“Finish the drill” is a phrase many athletic coaches have adopted to remind their team: victory lies at the end of the activity. This mantra not only helps sports teams, it can help me and you have a more fulfilling and productive life. Today’s Challenge question comes from a leader who asks: How do I follow-through (finish) on my goals?
Set goals that matter – If you are having trouble finishing, the first place I would look is your commitment to the goals you have set. Do they really matter? Really? When things get tough, your fortitude will be tested. Only your most compelling goals will compel you to finish.
Focus on the few – Too many goals not only stretch your attention, they will drastically reduce your odds of finishing. Let me anticipate your next question: How many goals should I have? My response: I don’t know. This is a very personal issue. Your answer will be a derivative of your temperament, your personality and the magnitude or challenge level of your goals. As a rule of thumb, fewer is better.
Create mechanisms – Mechanisms come in many forms. You need to create whatever systems help you finish. A couple of years ago I created a mind map containing a summary of all my goals, and my plans, for the year. I used it as my screen-saver. It was an ever-present reminder of my goals. I have tried the mechanism of reading my plan daily. I know people who put their goals on flash cards for easy review. There also are numerous apps which enable you to track your progress. Experiment. Find systems, tactics and mechanisms that help you finish.
Measure your progress – Measurement can create energy, urgency, accountability and motivation. The data is clear – measurement drives performance. Find a way to track your progress toward your goals. This can be as elaborate or as simple as you would like. I have seen very complex Excel spreadsheets, white boards, apps, even old-fashioned paper and pencil tracking. If someone asks you how you are progressing on one of your goals, you should KNOW the answer.
[tweet_box design="default"]Measurement can create energy, urgency, accountability and motivation.[/tweet_box]
Ask others to help – The people around you can have a huge impact on your ability to finish. My recommendation is to enlist people to provide encouragement, experience and accountability. Encouragement will breathe life into your pursuit. We all need to be encouraged, particularly if we’re attempting something difficult. The experience of others can be a real gift. If you are attempting to run a marathon, talk to others who have successfully accomplished what you are trying to do. Finally, find people who are willing to give you the gift of accountability.
Never give up – I hesitate to reference the most famous historical example regarding this idea because I would guess the majority of you have heard it. But just in case…
In 1941, Winston Churchill was scheduled to make a major wartime address. He would deliver this presentation at his alma mater, Harrow School for Boys. Although historical accounts of his comments have been altered many times, here is one of the more popular versions:
Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-never!'"
Churchill’s advice was unforgettable in part because of its simplicity, yet the power of his council is undeniable.
What can the world become if leaders don’t quit? What can you and I accomplish if we finish? What impact can we have on the planet? Let’s find out![GLS_Shield]