Achieve your outcomes, not your goals
I once had a goal to own an Aston Martin…
Its was a good goal I thought, make enough money to be able to drive around in a luxury car and feel amazing. I mean who wouldn’t want to have that goal even how ‘unrealistic’ it might seem to a lot of people?
So, how come I haven’t got that Aston Martin and how come other goals and outcomes have come to fruition?
First, lets make a clear distinction between ‘goals’ and ‘outcomes’. I always thought of goals as being the ultimate way of setting yourself up for success. I defined goals early on in my life and they became more and more fine-tuned and specific as time went on. From wanting to be a scratch handicap golfer, tick, to working for myself, yep, I have invariably got what I wanted even if it might have taken slightly longer than anticipated in some cases.
It wasnt until i listened to ‘Time of your life‘ CD by Tony Robbins (highly recommended by the way) that I realised that outcomes were a far better way of defining what I wanted. The term ‘goal’ has become overused and less meaningful and you always get an ‘outcome’ no matter what you do. Outcomes are targets that you will reach and achieving the right outcome takes a plan.
When it comes to outcomes, here is what I do to ensure that I set myself up for success.
These are my overall outcomes that I am trying to achieve and can be from anything to 6 months to 10 years in their timescales. This would be things like:
- Be mortgage free by 45
- Have £xxxk in the bank
- Have a 3 month extended trip around New Zealand
This bit is up to you and can be whatever you want it to be. Want that Aston Martin then this is the place to list this out. Make sure you think of everything in your life from career to money, health & fitness to family and personal life. You might find it easier to create 2 or 3 global outcomes under these categories and any other categories that are relevant to you.
3 Month Outcomes
Here is where we start to think of the steps that I will need to take in the next 3 months in order to make the global outcomes happen.
We are now into specific timescales which is an important part of traditional goal setting and I will review my global goals and then break it down into a 3 month chunk which is easier to aim for and sets me on the way. For example, my global goal is to be mortgage free by the time I am 45 so my question to myself is:
What steps must I take in the next 3 months to achieve my outcome whilst enjoying the process?
I may need to speak to more potential clients, I may need to ramp up my advertising, find your answer to the question. This one question along with the positive caveat of enjoying the process helps to focus my mind and create my 3 month outcomes. Want to know why I am putting in enjoying the process? If you had to slog your guts out being miserable for the next three months to be along the way to achieving a goal, its hardly going to be motivating thinking about it.
I am going to achieve the outcome and I am going to enjoy the process, double win.
This for me is where the juice in this process comes in and this is my weekly planning session on what I am going to achieve in the next 7 days.
Not only do I list the things I will achieve, I also review and list all of the things that i achieved in the last 7 days to feel good about my progress. I do my weekly outcomes first thing on a Monday morning and they really help to set my week up for success. Weekly planning follows on from the 3 month outcomes and with more clarity and detail.
Again it is all based upon a great question:
What do I need to do this week to achieve my 3 month goals?
This is now things like run 3 times this week at a certain pace, get 10 new customers for our product or generate £xxxk for the business. These are specific, time based outcomes that although are challenging to achieve, can all be done in the next week. These are things that by doing this week will significantly improve your chances of reaching your 3 month outcomes and conversely your global outcomes.
Drilling down to the bottom level of what needs to be done to reach the weekly outcomes, these are the daily outcomes.
My day starts with listing all of the things that need doing that day and then thinking about my weekly outcomes to see if there is anything else I might need to do today to make the weekly outcomes more successful. I will still review my global outcomes, 3 month outcomes and weekly outcomes on a daily basis so I understand why I am doing what I am doing. This is important as you don’t want your daily outcomes to be a to-do-list.
My daily outcomes are normally limited to 3 or 4 outcomes that are important and I will also list any other tasks for the day that are not so important just so I can keep track of them. The 3 or 4 outcomes are the ones I will always do and if you are not sure if its a important outcome then ask yourself the following question:
If this was all I achieved today would I be satisfied?
If its a yes then this is an important outcome, if not then it is a nice-to-do item that is completed after your important items on that day.
Worried that this process might take too long? After the initial 2 to 4 hours of brainstorming my global and 3 month outcomes, I spend 15 minutes every morning revisiting all of my outcomes and setting up the plan for the day along with the reasons for why I have to do this. The more reasons you have, the more likely you are to follow through on the harder tasks.
I have always been a keen goal setter/goal getter and when i have reviewed my old goals I normally see that I have achieved 80% to 100% of the outcomes I was looking for. There was nearly always something that was either too far fetched or that became no longer relevant as time went on (the Aston Martin). Over time, what you want out of life changes, you may become less materialistic, maybe even more materialistic or more family orientated etc. Outcomes and goals shift and adapting to this is what makes people successful in what they do. Your outcomes must be reviewed as often as possible and the more you review them the more likely you are to achieve what you want.
I no longer have a goal to own an Aston Martin, I have driven one round a race track and that is good enough for me. The outcomes that are on my global list are what are the most important things for me to do/be/experience over the next year or so and they will happen. Its all part of the plan…