumping from one unrelated task to another, you can get into the groove of working on one aspect of your job. You will notice that I have my theme listed at the top of the spreadsheet. The theme is my primary focus of the day.

2. Schedule your personal priorities.
• Them time: This is the time you have scheduled for your relationships. This should include time for dates with your spouse, time with your children, and friends.
• Renew time: These are the activities that renew you and keep you at peak performance. These could include your time with God, exercise, reading, outdoor activities, etc.

3. Schedule your high payoff activities.

These are the activities that Stephen Covey would place in quadrant II, as described in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These activities will differ from person to person. High payoff activities may include vision casting, coaching your team, recruiting, managing sales relationships, top-level meetings, appointment setting, lead generation, etc.

4. Schedule the heavy lifting early in the week. 

If you don’t knock out the tougher aspects of your job early in the week, you will likely procrastinate with those tasks. If you are like me, it is better to get the hard projects done first.

5. Schedule time to work in the business and on the business.

• In-time is when you are working in the day-to-day operation of your organization when you are in the thick of things.
• On-time is when you walk away from working in the business to working on the business. This may include strategic planning, brainstorming, or working on a new initiative or product. In some settings, it can be easier to focus on working on the business at the end of the week when the other work is completed.

This process may take a few times to get down, but the return on investment is amazing. I have been able to free up an entire day of work per week for on-time.

More importantly, my family and priorities are not being neglected. It is an incredible feeling to know that you are spending time on the things that matter most, and still being productive in your organization.

If you are looking for further help. creating a weekly blueprint for your life is one of the steps I take my coaching clients through, Do yourself a favor and schedule a few hours to make a weekly rhythm. You can download a template here.

How would following a weekly rhythm be beneficial for you?

Six Steps to having a Personal Quarterly Review

Logic tells us that that harder and longer we work, the more we will get done. However, this is not always the case.

Just last week I was sitting in front of this same computer, evaluating how my life was going. Deep, right? That reflective time away was directly responsible for one of the most productive weeks I have had in a very long time. That time away is what some call a quarterly review or personal quarterly off-site.

The quarterly review is a time when you will get a higher overlook of your ninety days, and prayerfully decide your direction for the next ninety. I was introduced to this process from Building Champions and Michael Hyatt, and credit them for the information in this post.

One key to an effective quarterly review is to do it somewhere where you can reflect and think, and give yourself adequate time. So, to do this effectively you should take a half-day or full day off work and get away from everyone. I typically do my reviews at a library; other options include the park, coffee shop, bookstore, campground, or a hotel.

Here are six proven elements of an effective quarterly review.

1. Prayer. We begin with prayer because we want to make sure our will is aligned with His. You may ask Him for direction as you begin the review, or pray through some challenges you are going through. This sets the tone for the review.

2. Review and revamp the blueprint for your life plan. I wrote about creating a personal life blueprint here. A lot can change in three months, especially with the ‘where you are at’ and ‘what you need to do’ sections of your blueprint.

Change any area that needs updating and the corresponding goal. During big changes of life, you may have to revamp much of the blueprint.

3. Set new goals. This is a good time to set new objectives for yourself personally and professionally. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What are three things I want to accomplish in my personal life in the next 90 days?
  • What are three things I want to accomplish professionally in the next 90 days?
  • Is there something in my life that is taking a considerable amount of my time that I need to stop doing?
  • Is there something I need to start doing?

4. Modify your weekly desired rhythm. As life changes, so do your blueprint and goals. After revamping your plan and setting new goals, you must find a place in your schedule to accomplish them. You may have to cut less important things out of your schedule to make your new goals a reality. If you haven’t designed your weekly schedule yet, read this post.

5. Knock out a project. If you are able to take a full day off, work on a project that you don’t normally have time for. This will help you start the new quarter with renewed motivation, and help you feel better for having the day off.

6. End with prayer. I know we have already prayed, but I think it’s good to make sure you didn’t speed through an area and miss God’s heartbeat. During this prayer ask God if there is anything on the plan that He wants you to change. As you finish the quarterly review, thank Him for His grace and love.

Once the quarterly review is over, you need to let key people in your life know about the changes, namely those who they will affect. People such as your spouse, mentor, and assistant need to know the direction in which you are heading. Letting these people know what you are doing and why will make it easier, and help you avoid unnecessary trouble later.

My last quarterly review has already paid off. I am laser focused for the next quarter and have a renewed passion in all areas of life.

The quarterly review is one of the pieces we take some of our coaching clients through. If you are looking to invest further in your personal and professional life, this could be a great next step.

When are you going to do your personal quarterly review?

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