Posts Tagged ‘targets’

2013 Goals – It’s all in the language

January 14, 2013

Popular targets people set for themselves are around what they want less of in the year ahead …

iStock_000017644187XSmall

  • I want to eat less chocolate
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to be less stressed
  • I want less clutter
  • I want to work less evenings during the week

Have you ever found yourself phrasing your goals in terms of what you are trying to avoid, reduce or give up?

What we say to ourselves about the changes we want to make is crucial in achieving those changes.

When I was doing my coaching training, one thing I learned stuck in my mind … apparently the brain doesn’t process negative language the way we intend it to.

So for  “I want to eat less chocolate”, the brain doesn’t interpret that you want to reduce your chocolate intake, rather it focuses on “I want to eat ___ chocolate”.

Thinking about how I used to set goals it makes sense that this was happening with me on a conscious as well as a subconscious level. Whenever I thought about my goals I found myself reminded about what I was trying to avoid!

So focus on what you want, rather than on what you’re aiming to avoid – even if you start from the latter point, you can always re-word your goals to something more positive and achievable.

For example:

  • I want to eat fruit (or other healthier) snacks between meals
  • I want to be ___ kg (or stone/pounds!)
  • I want to have strategies I can use for stressful situations
  • I want to create a tidy home/work space
  • I want to have 3 evenings a week to spend with family/friends/chilling out

How have you worded your goals this year?

What do you want in 2013?

January 2, 2013

iStock_000022653233XSmall

As you look forward into 2013, allow yourself time to consider what you actually want. 

Give yourself a few days at least to think about what you achieved last year, what worked, what didn’t, and perhaps why … this will help with setting goals that are realistic.

Where to start?

3 possible starting points …

1. What things are important to you?

What do you want to ensure that you keep (or create) in your life?

2. Starting from “OK”

If everything’s OK but you want it to be better, take a more strategic approach and look at the different areas of your life.

For example:

  • family & friends
  • work / career
  • finances
  • personal development
  • relationships
  • environment
  • hobbies and interests
  • health & fitness

Review each area and give it a score out of 10 for how content you are. The lower scoring ones may point you towards areas where you want to create goals for 2013.

3. What are the main issues for you right now?

You may have some areas that are more pressing right now; things that you want to change as a matter of urgency (e.g. new job, saving money, spending more time with a family member)

And don’t forget …

  • Make sure your goals are what you want for yourself, not what someone else wants for you. Likewise, you can’t control others, so don’t set goals that are about someone else changing something, or behaving differently … it will be very difficult to ensure this goal is met! Instead, consider what changes you could make in this area to improve the situation.
  • Dare to dream a little! Someone challenged me to do this with regard to my business goals last year, and some of them came true 9 months early!
  • Send yourself a postcard!

More on goal-setting next week 🙂

How do you start the thinking process when setting yourself goals?

Connecting with the real you

August 1, 2012

When we’re in the thick of it at work we often find ourselves being pulled in different directions, with different demands on our time and energies. We are different things to different people. We rarely have time for ourselves.

So when your holiday comes around, who do you become? What’s your default position? And is this the real you?!

Do you prefer a more relaxing time?

Or something more energetic / adventurous?

Or is it all about quality family time?

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I tend to go for a mixture of all 3! I like my “me time” – where I reflect on the past few months, what I’ve achieved, and where I want to go next (business; health/well-being). I also like to reconnect with what’s important, my values, and ensure that these are being catered for in my plans for moving forward.

I usually combine this with being out and about, going places I’ve never been before, taking photos and soaking it all up. New experiences feed the soul. Love this view we discovered recently of Chatsworth grounds from a ‘secret pond’ we’d never have discovered had we not been walking the dog nearby.

Sometimes you don’t have to go far to discover something new!

Quality time with family and friends is also high on the agenda around this time. I always enjoy my trips to visit family – spread all over the country from the NE to Poole in Dorset. Recent experiences have nailed home that life is short, and we should both embrace it and have no regrets.

I feel that I connect more with the ‘real me’ when I am having a break … I have more space to reflect and plan.

What about you?

De-cluttering tips

April 11, 2012

Easter is another one of those times in the year when people feel the need to set goals / make a fresh start. I’ve recently been having a clothing clear-out, although with the weather extremes lately, it’s difficult to know whether I still need my winter wardrobe!

I know it’s one thing to think about de-cluttering and something else to actually do it. But thinking about what’s going to motivate you to do it is a start.

