Monday Mornings with Madison


Many people view this time of year as a good opportunity to assess, set goals and plan for the future.  But really any time is a good time to tackle the big work/life issues that may improve your life and deliver success.  Perhaps you want to lose weight or quit smoking. Maybe you want to increase your income.  Or possibly you just want to ramp up your efforts to get more done each day.  Whatever your lofty goals, there are a few key steps to follow that will increase your likelihood of success.

1. Establish Milestones. 
Break down your goal into step-by-step milestones. When working towards a goal, having small steps to accomplish before reaching the goal is critical.  For example, if you want to identify 60 new leads over course of a month, break it down into identifying 15 new leads per week or three new leads a day.  That helps put things in perspective and makes the goal more sizable and easier to tackle.

2. Eliminate Distractions.
One of the reasons that some goals are not met is because we’re too busy with other things that detract or distract from the goal.  The day does not get longer just because you’ve set a new goal.  When you add something new to your plate, you need to think about what you may need to remove in order to have the time to focus on the new goal.  For instance, where time is being wasted on things not vital to the goal, such as browsing the Internet or tweeting friends, remove yourself from the distraction. If you’re trying to generate new sales leads, schedule yourself to give sales presentations, participate in networking events, and attend professional trade shows where you can meet new contacts.  On the other hand, if the task is to increase your leads through social networking, then ‘tweeting’ and ‘friending’ may be the very tasks you need to pursue.  Be honest with yourself about what activities you may need to reduce or eliminate.

3. Don’t Procrastinate.
At this point, procrastinators stopped reading and decided to read the rest of the article later.  For those who are still reading, tackle the hardest tasks first.  That ensures you won’t put them off until later.  Instead, they are done and taken care of leaving more time for the tasks you won’t mind doing as much.

4. Put First Things First.
Even after you cut away some unnecessary tasks, there will still be days when there just isn’t enough time to work on your goal. What then? Focus on the most necessary tasks. Keep in mind the Pareto Principle that 80 percent of the value of any event will come from the 20 percent effort that’s put towards it. Concentrate on that 20 percent.

5. Get Organized.
Getting rid of clutter, having a place for everything and everything in its place, and keeping a list of tasks will help you stay the course of your goal. A cluttered environment often means a cluttered mind. It will hold you back from achieving your goal.  For example, if your goal is to lose weight, making sure you have a schedule of the nearby YMCA or local gym will increase the likelihood that you stay on task with your goal beyond the first week or two.

6. Get The Resources You Need.
Like organization, you also need to have the proper resources.  If you have the necessary resources on hand to finish the task, you are more likely to be able to do just that.

7. Reward Yourself.
Small rewards are for achieving minor milestones is important.  These do not have to be big things but they must be something that has value.  For example, if your goal is to quit smoking, then reward yourself with a relaxing massage when you go 30 days without a cigarette.  If that goal is too lofty, then make the rewards more frequent at first and then space them out as it gets easier to achieve the next milestone. 

8.  Make a Friendly Wager.
Apparently, several studies have shown that people who actually make a wager with a friend to see who can lose more weight first are more successful in losing the weight than those who did not wager.  This was so regardless of whether the participants were working with a weight loss program or not. One of the key factors is that the amount being wagered had to be painful to the person placing the bet.  If the wager was only $50, then it was less likely work as a catalyst than if the wager was an amount that would be painful to the pocket such as $500. The amount of course varies depending on the individuals.   The other key factor is that the money needed to go to a cause that the person really did not want to support.  For example, if a staunch Republican lost the bet, the money would go the Democratic National Committee.  While we are in no way endorsing gambling, a little friendly competition seems to go a long way to achieving difficult goals.

Incorporate these strategies into your day to day tasks.  Then watch as you move swiftly toward accomplishing your goals.


“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. ” Confucius

© 2010 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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