It’s commonly agreed that in order to succeed, you need a plan, but instead of waiting until the goal is reached — or not — you can gain a lot more by keeping a daily log of your action steps, followed by a weekly reflective journal, or what I prefer to call, a personal performance review. Here is an easy two-step process to set yourself up for success.
1. CREATE SMART GOALS.
This is a tried and true method of articulating your goals and making a plan of action. Below, I break this process down using writing a book about your business as an example.
SPECIFIC — Write down your goal in a specific way. For example, rather than saying, I want to write about my business, say “I want to write a book about how I created my business.”
MEASURABLE — Here you give details about how long your book will be in either chapters or pages or both, and your intended deadline.
ACHIEVABLE — This is where you give evidence of your ability to achieve this task. Have you done something similar in the past, or do you have a habit of consistently writing a blog, for instance? Put that down.
REALISTIC — Given all of your other commitments, can you realistically find the time to write this book? Do you realistically have the foundations to write a book? If so, articulate that here.
TIME-BASED — You’ve given yourself a deadline above. Now break the project down into bite-sized lumps over time. Will you write on it for 30 minutes everyday or just two hours on Sunday afternoons or something in between? Based on that, is your deadline a realistic one? If not, adjust as needed.
2. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Next, track your progress by keeping a weekly journal. I developed this method in the university course I taught for seven yeears called “Skills for Success.” Each week, participants reflect on their progress in a journal style entry which I like to call a Personal Performance Review (PPR).
For some, the idea of keeping a journal reminds them of diaries and so they don’t see the immediate value of the exercise. But by changing the name to PPR, you can focus on making sure you are getting value for your efforts.
So, each week you sit down to look back over your week’s accomplishments towards your SMART goal. In your journal, ask yourself these questions: What did I do? How well did I do it? How can I improve going forward?
By doing this, you are reflecting on what you did well, not so well, and then problem-solving so you can do better now. The beauty of this method is that you are checking in with yourself regularly to make sure you’re on track instead of waiting until the end. In fact, students and clients of mine who use this method have greater completion success than those who wait until the project ends. By then, it can be too late to salvage the project. The other thing is that those who don’t regularly check in with themselves often lose their motivation and momentum.
Using this two-step process makes sure you are clear and on-point in all of your projects, and it acts like your own, built-in cheerleader and problem-solver all rolled up into one.
Originally published at medium.com