There are so many types of goals – for example, short-term goals, long-term goals, vision goals, strategic goals, life goals and SMART goals, to name just a few. In business, and in life, we are trained to set goals and to track results. I have always done this. I love a good metric and I absolutely love ticking things off as I achieve my goals. At the start of the year I set myself specific targets in terms of my career, business, health and finance. 2020 was no different. I set my goals, I began working towards them, I was on track. And then COVID happened. Overnight, my ability to achieve my goals was significantly impacted. And as a Victorian, not only did we have the interruption of lockdown 1.0 but we were then further disrupted by lockdown 2.0.

Suddenly, I had to change my goals. But change them to what? Over the last few months I have found it very difficult to set medium-term goals amidst so much change and uncertainty. I know where I want to be in the next four or five years, but who knows what is going to play out over the next month, two months or six months?

And I know I’m not the only one experiencing this. I speak to people every day about their goals and it’s clear that many of us are finding it hard to commit to a direction or a plan in the short- or medium-term. I was in a dilemma – I knew the importance of having a vision but I didn’t feel I had the necessary information to set realistic goals. Do I change direction or not? Do I launch that new marketing campaign, or not? Do I develop that new program, or not? Do I invest in new people for my team or not? Do I book our Christmas holiday, or not? Do I move house or just build an outside office?

But what I realised is that our goals too often tend to be output goals. Output goals are those centred on a particular outcome or measure of success, for example, getting that job, promotion or new client. What has worked for me recently is changing my focus from output goals – what I am going to achieve – to input goals – what plans can I put in place to achieve my long-term output goals. Now, more than ever, we cannot control or predict people’s reaction, decisions or results. We can only control our own behaviours and choices.

In business, I have changed my goals from, for example, ‘I will gain X number of new clients’ to ‘I will reach out/meet with /speak to X number of new people’. In terms of health goals, I have changed from ‘I want to lose X kgs’ to ‘I will exercise for 35 minutes a day.’

Other examples of how output goals might be reframed to input goals include the following.

  • ‘I will be promoted in six months’ time’ could become ‘I will spend one hour a week developing my career.’
  • ‘I will build my network to 5000 people on LinkedIn’ could become ‘I will spend 30 minutes a day reaching out to people on LinkedIn.’
  • ‘I will achieve High Distinctions in all the subjects I’m studying’ could become ‘I will spend a minimum of one hour a day studying.’
  • As the saying goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
  • Setting these input goals has allowed me to move forward during this period of uncertainty, and to feel in more control of my destiny. It also allows me to celebrate wins along the way.
  • If you would like any assistance setting your input goals or to see how goal setting can help your team, please register for our free version of Peeplcoach and book in for your free consulting or coaching session.

As the saying goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Setting these input goals has allowed me to move forward during this period of uncertainty, and to feel in more control of my destiny. It also allows me to celebrate wins along the way.

If you would like any assistance setting your input goals or to see how goal setting can help your team, please register for our free version of Peeplcoach and book in for your free consulting or coaching session.

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