The most critical but neglected goal achievement tool.

Every second newsletter I receive at the moment seems to be on the importance of goal setting or another innovative system for achieving them. So I am not going to subject readers to yet another. Interestingly, I have not seen the oft quoted “Yale study of 1953”  which turns out to be an urban myth, quoted this year. I wrote about that a few weeks ago in this post.

Wrapping up last year and packing it away in the archives as I wrote about in a  post last week,  is a very worthwhile exercise, but unless we do something with the lessons we learned from it we are not going to make any progress in achieving our goals for the new year. Nor is the best goal setting system in the world going to help us much unless we are committed and take action.

Early last year, I wrote that one of the biggest goals I ever achieved – running an 85 km ultra marathon, was never written down. But I was totally committed and I took persistent and consistent action, training 6 days a week, every week, come rain or shine, absolutely no excuses, until it was achieved. I followed my plan because running time was in my daily routine.

So although written goals and reviewing them regularly are very important parts of the process, it does not matter whether they are handwritten in a notebook, beautifully printed out or part of a vision board, whatever works for each of us. My choice is to have 90 day and 12 month goals for four important areas of my life printed out and stuck on the wall of my office where I can see them every time I look up from my desk.

What is a vitally important step is taking persistent and consistent action, any tools we can use to help us take action will help us achieve our goals.

One of the tools most successful people use is a daily routine or action plan, I have been using a daily plan for most of my working life. It has been modified and improved over the years to reflect the many twists and turns my life has taken. The routine that served me well before my boys were at school would not have worked when I was travelling frequently to strange places in Africa. The flexible plan that worked then would not have worked when I became a full-time farmer.

Here is the daily routine that works for me now.Monitoring goals

 

Get up between 5:45 and 6:15 depending on season. Shave.
Tea and cereal or oat porridge for breakfast
Check 3 horses and lead them out to pasture, add hay to their feeder.
At my desk in my home office by 7:15 to 7:45
Write 5 things to be grateful for, 10 successes from yesterday and 4 answers to an “I would be / have more/better……if……” question.
Read 90 day goals and vision statement.
Review action plan
Do 1 task from action plan.
8:30 – 5 minute call with an accountability partner so we can both keep on track.
8:35 Start writing blog post then next task.
12:15 – 15 minute call with a coaching partner most days.
12:45 to 13:15 lunch then continue with action list.
16:00 Feed & Groom horses, top up hay and water, ride for 30 to 60 minutes and / or walk dog, all weather permitting.
18:30 Supper
30 minutes of exercises, emails, social media and other “busy work” until 20:00 then read – rarely watch TV. Bath or shower.
I end the day with creating my prioritized task list for the next day, no more than 20 tasks a day.

Not more than twice a week, If I am feeling frustrated or lazy, I will cut or split wood or some other physical task for 90 minutes on a weekday afternoon – the fresh air and working muscles never fail to get the brain working again. It is too easy when working from home  to allow non-business activities to eat into working time. Unless it is an emergency or genuinely important – like clearing snow with the tractor or holding the horses for the farrier on his 6 weekly visit, I do not allow myself to be swayed from my routine.

People ask why as a baby boomer at the age of 61, I make so much work for myself by having horses and living in an old farm-house that requires mountains of wood to be cut for its wood burning furnace. The answer to the first will be obvious to all horse lovers, but having ridden and owned horses for most of our lives, it is as natural to keep horses as it is to breathe. It also gives us a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning!

The answer to the second is quite simple, we enjoy the old house, there is no natural gas service in our area, electricity, propane and oil are expensive alternatives. Between our own wood lot and fallen trees in the neighbourhood, we find enough firewood without having to cut down living trees. That allows us to heat our house from renewable energy resources

What routine or daily action plan do you follow? Add a comment so that we can all learn and continue to improve our own.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Peter Wright

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