Measurable: How to get that "Hell yeah, I did it!" moment

19 November 2019 -

Mapping out goalsGiving your goals structure and making them measurable is a sure-fire way to spur progress and motivate you to reach your target

Lily Howes

Measuring your goals is important for two reasons: so that you know when to enjoy the “hell yeah, I did it!” moment, and so you can accurately assess whether you’re on track along the way.

To be able to measure your goals effectively, you need to know when they have been met. It’s simple for some goals, but trickier for others.

Measuring the ‘non-measurable’

You know when you’ve passed your probation or an exam – they’re objectives controlled by external factors. But what if your goal is to feel more confident delivering presentations? Or to manage stressful situations better? That’s much more difficult to measure.

It could be that when you’re presenting, you’ll feel less nervous and won’t depend on notes. Or that you feel calmer taking on last-minute deadlines and exude less panic in high-pressure moments. Both of these goals can be measured internally, but they could also benefit from the perspectives and observations of your peers, colleagues or managers to help you make an ongoing or final assessment.

Data-driven goals

In certain fields or roles, professional goals often become tied to data, such as the percentage increase of sales or leads, for example. You can apply data to your personal goals, too: if your goal is to build your professional network, put some measurable elements against it. You could attend one industry event a month or increase your LinkedIn connections by 10% before the year is out. You could challenge yourself to reach out to people in your industry who you admire for a coffee, quantifying how many people you can realistically do this with over a certain period.

Making your goal more measurable and data-driven in this way will focus your energy so that the end objective feels more attainable, boosting your motivation to get there in the process.

It’s a date

No matter your goal, it’s important to put dates against it – starting with an end date. Again, for some objectives, this date will already be set in stone or dictated by external factors. For goals that are not tied to a particular time frame, create your end date by assessing the wider context. If your goal is tied to presentation skills and you know your current course will require a final presentation, use that as your conclusion.

Don’t set yourself the goal of getting a promotion in three months if you know that promotions only happen in your organisation once a year. Remember to go back to the ‘A’ in SMART: achievable.

As well as an end date, pencil in check-ins on your progress along the way too. Put digital reminders on your calendar to prompt you to measure how things are going, and schedule check-ins with your manager, mentor or a friend so they can hold you to it and help you assess your progress so far.

Tools to track progress

Keeping track of your progress will help you stay focused on the end goal, but you need to find a tool that works for you.

Already use a to-do list app? Integrate your objectives in a new section you can refer back to regularly on-the-go. If you don’t use a to-do list app already, try AnyDo or Wunderlist. Both have easy-to-use interfaces and helpfully enable sub-tasks. This can help you break your goals down into more manageable chunks and gives you more opportunities to tick things off and measure your progress as you go.

If your goal is tied to how you feel, then try a journal method, which is more reflective. After you’ve experienced a situation related to your goal, such as delivering a presentation, take time to reflect on how you felt before, during and after.

Are you looking to push yourself further in your career? To start setting meaningful goals, see how to create a skills plan to see which areas you can develop in.

Image: William Iven Unsplash

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