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If you’re like me (and about 80% of people I’ve spoken to recently are), you took time in your ‘down time’ over Christmas to reflect on the year that was and clarify your focus on the goals you want to achieve in the coming year.

And why wouldn’t you? We’re always hearing things like “the 3% of Harvard MBA graduates who wrote down their goals earned ten times as much as the other 97% combined.” And “People who write down their goals AND tell a friend are 78% more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.”

Well, I’m calling bullsh*t on that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a big fan of defining your goals, articulating where you want to head, or what you’d like to do differently in your personal and professional life (duh – I am a business coach after all!) It’s just that simply defining your goals isn’t enough. Oh, and by the way – the oft-quoted research study from Harvard (or is it Yale?) is a furphy – although I am sure there has been more research done since 1953!

I’ve no doubt that people who write down their goals achieve more than those who don’t, and yet I’ve lost count of the number of conversations  I’ve had where people have told me “I know what I wanted to achieve, but a whole year has passed and I still haven’t ticked things off my list!”

Sure, everyone’s journey is different, and some people might respond to goal setting better than others;  but right here, right now, I’m going to share the one thing (in my experience) that will make a MASSIVE difference to the achievement of your goals – above and beyond simply writing them down and sharing them.

Can you guess what it is? I’ve listed a bunch of things in another post that will help you too, but without this one core thing, the rest won’t make that much difference.

The secret is…

Now a cynic who doesn’t know us very well might be thinking I’m about to say “employ one of our business coaches” but this blog is not about blatant self-promotion. (That fact should be subliminal!). Other than that, the secret is…

TRACK the achievement of your goals.

If your aim is to get down to a certain weight, weigh yourself and write down your weight once a week.

If you want to increase your annual revenue to $1 million, break up that target into monthly amounts and track how much you’re earning each month against your target, keeping an eye on the cumulative achievement to date.

The act of doing this will not only keep you focused on the results you’re seeking and encourage you to prioritise your time, but will keep you motivated as you see the incremental steps you take towards your goals. And if something goes awry that might prevent you from success, you can address it early and either replace your goals with alternatives, or adjust the activities you’re doing to get you back on track. When you’re talking about business goals, you want to track your achievement of ALL your activity and outcome targets as individual goals as well as your overarching income target.

Use whatever process will work for you to get visibility on your progress towards your goals – a whiteboard, spreadsheets, a big handwritten drawing of a funnel…

Our coaches provide this visibility with our coaching clients, and I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a software app that could make this fun? Make it visual, colourful, interactive. There are a few goal setting apps for mobile phones, but what if there were a piece of software that people could use to galvanise their whole team and have everyone focus on their entire business plan all throughout the year?

I’m so passionate about this that I’ve written some software that will do just that – it will allow users to define their plan on a page (your Evolution Map™), then break up your big picture ideas into manageable chunks. You can then record your activities, achievements and outcomes (via your desktop or mobile phone), so ultimately you will end up with a console on which you can see a visual representation of exactly where you are against where you wanted to be – in real time, using dynamic data.

You’ll have individual dials and graphs showing all of your key drivers of success. You’ll be just like the pit crew of a formula one team – you can view what’s happening under the hood of your business on your screens, and see what to adjust in order to improve performance.

When I say I’VE written it, I’ve designed the program based on the brilliant process and spreadsheets our coaches have used for years, and I’ve found some very clever IT geeks that are (as you read this) busily coding it into a beautiful online application that will make planning and tracking your progress an enjoyable, visual (can I even say funky?) exercise.

We’re on track to launch the software just in time for planning for your next financial year. And in the meantime, seriously, do WHATEVER you can to keep track of your progress, and you’ll find that you’ll get much closer to where you want to be than if you just write down your goals and tell your mum about them.

We’ll keep you posted on the software until it is ready to launch. If you like the idea of it and you’d like us to let you know as soon as its ready, you can put your details in here and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready to go!

Oh – and we found some interesting reading in Forbes magazine – they have a great post on how just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions, and how to make sure you can be one of them.

Sue Viskovic