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Webucator's Free Goal Setting and Time Management Tutorial

Lesson: Sustaining Goal Setting for Success

Welcome to our free Goal Setting and Time Management tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Goal Setting and Time Management Training course.

In this lesson, you will learn some key strategies and concepts to help you accomplish your goals.

Should you be persistent or flexible for successful goal setting or should you be both? This decision depends to a large extent on your commitment to your goal, the progress you make and your mental makeup.

Understanding what persistence and flexibility really mean and when you should adopt one or both approaches will help shape your mind-set and allow you to make smart decisions.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn how to distinguish between persistence and flexibility.
  • Learn how to celebrate small wins.
  • Learn how to grow where you are planted.

Persistence

Persistence very simply means to not give up in the face of difficulty, challenges, and setbacks. In your goal setting journey, you will encounter those days where it is tempting to give up. You may feel:

  1. Like you are running out of steam.
  2. Your motivation level is low.
  3. That you are not making the progress you were expecting.

This is when you need to be persistent and remember that persistence requires patience. Seldom have people succeeded without showing patience and persistence in the face of difficulty.

Don't Give up at the First Sign of Difficulty

How do you persist when it gets tough? When pursuing anything worthwhile, you will eventually face challenges. Otherwise, you are selling yourself short by pursuing a goal that is too easy. Here are some steps to take:

  1. Accept the fact that you will face hurdles along your journey.
  2. Keep pushing forward.
  3. Understand that people whom you consider successful have been through the inevitable challenges. They are successful today because they did not let rejection or failure stop them from pursuing their goal.
  4. Develop the mind-set that challenges you face will make you stronger, more confident, and successful if you meet them head on. For example, if your goal is to build and sell a product you deeply care about, as long as you believe in the product and its market potential, getting rejected a couple of times should not shake your determination.

Be Persistent in Taking Small Steps

Often the sheer size of your goal and the time it will take you to accomplish it can throw you off track and make you impatient. The key is to take small incremental steps toward it. Then before you realize it, you will be much closer to your goal.

Focus on the present. Speculating on what may or may not happen in the future is a waste of time. It serves no purpose. What matters is taking action as well as small steps toward your goal right now.

For example, if your goal is to get certified in a particular area of expertise by taking a three-part exam, make a plan toward that goal and begin with the first step in your plan.

  1. Do not jump ahead. Focus on each part of the exam until you have passed it, then go on to the next.
  2. The solution is really simple: Each time your mind wanders toward what you need to do next, recognize it and gradually bring your thoughts back to what you need to do right now.

Recover and Recuperate

Goal-setting journeys are much like life. You can do your best, but there are twists and turns that can throw you off. At times like this, consider taking some time off whether it be a short or long break. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Take a long vacation.
  2. Take a day or two off.
  3. Take an afternoon off.
  4. Spend time with friends or family.
  5. Go to a movie.
  6. Go for a walk.

Recovering and recuperating will allow you to refocus your attention on your goal. Be cognizant of when you risk burning out and listen to what your body and mind are telling you.

Flexibility

Let's consider the following scenario: In pursuit of your goal, you have failed repeatedly. Despite persistence and patience, the results indicate that you will not be able to achieve your goal in the time frame and with the resources you have.

This is the type of situation where flexibility comes in. Smart decisions need to be made. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can I use a different approach and still achieve my goal?
  2. What is my vision?
  3. Do I need to adjust my current goal so that it will better align with my vision?

Failure Is Learning

Learn to embrace failure in your goal-setting journey. Failures are your best teachers. There is no quicker and more permanent way to learn than to try something and fail. Consider the following:

  1. No book, course, or trainer will teach you more than what you can learn by failing at something. Besides knowing what to do different next time, you also gain a better understanding of yourself and know what areas to improve on.
  2. James Joyce elegantly said that "Mistakes are the portals of discovery." The difference between successful people and others is that successful people accept failure, learn from it, and use it for their next success.
  3. Develop the mind-set that failures during the pursuit of your goals are inevitable. Do not let the fear of failure or failures stop you from taking action toward your goals.
  4. For many of the tech startups in the last couple years, the new mantra is to "fail faster." Their approach is to build a product, albeit not perfect, and take it to customers to get their buy-in right away.

The idea is to fail earlier with lower costs invested rather than later, and use lessons from failure to build the next iteration of the product.

Changing Your Approach

When you repeatedly fail in pursuit of a goal, ask yourself if there is another way or approach you should be using. Take a step back and assess what you are doing to achieve your goal and what specifically you need to change:

  1. Consider if your goal is still achievable. It is sometimes appropriate to change your goal and put your time and energy toward a different goal that still aligns with your vision. If Bill Gates and Paul Allen had not given up on Traf-O-Data (their first and lesser known start-up), they may never have started Microsoft.
  2. Develop a flexible mind-set. If things are not going your way, try different approaches that will help you meet your goal. If you have exhausted all your resources, and it makes more sense to devote your energy on a new pursuit, then switch tracks.
  3. Consider a new strategy. If you are not making progress, perhaps an assessment of your strategy is in order. If your goal is to find your dream job, but you are not getting calls from prospective employers or not succeeding in interviews, a change in strategy may be to obtain more information about your prospective employers through informational sessions. Or maybe your resume needs a tune-up.

