Goal Setting Palaver!

Still on the new-year-new-you matter! I thought to share this before you finally wrap up your ‘goals’ and ‘plans’ for the new year. Since somehow we are all expected to have those. Especially at the beginning of a new year; or new phase in your life or business. I mean you will really come across as an NFA (No Future Ambition) if you proudly said that you had no goals, no plans. Like seriously?? Lol.

Having goals is a good thing because it shows that you have given some thought into what direction you want your life or business to take in the future. What’s bad is setting those goals year in year out, without achieving them. Worse still, some of us don’t even expect the goals to be achieved. So, at the end of the year we simply laugh it off when our pretty ‘list’ is staring back at us and only a few items have been checked. That’s assuming you can even find the list!

Assuming your goals are already SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), why do they not get achieved? More often than not, they get consumed by the ‘whirlwind’ – all those things that you must do day-to-day simply to be alive and keep your home or life running: market, cook, take care of children, house chores, home work e.t.c OR to keep your doors open if you are a business: daily operations like – managing enquiries, serving current customer needs, getting new customers for existing products and services, and the list goes on. In other words: ‘life happens’ to you. But you know it’s also possible to happen to life – by taking control, and being deliberate about the direction your life takes through carefully crafted and executed goals.

If you’ve ever struggled with achieving your personal or organizational goals, here’s what Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling (authors of The Four Disciplines of Execution – 4DX) have to say:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goals (WIGs)
  2. Act on lead measures
  3. Keep a compelling scoreboard
  4. Create a cadence of accountability

Now, let’s dig in:

Focus on the Wildly Important Goals: All goals are not born equal. There are a lot of things that will be great to achieve this year, both for your life and business. But just a handful of them are real game changers. It’s 80:20. These are the Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) a.k.a top priority goals. Ask yourself; if everything else remained the same, what two things (out of these plenty goals) can I do/ change/ achieve that will make all the difference. And Bingo! You have your WIGs!!

For example: Although God gave us ten commandments, Jesus told us in Matthew 22:40 that two of them hang all the other eight. Still 80:20.

You shouldn’t have more than two WIGs at any point in time (it’s a waste of money….just joking). Once the first two are achieved, you can set the next two and so on. Focus is the name of the game. You can only do so much at a time.

Act on lead measures: I absolutely love this one. There are two ways to know if you are achieving your goals, either focus on the result (after the fact = lag measures), or focus on the process (probability of achievement = lead measures).

For example: If you set a goal to lose 10kg of weight in 3months by exercising 3 times a week and making sure you have dinner not later than 6p.m. Acting on lead measures means that rather than tracking how much weight you have lost at the end of each week (lag measure), you should be tracking how many times you had dinner before 6p.m and how many times you exercised each week (lead measure). So, by tracking lead measures, the probability of achieving the lag measure is clear, and you can make changes when it can still make a difference.

This requires a mindset shift for most of us. We want to know if it’s working right away. But, you will wear yourself out and get discouraged if every time you get on the scale you don’t seem to be losing any weight. Not so?

To track your progress, there are a number of goal tracking worksheets available on the internet.

Keep a compelling scoreboard: This one is straight forward. It just requires you to keep your goals and measures (lead and lag) visible at all times. This will tell you where you are and where you should be, thereby helping you focus. You have to know if you are on the way to achieving your goals or not in order to encourage yourself and possibly generate options to help you along the way.

Your scoreboard has to be simple and visual.

Create a cadence of accountability: This is absolutely the most important discipline. If you really want to achieve your goals, you must hold yourself and/or your team accountable. This can be done in a periodic accountability meeting. If you are applying this personally, you can appoint a trusted friend to be your partner or goal buddy. And of course, you must keep the commitments you make to yourself and/or your team.

I hope you found this useful. Now, it’s up to you to put it to use!

I’m looking forward to reading (in the comments below) what has worked for you in making sure you can stay the course and achieve your goals.

Source: The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling


  1. Stephanie says:

    The expert! We are looking forward to having you at SoConnected Coffee Mornings.
    One thing I do that seems to be working for me now is that I spend about 2 minutes a day, reviewing my goals. I think of what has been done, what needs to be done and how far I have come

  2. Osen I says:

    Great posts Nike! What I do is break my goals into bite size chunks and make sure to schedule time for it in my daily planner. Writing a goal list daily helps me a lot.

  3. admin says:

    Thanks for stopping by Osen! I’m glad you like the posts. I’m also a list master. It gives me a sense of direction. And on days when I’m able to cross out say 90% of the things on my list, I feel really fulfilled. I’m working at consistently reaching 100% sha. I hope you subscribed o!

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