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Goal Achievement

How to Increase Goal Achievement with Monthly Reviews

There is no shortage of goals that people want to achieve. There is, however, a gap for some people between goal and achievement. If you’ve been following me on instagram (you should follow me at meetkristinburke) you know I believe in and promote weekly check ins. In addition to celebrating weekly wins, goal achievers carve out time at the end of the month to review their goals. During this review, the people who tend to close the gap between goal and achievement reflect on the past month to identify learnings and plan for the next month. Implementing a monthly review increases your likelihood of actually remembering the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Conducting a monthly review continues to promote progress over perfection because it gives you the chance to assess your progress and adjust your strategies as needed. 

People often wonder if they should give up on a goal. I think it depends on why you want to give up. If you want to give up because you are off-track or the goal is hard then no you should stick with it and change your approach. If you want to give up on the goal because you are not sure why you are even going after the goal or if it no longer serves your larger vision then replace it with something more meaningful.

We’ve all grown since we set our goals in January. By now you have three months of data, activity and habits to examine. If you can’t identify one or two things that aren’t working in your pursuit of your goals you might need to take more risks! During a monthly review, you should expect to highlight some things that are working (keep doing them!) and realize some things that need to evolve if you are serious about achieving your goal.

Let’s be honest. I don’t think any of us could have predicted the coronavirus pandemic, shelter in place, virtual work environment or massive shut down of certain industries that we are currently experiencing. Now is an even more important time to conduct a monthly goal review. Most of our 2020 strategies need to be revamped and revised. Here is my four-step monthly review agenda. 

  1. Re-write all of your 2020 goals – You might be tempted to look at a list of your goals, which is better than nothing. Putting pen to paper is a more powerful way to remember your goals, bring them into existence and take the review process seriously. Can you commit to writing your goals 12 times in a year (initial goal setting process + 11 review months) if it will increase your chances of achievement? 
  2. Identify the progress you’ve made – What goals have you achieved? Celebrate! What is working? What steps have you taken? Where are you on-track? Keep executing, because it can be tempting to pull back and ease through the year when you are on-track. The current situation is a giant reminder that we have minimal control over external circumstances.
  3. Recognize where you are falling behind – It’s better to recognize if you are off-track now at the end of the first quarter instead of in November when you don’t have as much time to course correct. Ask yourself, is the goal still important and exciting? Why are you off-track? What can you control to get back on-track? Do you need to adjust the timeframe for goal achievement? It’s important to avoid the temptation to give up because you are off-track. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed! It might even feel emotionally easier to give up on your goal instead of doing the hard work to pivot and course correct. Don’t be fooled. The long-term satisfaction of growing throughout the goal achievement journey and ultimately accomplishing something at one time you doubted is worth the work. If you find yourself struggling to achieve a goal that is still important, you might consider hiring a coach (I’ve got a referral!) to help you close the execution gaps. 
  4. Outline a few focuses for the next month – Use the information you uncovered in step 3 to identify 4-5 strategies to focus on in the next month. These strategies should address some of the reasons you are off-track. You can share these focus points with a peer to increase accountability. Check out this post I wrote on the peer accountability for more insight.

Each month you incorporate a goal review session, you’ll grow your progress not perfection mindset. Think of all the strategies you can test and try knowing you can evaluate how they are working at the end of the month. This systematic approach to reviewing your goals works if you schedule reminders on your calendar at the end of each month. I recommend 30 minutes to go through the four-step review process.