Persistence versus Flexibility

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, you will answer the following questions about persistence and flexibility.

  1. Which of the following are ideal behaviors to sustain through goal setting?
    1. Give up when you face the first roadblock in your goal-setting journey.
    2. Keep persisting as long as you believe in your goal.
    3. Change your approach when one approach does not work.
    4. When you fail you look for the lessons you can learn from it.
  2. What are some things you can do if you repeatedly fail in the achievement of a goal?
    1. Review the goal to see if it is still achievable.
    2. Abandon the goal and do something else.
    3. Try a different approach to achieving the goal.
    4. Recognize that you are a failure.

Solution:

  1. B, C, and D.
  2. A and C.

Celebrating Small Wins

In the course of goal setting, every small step successfully completed is a step toward a milestone for the goal. Every milestone reached is an important step toward the goal. Every failure successfully overcome is a victory in itself.

However, many people focus and dwell on all the work still needed toward the final goal. While looking ahead is important, celebrating small wins has much more potential to help you. Here's why:

A positive mind-set Celebrating small wins can be as simple as commending yourself for successfully completing a small step. We are often our own worst critic. We are very quick to point out how we got up late, did not finish a job on time, or did not achieve what we set out to do. This kind of self-talk breeds a negative, critical mind-set.
Motivation to continue In long-term goals especially, it is necessary to feel motivated throughout the journey. Celebrating small successes along the way is an easy way to get that motivation. Be cognizant of every small accomplishment you have and use it to remind yourself how far you have already come. Use small wins and the thrill you get from them as reasons to continue on the journey.
Support and encouragement from others Celebrating small wins also involves sharing the news with family, friends, and your supporters. The more you recognize and share your smaller achievements the more encouragement and support you will receive from others. This can help you sustain through the inevitable challenges you will face in your journey.
Focus on the present Celebrating small wins helps you to stay focused on the present.

Celebrate Small Wins

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, you will answer the following questions about celebrating small wins.

  1. What can you gain by celebrating small wins?
    1. It will keep you motivated along your goal-setting journey.
    2. It will help you look for the positives rather than focus on the daunting tasks ahead.
    3. It can make you complacent.
    4. By sharing with others, you can get external support and encouragement for your goals.
  2. What can happen if you focus on the end result and not on celebrating the small wins?
    1. You can become overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done.
    2. Nothing. It is important to focus on the end result and not get mired down in the details of the steps.
    3. Focusing on the final goal will keep you on track.
    4. It will become easy to quit if the end result seems to be too far away or difficult.

Solution:

  1. A, B, and D.
  2. A. and C.

Grow Where You Are Planted

Often we operate much below what our true potential is because we do not aspire to do something out of the norm. And if we do, we let obstacles stop us and we give up on our dreams.

Goal setting helps you get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to circumstances, challenges, and emotions that you would not otherwise experience. We all have it in us to sustain through obstacles and keep moving forward.

We don't have to be somewhere else, in someone else's shoes with a different set of circumstances. We can be exactly where we are and continuously grow by following some basic guidelines.

Believe in Yourself

Keep the following in mind:

  1. Start believing in your ability to succeed in your goals.
  2. No matter what the external circumstances are, your self-belief that you can push through and accomplish your goal will be crucial for sustaining through the goal-setting journey.
  3. Keep envisioning that you can accomplish your goals.
  4. The small sub goals you successfully complete along the way will help you believe in yourself.

Make Goal Setting a Habit

No successful person has reached where he or she is today without setting goals. As you have learned in this course, goal setting will help you grow and lead a more fulfilled life.

Here are some tips to help you make goal setting a regular habit:

  1. Remember that, wherever you are in your life currently, you don't have to stay there.
  2. Know that you can grow from where you are planted.
  3. Acknowledge that the only person holding you back is you.
  4. Use goal setting as a tool to leave your comfort zone and pursue goals.
  5. If you fail, try again. If one approach does not work, try another.
  6. Don't give up on yourself.

Grow Where You Are Planted

Duration: 5 to 10 minutes.

In this exercise, consider the idea of growing where you are planted when it comes to goal setting and respond to the following question.

  1. What does it mean to grow where you are planted in terms of setting your goals?
    1. You will never accomplish anything other than what is in front of you.
    2. You can expand your horizons and grow by setting achievable, yet challenging goals.
    3. Your future is already mapped out. Goals will not change it.
    4. Setting goals will help motivate you to improve your circumstances.
  2. What are some strategies you can implement if you are not successful in achieving your goals?
    1. Set fewer goals.
    2. Set goals that are not quite as challenging.
    3. Try again. If one approach does not work, try another approach.
    4. Acknowledge that you are the only one holding you back.

Solution:

  1. B. and D. above.
  2. C. and D. above.