One of the great things about mid-month Friday is the 8:59 Mindshare Breakfast at Login Lounge. It’s a great way to start the day, exchanging ideas with fellow business folks over a great coffee and a tasty brioche. This month the conversation turned to the topic of goals. There have been many, many, many books on the topic, and I suspect anyone who has been in the world of work for more than a year or two has heard about ‘SMART’ goals.

I collected the table’s thoughts, and a few of my own, to come up with the ABC^2 of goals – That’s “ABC Squared” – thanks to Richard Maybury for the snappy title. The first ABC for great goals is to make them:

  • Achievable – set goals that you can believe in achieving, they need to be within reach.
  • Break them down – into clear steps, not just so that you have a clear path towards them, but also so that you can chart your progress with milestones towards the goal.
  • Celebrate them – if a goal is worth achieving, it is worth celebrating that achievement.

If you aren’t achieving your goals, try setting a small, simple achievable goal, then celebrate hitting it. It starts the productivity flywheel and makes increasingly bigger goals achievable.

There is a second ABC that will keep you on track with your goals:

Accountability – Have someone hold you accountable for meeting the goal. If you are setting goals with other people, that accountability is even more important. The accountability should be a support, rather than a punishment; check-ins to help you notice that you’ve gone off-track.

Big goals – it might seem counterintuitive, but bigger goals are achieved more often. Small goals mean small gains, and while there is a time and a place for that, thinking big is not just for the 80’s, it is a way to keep motivated and make a noticeable difference.

Commit time – put time in the diary, once a week, once a month, or maybe even once a day, dedicated to working toward the goal. Even if it is refining the goal, researching it, gathering resources… Something that regularly moves it forward.

I hope that helps you with goal setting in the weeks and months ahead. It is great to spend time with other businesses, being part of a community, learning together and taking time to reflect. I have my 4 minute talk on ‘Asking Great Questions.’ to write up as well, so follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or check back here, to read that soon.

Coffee and Croissants – with thanks to Dominique Stillman