Short-Term Goals have improved my Long-Term Performance – want to know how?

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

I discovered a Performance Hack – one we can all do – that boosts my personal productivity. And it isn’t hard to put into action.

For a while towards the back-end of 2014, I was feeling stagnated. I have dreams, long-term goals and a vision for what I want to become. But my problem was that I was ‘spinning my wheels’ and not really getting anywhere. I have written often about performance management, objective setting and personal goals, but even I have faltered. As the saying goes – doctors make the worst patients.

So with a sense of disappointment and frustration, I entered 2015 having decided to pull myself out of this and start the year differently. My first challenge was how.

I brainstormed a bit. Drew some boxes and lines. Twiddled my thumbs for a while.

And then the answer was staring me in the face (all along) – and that was to follow my own advice (swallow my own medicine!) and set some goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals!

How I went about setting my Short-Terms Goals

When I strive to achieve something, I like to know how it helps me with my long-term game plan. I am a strategic thinker. So I started by noting down my Longer-Term Goals, written in the S.M.A.R.T. way. I didn’t go too far, in fact I only projected my goals until the end of 2016.

Following this, for each goal I added 2 more stages: a Near-Term Goal (by end of 2015) and a Short-Term Goal (by June 2015). Each time I set a goal, I checked that they are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound – S.M.A.R.T.

Get on with it, Simon

I had my Short-Term Goals… what was I waiting for? Nothing, so I got on with it. Each day I would scan through my goals. As they’re concise, they can be read and absorbed within seconds. This is all I consciously did.

The interesting thing is…

… that I soon noticed that I was getting closer and closer to reaching my Short-Term Goals, way ahead of schedule. And, in fact, within 2 months (end of February) I had already achieved 3 out of the 8 goals. Way to go!

How did this happen?

I didn’t always take a deliberate action to progress my goals. In fact, it hardly felt like I was grafting away to accomplish them. They just happened… or did they?

Have you heard about The Law of Attraction? Whether you believe in the ‘ethereal’ side of it or not (I am not convinced), I know it works. What I experienced is that my sub-conscious awareness of my achievable goals guided my real-time decision-making towards them, and that their relevance created more ‘natural’ motivation in me to achieve them – it didn’t feel like hard work.

Where this approach doesn’t work quite as well

I struggled a little more where the goals are qualitative (based on observations instead of exact measures), rather than quantitative. The problem with these is that I can lie to myself that they have been achieved. Their measurement is subjective, and therefore I can take shortcuts. Would you do the same?

How else can I use this hack?

I can use this in many aspects of my life, and one of those is setting goals for this blog. I want to grow it and expand it into new subject areas and hit new audiences. To get there, I need your help – and I have set goals relevant to growth in my readership and engagement. Here, you will see how I have documented these goals – in non-technical fashion. One thing you might notice is that each of them has a clear, quantitative measure. Measuring my achievement against them is objective and irrefutable.


You can help me achieve these goals!

Without you, I will fail to accomplish these objectives. You can help me by:

  1. Subscribing to my newsletter – I will send you updates and a weekly digest of my blog
  2. Joining my forums and asking me a question – what is your biggest work challenge?
  3. Commenting on my posts – have your say
  4. Writing a Guest Post as a Guest Blogger – see my Guest Bloggers page
  5. Sharing my posts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn – sharing buttons are below every post
  6. Keep coming back! – it’s how I really know I am achieving my goals!

And when you do, I will continue to help you! Thanks in advance.

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