As it’s the beginning of the year and most of us are making (or planning to make) big changes in our lives, whether personal or business related, we really need to get the basics right for successful implementation to ensure 2017 is the best year yet!

So, how can we stick to our promises? How can we truly commit and follow through a goal that we have set for ourselves? Whether it’s to lose weight, practice yoga more often, have more date nights with hubby, get more clients, be more socially involved with our businesses, be less grumpy (blaming the kids on this one), eat less hot dogs (why?), grow your followers from X to Z in the next 6 months, whatever it is, how can you really make it happen?

I believe staying in the present moment and focusing on the today task is the number one solution for really sticking to your goals. When we think of the big goal as a task, it’s really hard to visualise success (well, at least in my opinion, it may not be the same for you). I personally need little steps to get me there, little tasks and actions that I know will work as a ladder system for me to reach the top of my never ending mountain of goals.

Don’t get me wrong, I am THE procrastination queen and I often create ‘tasks’ for myself that are neither needed nor required which can steer me away from real tasks that are valuable to my life and my business. BUT, I also love micro goals, I love to break down a big task into actionable steps so I know I will get from A to B successfully.

 So whatever task you have set yourself to achieve in 2017, I would encourages you to: 

1.     Break a big goal into actionable steps

Write down you top 3 goals for the year, and break them down into quarters, into months, into weeks and into days. I use Asana or Trello depending on how I would like to manage my week, but both are really efficient to get you started. Don’t skip this part, even if it takes you days. This is really important and perhaps what’s really going to make you feel at peace for the rest of the year.

 2.     Ensure you celebrate small wins (and failures) even if seem irrelevant

Whether it’s a gratitude jar or, a ‘win and fail’ board, a call to a friend or a high-five to a colleague, make sure you encourage yourself and people around you to celebrate wins and screw ups. A no blame culture for the mistakes we make empowers employees to make decisions and learn from their mistakes, ensuring we are progressing and innovating in business and personally constantly.

3.     Get an accountability buddy (a real one)

Get someone who will check on your progress every now and then if you think are the type of person who needs someone to check on you. I do. I like to get someone to make me accountable for what I promised to so. Make sure you check either daily, weekly or fortnightly. Make the catch-ups short and sweet, with the following structure: spend 10% talking about the ‘what’ (the actual task or problem), 30% in the ‘so what’ (options and possibilities) and 60% on the ‘now what’ (solutions and actions). I am picking my Senior Project Manager husband for the task (he doesn’t know this yet).

4.     Reflect on what you have achieved and amend accordingly

Once a week, look back at what you have accomplished and become aware of any feelings around a particular task you hated or loved doing. If you hate it, can you pass it on to someone else, hire a person to do the task and focus on that makes you thrive? If you loved it, how can you do more of that, the things that you truly love doing?

5.     Be agile with your planning

Things change and that’s OK. I have before been particularly stuck when big things that I have planned for changed suddenly, but being agile it’s about being open to change and changing direction when needed, without really getting too caught up in the why. Use your reflection time to see what needs changing and amend your plan accordingly. 

The above are things that have worked for me but I am in no means an expert in the productivity field. I sometimes struggle to prioritise and stay focused (who doesn’t right?). So if you think you need further help, there are lots of professionals and resources that can help you with productivity, goal management and procrastination.

I personally use Jo Bendle’s planning calls and resources and Todd Herman’s 90 day year methodology.

Happy New Year guys and happy planning!

Written by Ale Wiecek, Founder, CX & Digital Marketing Strategist at Sqr One