For me it will be about having the end result in mind – what will the wardrobe (and the recovered space under my bed!) look like when I’ve finished? It could be this for you, or perhaps it’s about other spaces in the house. How do you want the bookcases, the spare room, the garage, the kitchen or your desk to look when you’re done?

Here are some tips I’ve found useful when de-cluttering:

1. Know what you’re aiming for. Create a visual image if this helps, and be realistic.

2. Don’t try to do it all at once. Whilst coaching several people towards de-cluttering their households, small steps have usually worked best. Perhaps go for one room per week.

3. Enjoy the new space you’ve created for a while. Rather than immediately fill up the space you’ve created with new things, think strategically about adding new stuff if that’s what you want to do.

4. Think of productive things to do with the stuff you don’t want. Recycling or charities are a good start, but you may have other ideas. This way, not only will you have cleared your “clutter” but someone else will benefit too!

Are you having any spring cleaning or de-cluttering urges yet?

Do you have a plan or any useful tips you can share?

(Photo credit: nuttakit)

Motivate me! (Part 2)

February 3, 2012

So … how do you know that you’ve done a good job? In Part 1 I posed this question and encouraged you to answer it as fully as possible, and in relation to a particular work-based target. If you’ve not read Part 1, or answered the question yet, I suggest you take a moment to do so now – before you read on!

So how did you answer it? Were your answers along the lines of ‘Style A’ …

  • I just know!
  • I feel it
  • I achieve my targets
  • I achieve what I set out to do
  • I measure my progress against my success criteria

Or were they more like ‘Style B’ …

  • People tell me
  • I get great results / earn more money
  • I get good feedback from colleagues / clients
  • I find out during my performance management / appraisal meetings
  • I can see my team members are happy / succeeding / achieving great results

Or perhaps your answers were a bit of both!

There is no right or wrong here. Your preferred motivation style just is what it is. Take a look at the language you used to answer the question. Did you use more ‘I’ or ‘me’ language, or did you refer to others / external sources of feedback?

Results! ….

Style A = Internal motivation

If you’re internally motivated – you don’t need external praise and will tend to make your own decisions about the quality of your work, rather than asking other people what they think.

Your motivation is self-generated, and you rely on your own judgment when deciding what to do.

You also have a tendency to resist others telling you what to do. As you don’t generally need praise from others – you tend not to give feedback, which can be difficult if you’re a team leader or manager, and your team are more externally motivated (see below).

Style B = External motivation

You rely on recognition / feedback from others and rewards.

You’re more motivated when someone else makes the decision (e.g. on how to move forward with a team project).

You generally make reference to external sources (other people / information from elsewhere) to make the judgment on how well you’re doing.

If you don’t get sufficient feedback you won’t know how well you’re doing, and this will have a negative impact on your motivation levels. Feedback from others can also come from non-verbal / body language sources.

Using these results to motivate your team

These results will help you to identify your own preferred style (for internal/external). The next step is to use the information from both of these posts to identify your team members’ styles.

1. Pay attention to how they respond to feedback and / or how often they come to you / others seeking approval for their actions.

2. If unsure, or you can’t find sufficient evidence, ask them the question I posed in Part 1, or ask who they involve when making a decision. If they mainly refer to others, they will be more externally motivated. If they mainly talk about being able to make the decision on their own, they are more likely to be internally motivated.

3. Motivate ‘internal’ staff with phrases such as:

– “This is the target we’re aiming for. I could make some suggestions to achieve it, but at the end of the day, only you can decide the best way forward.”

– “What do you think are the steps we could take to achieve _______?”

4. Motivate ‘external’ staff with phrases such as:

– “When you complete this project on time, others will notice / you’ll get good feedback.”

– “I would strongly recommend that you (make the changes we discussed at the last staff meeting, by Friday … etc.)”

– “Think of the results you’ll get if you do ______ !”

About 40% of people are largely internally or externally motivated; and 20% are equally both. However, in a particular job sector, you may get a higher percentage of one type, due to the nature of the job.

So how did you fair … and what steps are you going to take regarding motivating your team? In my experience, leaders tend to be more internally motivated. They need to have that internal driver and a strong sense of knowing what they want and how to get there.

Would love to hear your comments on this!

(Picture credit: David Castillo Dominici)

Motivate me! (Part 1)

January 28, 2012

Leaders beware … your staff may appear enthusiastic, driven and motivated, but is it just for show? Do your staff say what they think you want to hear, or are their responses an honest reflection of how motivated they are?

