I have found reading different experts’ opinions on how to achieve goals to be extremely helpful in not only my writing steno as a court reporter, but in running my business. The San Diego Union Tribune published one of the best articles I have ever read under their “SUCCESS” column, “Getting to the Goal,” by Marcel Schwantes.
Schwantes cites research performed at the University of Scranton which found that 92 percent of people who set New Year’s goals never achieve them. Not achieving goals that you mindfully made and set out to achieve, only to fail, is disheartening. The question is, what do the 8 percent of people who do achieve their goals do differently?
Schwantes’ 7 Tips:
1. Begin with the end in mind. Write out your goal and then create a roadmap on how to achieve the goal including the sub-goals you need to achieve and the resources that will get you there.
2. Build a support system around you. Build a network of experts who care about your success in reaching your goals, including friends and colleagues. Super successful people surround themselves with mentors, coaches, and other successful people in different industries that are like-minded and have a similar desire for greatness.
3. Set specific and challenging goals. Researchers Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found that when people set specific and challenging goals, it led to higher performance. For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, maybe in September you will go on a sugar-free diet for 10 days and in October train to run a 10-K in November. With clarity, you have a better chance of success.
4. Recognize when you are procrastinating. Schwantes suggests: A) Have clearly prioritized to-do lists, schedules, and time frames. B) Work back from your deadlines to know how long you need and when to get started so you don’t finish late. C) Focus on one task at a time.
5. Practice the 52 and 17 Rule. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, co-authors of “Peak Performers,” found that adopting the rule of 52 minutes of work and 17 minutes of rest creates an environment for peak performance.
6. Listen to music for focus. I love this one, and I believe it is absolutely true. Schwantes suggests the key is to experiment first and find suitable music that helps you focus. Coffitivity is an app that provides background noise that emulates the ambient sounds of a café. I think we all have found music to be a great way to keep our energy up.
7. Don’t multitask. Schwantes says, “The most successful people are patient and avoid juggling many things.” Research has shown that multitasking can be DAMAGING to your brain.
My goal is to choose one of the goals that I truly want to achieve and mindfully apply these seven steps. I am excited to start, because I believe I will WIN at the end, and I wish for all of my friends and colleagues to WIN as well. Let’s go for it!