The Productivity Pyramid—Setting Goals

Those of you who have followed us for a while know that we have a tradition called Organized October. This is an opportunity to focus four solid weeks on personal growth through organizing and planning. This year we’re highlighting the Productivity Pyramid. Last week we discussed the importance of establishing your governing values. This week we’re explore the second step of the Pyramid—Goals.


Why do we find it so hard to set goals?

Goals and goal setting can be intimidating because past experience tells us we may not reach our goals—we may be wasting our time. That’s discouraging, but don’t despair. Sometimes the reason you don’t stick to a goal has more to do with the goal itself than with your ability to accomplish big things.


How can we set goals that we’ll actually reach?

Goals require you to change your routine and step away from your comfort zone. In order to do that, you have to truly want that goal. You have to own it, and be willing to own the responsibility for it. So your goals had better matter deeply to you! The goals that matter most are based on the ideas, people, beliefs, and interests that matter most to you—your governing values. When you build your goals upon your governing values, you’ll find the desire and motivation to keep at them.

For example: If one of your governing values is, “Reliability—people can trust me to do my best work,” you’ll find it easier to set and reach goals based on improving your skill set. The value of producing your best work is rooted so deeply within you that it defines who you are, therefore acting on goals based on that value is natural for you. That’s why it’s essential that you link your goals to your governing values.


What are the essential elements of a well-planned goal?

The secret to achieving your goals is to plan them correctly.
Goals are effectively planned when they are:

  • In line with your values—Base your goals on the things that matter most to you.
  • Have a time deadline—Set specific dates when each step of your goal will be completed and hold yourself to that schedule.
  • Clearly and specifically defined—Make sure your goals are specific and detailed so you can clearly note when you’ve reached each step.
  • Owned—You need to truly want what you’re working toward to make the goal your own. It often helps to share your goal with others so they can support your efforts.
  • Realistic—Be sure that your goals are achievable within a reasonable amount of time. If you set a broad, long-term goal, be sure to break it down into small short-term steps that you can realistically reach.

Planning achievable goals.

Our Goal Planning Form is an effective tool to help you map out your goals. Here is a quick overview to help you fill out your form:


Begin with why.

First, list which of your governing values the goal is tied to.  (In other words: Why am I setting this goal—Why does it matter?)


State the goal (what and when).

Write your long-range goal and set a date to complete it.


How will you reach the goal?

Break your goal into small, achievable steps and set deadlines for completing each step.


Make it happen.

Once you’ve set your goal and have your steps worked out, schedule each step into your weekly and daily plans.


Prioritize your tasks.

As you plan each day, be sure to give the tasks related to your goals your top priority, so you can be sure to work on first things first.

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