As a leader or manager it’s important to know how to motivate your team. A mistake some leaders can make is to assume, often subconsciously, that their staff will be motivated in the same way they are. After all, they all work for the same organisation and have a common goal, right? … Wrong. Having a common goal doesn’t mean each person’s motivation style will be the same.

In Staying Motivated I briefly introduced some of the different motivational styles, and discussed the towards and away from characteristics in some detail. For this blog (and Part 2) I’ll introduce a different style. But first ….. a question:

How do you know that you’ve done a good job?

It’s best to answer this question when thinking about a specific target you’ve set yourself at work, and how you’ve faired so far in your achievement of it.

Write down all your thoughts when considering your answer. Give as full and detailed an answer as you can.

In Part 2, I’ll discuss the outcomes of this little task, and the style of motivation it corresponds to.

In the meantime, feel free to share your responses to the question, in the comments section below!

(Photo: jscreationzs)

Celebrating achievements

February 28, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 28!!

We work hard, we have expectations of ourselves, we set ourselves targets and goals … but what happens when we achieve them?

Do we celebrate the achievements or ignore them?

Do we share the success with others or keep it to ourselves?

And does our ability to celebrate depend what the achievement is / how big it is?

Today I celebrate the end of my 28 Day Blog Challenge. As my reward, I have booked some time out to walk in Derbyshire. I am also sharing my success in this blog, as well as a blog to come (28 Day Blog Challenge Learnings). Nevertheless, experience has shown me that people I’ve worked with or coached spend less time celebrating success than they do thinking about what’s not gone well. Feelings of disappointment or general satisfaction of personal performance seem to far outweigh the joy of achievement.

Perhaps not everyone needs to feel good about their successes.

But what happens when the achievements are those of members of our team?

As team leaders, do we provide them with a quiet compliment, something more public, or does it go unnoticed? I appreciate that not everyone needs praise or recognition; and there’s not always time during busy working days to compliment colleagues on all their successes. So what’s the right balance?

This year I have been taking part in a business growth program, and the first part of our monthly meetings is sharing our business successes with other members of the group. This has proven to not only get the meetings off to a positive start, but kept us motivated (as well as accountable!)

So how often do you celebrate your achievements?


(Photos: balloons; jump for joy; fireworks)

Coaching for Kids – Part 3

February 18, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 18

In parts 1 and 2 I discussed setting and exploring children’s targets from a coaching perspective. For Part 3 I turn my attention to monitoring those targets, and do so through a case study.

I’m sure, as a teacher, you have established methods for monitoring targets: work scrutiny, observing children, questioning them directly about their targets, and so on.

From a coaching perspective, the monitoring and evaluation of targets needs to be guided by the coach / teacher, but owned by the child. This is about getting them to evaluate their progress through open questions and allowing silences (thinking / reviewing time).

The following case study comes from part of coaching pilot study with a Y4 child.

Background – The child was displaying disruptive behaviour in class and the school behaviour policy was not working for him. As a result, he wasn’t achieving his potential in class. Following initial 1 to 1 discussions about how he viewed his behaviour, and coaching him towards setting his own behaviour target, he same up with the following target:

“For people to want to play with me at break time”

Weekly sessions – We monitored this target by looking at how successful he had been each week with his agreed actions. These initially involved coming up with strategies to improve the likelihood that he would be asked to join in games (usually football), as well as thinking of ways he could ask his peers if he could play with them.

Progress – During one of these sessions he told me that he hadn’t had a good week. As I explored the reasons behind this he came to the conclusion that his peers weren’t playing with him because of his disruptive behaviour in class. He’d been displaying behaviour that he thought would make him popular, when in fact it was having the opposite effect. This level of self-reflection was key to turning a corner for this child.

From our discussion he then decided to come up with some strategies which would result in positive classroom behaviour, with the hope it would make him more popular. He came up with a 10 point list of ideas, and chose 2 each week to work on. As he started seeing success he chose more than 2, and momentum built from the positive results.

This coaching method of monitoring was aimed at encouraging this Y4 child to take ownership of his actions and regularly reflect on the choices he was making. Our later meetings would start with more “self-guided” reflection, involving minimal input from myself. He was monitoring his actions / outcomes, feeding this back to me and deciding on appropriate next steps.

As well as traditional teaching methods for monitoring, feedback from the class teacher in this study suggested that using a coaching approach had played a valuable part in involving the child more interactively with his target.

