Did you set goals at the start of the year?
Tell me about your progress. How do you work towards your goals? Or, if you’ve met your goals, how did you pull it off?
Working towards goals counts for one of the things I am terrible at.
I’d sit down and think through some beautiful outcome I wanted in my life.
Once the time came to start working towards set-down goals, I’d chicken out, giving myself silly but comforting excuses.
For example, in 2019, I dreamt of becoming a data scientist.
I registered for some courses, read some books, practiced some programming languages.
But once I hit some difficulty above my skill level, I took off!
When I decided to start a personal improvement blog in 2020, I didn’t want to remain the guy who couldn’t finish things.
Deep down, I knew changing my process was the only way out of this vicious cycle.
But engineering a system that could help me achieve my goal was not as easy as I thought.
After countless hours of research, trials, failures, and re-trials, here is the EXACT method I used to build this site from scratch.
5 Personally-Tested Steps to Work Towards Your Goals
1) Define Your Goals
An unclear goal is a recipe for disaster.
I learnt this the hard way after I failed to reach multiple goals.
For example, when I dreamt of becoming a data scientist, I didn’t really take the pains to truly understand what a data scientist does.
Or whether I had the foundational knowledge, basic skills and natural inclination for a career in data science.
The term “data scientist” sounded nice. So I dreamt of building something with data, without knowing what exactly I wanted to build.
In contrast, when I started thinking about building an online presence, I defined my goal clearly.
I want to help young Africans become better versions of themselves…
Also, I had all the details down in my personal development diary…
- Website Platform
- Buyer Persona
- Content Type
- Content Promotion Strategy
- KPI Metrics
Knowing what I wanted to achieve inside-out helped me stay focused.
Defining your goal can help you, too. Whatever it is you want to achieve.
2) Make A Needs List
What do you need to achieve your goal?
Using the T.E.M.E framework can help you make a quick list of what you need.
The T.E.M.E framework is an acronym for Time, Education, Money and Environment.
Below is how I used the T.E.M.E framework.
Over the years, I have come to realize how important time is when pursuing a goal.
Aside the best money management advice my mother gave me while growing up, she almost always reminded me how important time is.
She’d often say: pick something valuable and give it time.
Taking her advice, I set aside 1 hour per day to work on my website.
For me, showing up mattered most. It mattered little if I had a terrible day at my day job or not.
I just had to be at my desk at home in the evening working on my website.
The best hack to getting your goals achieved faster is to seek education.
For example, programmers are the best Googlers I know. They can find answers to anything under the sun.
It’s foolhardy to learn from scratch or try to re-invent the wheel when you can leverage the work of others to get stuff done quickly.
Be realistic about what education you need to get your goals accomplished, then go grab them.
If you need to, please pay for courses, attend conferences and seminars, buy and read books, attend a bootcamp.
To achieve your goals, good teaching can help you get there faster than blind practice.
Remember the popular saying: there is no free lunch anywhere.
To get value, you often have to give something of value in exchange.
Know what it will cost you to pursue your defined goal and make sure you can afford it.
Or that you have arranged how to get the funds. Usually before setting out.
Most people fail at goal attainment because they don’t plan for the money part.
When I started working on this website, I saved a fraction of my monthly salary without fail.
This helped to cover hosting costs, data costs, education costs, etc.
This is the most neglected part of the needs list.
Environment refers to creating a community of people that holds you accountable to your goals.
You can’t be working towards learning programming if you’re always hanging out with people that believe programming is just above their head. Like something they can never wrap their head around.
Hanging around people who are already doing what you want to do or pushing to achieve similar goals keeps you motivated.
To dine with kings, you must move out of the slums.
3) Break Your Needs Into The Basics
This is super simple. But very few people do it.
Here is how to do it the smart way.
If you need 5 years to master the skill, how about deciding to practice 2 hours a day (Time)?
If you need to study for 4 years in a University to get a degree, how about studying for 1 hour daily (Education)?
If you need 1 million Naira to pursue your goals, how about saving 50,000 Naira from your salary monthly (Money).
If you need to build a community of like-minded people and mentors to achieve your dreams, how about connecting with one person you admire every month (Environment)?
Going micro makes the big things smaller and doable!
4) Track Your Progress
There’s a popular aphorism from Peter Drucker on the importance of measuring progress.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” ~ Peter Drucker
You can’t get anywhere close to your goals if you don’t track your progress.
Develop the right metrics and track them religiously.
I use habit apps to track my daily progress towards specific goals.
You, too, can do the same.
5) Write An Annual Review
If you are like me, you are obsessed with self-improvement, then writing an annual review can help you assess your progress towards your long-term goals.
I borrowed this idea from James Clear, author of the international best seller, Atomic Habits.
Writing an annual review has helped me know if I am making progress or just running round in circles.
If this works for you, then it is worth the effort.
See you at the top!