“Small acts are oftentimes more effective in creating big change. Having micro-goals that lead to a larger goals are the contexts in which people tend to be more effective.”
-Jennifer Aaker, Professor at Stanford Business School
For many of the women in Accountable in Action, this week marks the mid-point of their three-month partnership with their Accountability Ally. The Accountability Ally program is one of Accountable in Action’s benefits of membership.
If you haven’t joined the Accountability Ally program or feel like you want to take a stab at this whole “goal setting thing” by yourself, here are some tips to help you build your foundation and make progress.
1. Set SMART goals
- Time Bound
- Make sure your goal is specific and well defined. Get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.
- Example: To make my next career move into middle management, I want to become more connected to other women in business in the Bay Area.
- Set bench marks for your goals. If goals are too lofty or idealistic, you’ll lose inspiration in pursuing them.
- Example: Become more connected to other women in business in the Bay Area by reaching out to three different people on LinkedIn and conducting two informational interviews
- Don’t set goals that are too easy to achieve. Accomplishing a goal you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic, at best. Set goals that challenge you, but are realistic for your situation.
- Example: Connect with women on LinkedIn who I am 2nd connections with (as opposed to connecting directly to the CEO)
- Your goals must be aligned with the path you want to pursue. If your goals are inconsistent, you won’t reach the end result you were looking for.
- Example: Reach out to people who work in industries you’d be interested in pursuing. Pull something valuable out of each of your connections. Don’t connect with someone just to meet your weekly quota.
- Set deadlines for your goals.
- Example: Reach out to three different people on LinkedIn each week and conducting two informational interviews each month
2. Set goals that motivate you
- Start with “why.” Ask yourself why something is valuable and why you’re interested in pursuing that specific goal. Your goals should be related to the high-priority things in your life.
3. Put your goals in writing
- When you put pen to paper, your goals become more tangible. Write your goals in the positive and write them in the present tense. The more positive instructions you give your mind, the more positive results you will get.
4. Make an action plan
- Writing down individual steps and crossing them off as you achieve them will help you realize that you’re making progress toward your ultimate goal. The Accountability Ally program has great action plan resources. Find more information here.
5. Stick to it
- Find someone who can help hold you accountable. Having a partner to pursue your goals with can greatly increase your success rate. Read “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”
Having big dreams doesn’t mean you have to have big, intimidating goals. Taking one step at a time will help you feel more in control and will help prevent burnout. When you feel like you’ve made progress, don’t forget to celebrate!