New Year’s Resolutions are Ineffective …

January 17, 2011

Make sure you achieve your goals this year

So, we’re approaching that time of year when New Year’s resolutions start to get broken….

How are you faring? If you’re going strong, achieving success and are confident of attaining the end result, then you probably have a winning formula, and congratulations! If, on the other hand, things have slipped, doubt is creeping in and certain obstacles have forced their way into your path, you may need a helping hand.

In themselves, I believe New Year’s resolutions are ineffective UNLESS they are supported by well thought-out plans. I remember setting NYRs year after year when I was younger, and each year saying to myself, “this year will be different!”, and “I am determined!” But determination on its own is not enough. In my previous career I often set targets and objectives, and in my coaching training I was given tools and techniques to help clients set effective goals …. all far more effective than merely ‘resolving’ to do something differently. Some people cringe when you mention goal-setting and perhaps it’s an over-used term, but whatever term you choose to use (target, goal, resolution….) when you want to make changes you need a well thought through plan.

I recently posted a question to fellow coaches on different coaching forums, asking what they considered to be their Top 5 tips for Goal-Setting, a little bit of research, you could say! Many engaged in the discussions and their responses were quite varied, ranging from using the SMART process, to ensuring you are being authentic (i.e. linking your goal to your ideal self, based on a strong level of self-awareness).

I will now share with you the top 5 tips from the coaches who took part.

Tip 1 Goals must fit SMART criteria (although see link to this discussed in a separate blog)

Tip 2 Goals must be linked to your values

Tip 3 You need to enlist support: your peers, a coach, a family member ….

Tip 4 You must have a clear vision of what you want (which can be supported by mind maps / images / drawings, etc.)

Tip 5 Reviewing your goal regularly during your journey towards its conclusion is important; learn what (if anything) isn’t working and make adjustments; but remember – there’s no failure, only feedback!

In a previous blog I suggested my own Top 5 tips for setting effective goals / targets. Future blogs this month will address goal setting tips in more detail, but for now I hope the tip outlines are a useful start.

 

Above photo courtesy of jscreationzs

Feeling the urge to ‘Spring Clean’ this month?

September 5, 2010

Photo: Suat Eman

Not quite the right time of year – I hear you say?

Nevertheless, September is one of the 4 main times over a year where we have urges to make a fresh start, de-clutter, spring clean, etc. The others are:

  • New Year
  • April
  • Our birthday

Some believe this is perhaps to do with seasonal changes or conditioning as children around birthdays / school holidays. If, like me, your birthday also falls at one of the other times, you may feel an even bigger pull towards making a new start at that time of year.

Linked to ‘clearing out’ is the need to free up time / space, or replace the old with the new. This can be new systems, not just new possessions. While we’re feeling like a change, this is a good time to set new goals or targets for ourselves.

So what goals are you setting yourself right now?

  • How are you de-cluttering? What criteria are you using?
  • What changes are you making? What impact will they have on others around you?

If you’re setting goals, to help you on your way, here are my 5 top tips to ensure a positive start.

1. Make sure your goal is about what you want, rather than what you don’t want.

For example: I want a clutter-free desk / office (rather than ‘I don’t want to work in this tip!’) You get what you focus on, so focus on something positive!

2. Make sure you understand exactly what your goal means to you.

What will ‘clutter-free’ look and feel like? What will be classed as clutter? What essentials do you still need?

3. What’s your time scale?

Rather than leave it open-ended, which – let’s face it – can result in the “I’ll do it tomorrow” state of mind ….. give yourself a deadline.

E.g. I’ll be working from a clutter-free desk in 4 weeks’ time.

Then break this down into smaller chunks….. What needs to be achieved in 2 weeks, to be on target? What do you need to do in 1 week? etc. What are you going to do to ensure the changes are consistent?

4. List the benefits

To take my example further, what will having a clutter-free desk give you? More space to work? A clearer head to think? More focus and direction? I’ll be able to find things more easily. I’ll be less annoying to be around! …..

5. Staying motivated

You may be motivated by the goal itself (a tidier desk), or by moving away from your current situation (a cluttered desk), or even a bit of both.

If the goal excites you – keep reminding yourself of the benefits of what you’re aiming for, and visualize the end result.

If your motivated more by getting rid of the mess, in this example, think about the consequences of doing nothing. What will it be like in 2 weeks if you’ve not changed anything?

If you’re motivated in both ways, you’ll probably need to use both of the above strategies.

Enjoy your “spring cleaning”, and feel free to share your goals / successes (photos also useful of before and after, if relevant!!)