The Key to Setting Goals (and Achieving Them!)

When setting goals, you need a plan. In this article, we share some practical tips that'll help you achieve your goals in 2022.

Are you looking for practical tips on how to set and achieve your goals in 2022?

Well, you've come to the right place!

The Key to Setting Goals (and Achieving Them!)

2021 was an eventful and busy year here at PCS. We released 2.0, the PCS Academy, and several new resources, webinars, and blogs each month!

For us, the key to achieving our work and personal goals is twofold. First, be sure to set realistic goals and plan action steps that'll help you reach those goals. Next, focus on making consistent progress every day. 

Ask yourself:

  • Did you achieve all the goals you set for yourself last year?
  • Are you relisting some of the same goals you had for last year, this year?
  • Do you feel any closer to achieving those goals?

We all enjoy setting goals, but sometimes lose sight of what it takes to reach them!

Setting Goals is Not a Plan

Every goal you set needs a plan, and that plan needs to be actionable and measurable.

For example, "I'm going to lose 25 lbs this year" is not a plan. It's a goal, a simple end result.

Consider this instead:

"I'm going to step foot in the gym for at least 25 minutes of elliptical work, 3 times a week. I'll also drink at least 80 oz of water a day, and make sure 2 of my lunches each week are a salad." Now that is
a plan!

Let's break it down:

  • Actionable: Something you have to do.
    • Drinking water will help you stay hydrated and flush out toxins.
    • Cardio exercise releases endorphins in the body.
    • Salads are full of fiber and nutrients.
  • Measurable: Something you can track with a simple yes/no answer and it's not subjective to emotion or interpretation.
    • I went to the gym 3x this week? Success!
    • I went to the gym 1x this week? Fail.

Even if the action items don't lead exactly to your goal like the example above, successfully executing them creates positive habits, which will only get you closer to reaching your goal!

It's also important to remember you shouldn't set more goals than you can manage at one time. If you set more goals than you know you can make actionable progress towards, you're setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Remember to start small!

Time Blocking: The Key to Setting and Achieving Your Goals

After you complete goal setting, one of the most powerful time management tools you can use to achieve those goals is to time block.

According to Doist, "Time blocking is a time management method that asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, or group of tasks, and only those specific tasks."

Time blocking helps you break down get what you need to get done throughout the day, the week, the quarter, etc., into manageable chunks.

When you complete each task designated for each block of time, you'll make consistent and measurable progress towards your desired goal(s).

To achieve this, you'll need a daily/weekly calendar!

Digital Options:

I love having a digital calendar because I'm able to update it throughout the week on my desktop, but still have it with me at all times on my phone. The screenshots you'll see in this article are from Google Calendar!

  • Does your email address offer a calendar service? If you don't know, try to Google the name of your email provider and add the word calendar to it. Example: "AOL Calendar".

Physical Options:

For some folks, it's not official unless the pen has touched paper. I understand where you’re coming from—I keep a pad of paper on my desk for to-do lists too!

As you pick a planner, bear in mind that it needs to be something you can keep on you... or at least have close-by!

Taking Action

Your first step is to decide what day and time you'll dedicate to scheduling out your week, such as Monday between 9:00-10:00 A.M.

Don't skip your planning time!

How to Time Block

Consider what you need to get done each day/week. Record tasks in your calendar with a specific amount of time allotted for
each task.

What are your consistent daily/weekly work tasks? For example:

  • When do you need to arrive for the day?
  • When should you complete your pre-open checklist?
  • When do you run cash-deposits to the bank?
  • What time do you close?

Calendar your daily/weekly work tasks

What are work-related items you want to ensure get done this week that might not be part of the normal routine?

  • Do you need to call a vendor this week?
  • Are you hosting a private party during the week?
  • Are there any special cleaning tasks that need to be completed?
  • What days do you post on social media?

Calendar tasks that you  need to get done, but that might not be part of your normal routine

What personal to-do's do you need to take care of?

  • General appointments (Dentist, Doctor, Haircut, etc.)
  • Visiting with family and friends

Calendar your personal to-dos, too!

Whew. Great job!

Looks good, but one tip that will help your productivity even more is to color code your activities. For example:

  • Consistent daily/weekly work tasks = blue
  • Special work tasks = orange
  • Personal events = green

Always COLOR CODE your activities!

Looks so much more organized, right?

If you're going to use a physical planner, this last part could be completed with different color ink. Whatever helps you stick to this process and stay organized.

Putting Process into Practice

Setting your goals and following through with them are two different things.

The reality is, real life is going to be much more chaotic than the nicely-colored checklist I shared above. Unwanted distractions, emergency tasks, and more will certainly pry their way into your schedule, too.

To help you stick to your plan as closely as possible:

  • Don't skip the planning time. Make sure you aim for success by carving out some time each week to plan. It's okay if you don't get to all of it. Just have a plan in place. 

  • Be flexible. Sometimes you'll need to adjust the schedule as the week develops. That is why it is great to use time blocking and have that schedule to adjust in the first place. Update your calendar in real-time as much as possible. 

  • Avoid professional distraction. We're all guilty of checking our phones or answering a call now and then. What I'm talking about is a professional distraction, where we do the tasks we're comfortable with as soon as they come up and delay more important things we're unsure how to do.

    Let's say a social media post results in a great weekend for your facility. You see the front desk is overloaded with customers, so you open up an extra register and run it yourself.

    To avoid this distraction to your plan, you should anticipate that your social media posts will attract more families to your facility. Be prepared by putting an extra employee on staff to open a second register if needed.

    Whether they end up being needed or not, it’s better to be
    over-prepared than to concede time on YOUR calendar you designated for making progress towards your goals.

Get Started!

Set your goals. Create the plan. Use time blocking to schedule it. And, be prepared in advance to handle potential distractions.

Use the tips highlighted in this article, and I have a good feeling setting goals (and achieving them!) will look a whole lot different for you this year!

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