Making Adjustments to Goals to Reach Success

By Bob Hewes, PhD
March 08, 2019

Suddenly it is March. As the end of first quarter approaches, it is helpful to check-in to see how you are progressing toward your 2019 goals. In work as in your personal life, it’s important to set goals, establish milestones, and assess your progress. Following is an example for how you might approach this process, using a relatable personal goal.

Okay, we are just over two months into the new year. Remember those New Year’s resolutions (i.e. your goals). Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions and by now, unfortunately, many of us have given up on them. Let’s do something about that.

Now, is a good time to revisit your goals. Instead of giving up completely, let’s adjust. If we can start thinking about taking stock and making adjustments, we have far better chances of achieving our goals. Any good sports team does this all time. They start with a plan, then when things don’t work they make adjustments. We need to bring that mentality to hitting our goals.

Start with taking stock of where you are with your goals. Where are you making progress and where are things slipping? Do a bit of reflection on your efforts and progress to date.

Then, consider three adjustments.

Adjustment 1

Adjust the goals if needed. Make sure your goals are specific and actionable and not too general. e.g. “be healthy,” while admirable, is a tad too general; make it more specific to something like workout for 30 minutes 4 times each week.

Adjustment 2

Make working on the goal easy. This adjustment is about they way you achieve the goal. Is it easy to work on it, or do you have a large start-up every time you start? Where do you need to adjust a routine? Make sure you have the tools and routine so that you can easily work on your goals.

Adjustment 3

Shift your thinking to incremental progress. One trap we can fall into is thinking all or nothing on working on a goal. “I’m really falling behind on this goal so why bother?” We can see things slipping and that initial burst of will drops off. Instead of giving up completely, think of incremental progress you can make. A simple example is around workouts, a person might have trouble with a 45 minute work, but could “squeeze” in a 30 minute one. 30 minutes beats zero by a mile. Look at your specific goals and see where an incremental approach helps. Build some momentum.

By adjusting, you have a better chance of making progress toward your goals and ultimately reaching them. Keep taking stock and look for adjustments you can make as the year progresses.