A good roadmap helps us get to where we want to go, but it only helps us when we regularly check in. Taking some time before the intensity of Q4 kicks in to get acquainted with your plans and intentions can help to see what else needs to be done and to see how far you have already come.
1. Check in with yourself
Take some time to review your accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned so far this year. Reflecting on the past can help identify areas where we did great and what we would like to change. This can also helps us gain clarity on what we want to achieve in the future.
Key questions to ask:
What actions have I taken towards each of my goals?
Are the goals I set for myself so far realistic ones?
What have I achieved this year so far that I can be proud of?
What are some challenges I have faced? What did I learn from them?
What would I like to change going forward?
2. Set SMART goals
Once you have checked in, have a look at what else is left and create new goals (or mini goals) to get you there. One tried and tested method you can use to get you there are SMART goals.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Specific goals are clear and well-defined, measurable goals have a way to track progress, achievable goals are realistic, relevant goals align with our values and aspirations, and time-bound goals have a deadline. Some examples of SMART goals include:
Career: "I will complete a professional development course in my field by the end of the year to improve my skills and advance my career."
Personal growth: "I will read one book per month on a topic that interests me to expand my knowledge and stimulate my mind."
Health: "I will exercise for at least 30 minutes three times per week to improve my physical and mental well-being."
3. Create a plan
Once you’ve set your goals, it's time to create a plan to achieve them.
It can help to break down big goals into smaller, actionable steps and assign deadlines to each step. This will help you stay on track and make progress towards your goals.
It also helps to set specific times when you will work towards your goal. For example, if you want to complete a course, block out time to study, and make yourself unavailable during that time.
For example, if you want to study for a professional development course, you might decide that Fridays between 2 and 4pm is a good time for you to work towards this.
Use a planner or a digital tool can help you to keep track of your plan. At Women in Digital Switzerland, we love tools such as Trello, Sunsame and Asana to do this. We also like to pair it with good old Google Calendar or a paper diary to schedule the “when” and “where”.
4. Stay Accountable
Accountability is important for motivating us and helping us to stay on track. Discussing your goals with a friend, family member, or mentor and asking them to hold you accountable goes a long way to helping you stay focused. You can also join a community or find an accountability partner to stay motivated and on track.
Studying with a friend, having weekly check ins to give updates, or using a reminder system can help you stay on track.
With the goals set, it is also helpful to give yourself a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing. You can use post its, an object or memorable phrase to do this. Keep this in a place you will see it regularly, so you can keep your commitment to yourself top of mind.