How to Move Forward with Intention

by Debbie Gilster

in People Management,Time Management

Move Forward With Intention

Do you find it hard to reach your goals? You’re not alone. According to the American Society of Training and Development, the probability of completing a goal is tied to these activities:

10% = If you hear an idea

25% = If you consciously decide to adopt it

40% = If you decide when you will do it

50% = If you plan how you will do it

65% = If you commit to someone else you will do it

95% = If you have a specific accountability appointment with the person committed to

As a productivity expert, I know all of this full well. And I can fall in the trap too. I do have a business coach, and I can honestly say that her accountability helps to keep me focused. She also helps me to see why I am stalling on something.

Want to get more done accomplished? Then try my three step process to help you move forward with intention.

Step 1: Look where you’ve been.

Be clear what you have accomplished thus far. Not only is this good for your confidence, but it gives you a better baseline to start planning for the future. Too often, we small business people keep moving at such a quick pace we forget what we actually achieved. Big companies publish annual reports that list all of their accomplishments for the year, we can too. Take the time now to jot down your list. Publish it to your team. (This doesn’t have to be a year-end activity but should easily move to the end of your fiscal year.)

Tip: Save your accomplishments in a word processing file that you can continuously add to on a periodic basis. This will save you time.

Step 2: Choose where you want to go.

You need to have a clear vision of where you want to be before you can decide on the specific path to get there. Go to your “thinking place” with a pad of paper and start musing about where you’d like to be at a certain point in time. I go to the beach when I need to think in peace. Pick a reasonable time frame. I’m all in favor of having a long term vision of what you’d like to do, but don’t let this hinder your process. Choose one year or even three months out. Just do it and write it down. From your list, pick your top three intentions or goals. The more specific, the better, but don’t let this stop you. Deciding you want to “increase profit by 10%” is easier to assess progress than just “increase profit.” You can make this more specific later if needed.

Tip: Your intended goals should correspond with the purpose for your life and business. A purpose helps to establish boundaries and direction. What, you don’t have a clear purpose? Make some choices anyway and decide to deal with this in Step 3.

Step 3: Identify several specific tasks to help you reach your intentions.

Looking at your top three intentions from Step 2, brainstorm ways to achieve them and pick your desired path. Break down the path into specific tasks that include the what, when and who is involved. From your task list, pick your top three to focus on in the near term. The mistake I see from most people is that their list is too long. Long lists are not easily remembered, so we end up fighting fires instead and not working on what is important. Keep your short list visible and stay focused. When you are done or if your chosen frame has passed, go back to Step 1.

Tip: If you can’t easily track and measure an intention, consider developing a metric as one of your tasks.

Now get started! If you need some encouragement or feedback, contact us. We’d love to hear your thoughts and challenges, plus give you a little shove forward.

(This was orginally posted in 2007.)

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Bruce Berrien
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