Tips on How to Stick to Your Personal Development Goals ( First Part)
The truth is, people are asking me during workshops: 'Okay, the workshop is great and offers a great deal of insights, but what happens as soon as I am back in the office? How will it be possible to maintain the momentum?'
So, let's say I showed you a proven strategy which avoids that personal development goals just remain some words written on the paper? Let me provide you with my personal answer to this question. It is not magic, it is actually quite easy and it works.
How come the personal development goal itself is so essential?
'Imagine you are in an annual interview together with your boss, both of you were asked to reflect upfront about possible personal development goals for you.' You say: 'I would like to improve my French, that could allow me to communicate better with my colleagues on the project and there would be less misunderstandings.'
Boss: 'I would encourage you to definitely generally listen more. We have the impression you communicate a lot during meetings and push your opinion.'
Well, those suggestions are really different... We can easily argue as to what the boss is saying, nevertheless isn't the topic here.
There are 2 clear differences between both suggestions:
a. Personal interest: You'll probably prefer your suggestion more, because you have a personal interest and as a consequence very likely more motivation.
b. Old versus new: Your suggestion includes learning a whole new skill, something technical which can be learned. Your manager is addressing something less tangible that is likely associated with your behaviour and beliefs.
These differences may have an impact on how you progress. It can be harder to change an existing behaviour rather than develop a new skill. Just bare at heart this difference when actually starting your self development plan with your goals and actions, which doesn't mean that you simply avoid to get rid of old annoying habits. Seriously. Do you agree?
The ability of being dedicated to your goals, including the ones which were suggested to you. Now, suppose that your supervisor has validated a 20-hour French course for you on the condition that you begin working on your listening skills via an in-house seminar.
Having both goals in your mind, I would like to reveal to you my favourite 3 methods in order to stick to my self development plan. And this will be from my personal experience - Not simply me taking what other people are saying and sharing it with you. Are you prepared for for the first one? Lets go.
#1: The Blank Page Benefit (Mindset & Focus)
I can hear you asking: 'What is a Blank Page Benefit?'
The Blank Page Benefit (that's what I call it) is a method to remain focused on your objectives, while being as unbiased as you possibly can with regard to the upcoming steps and experiences. This method actually works in many circumstances, notably in new and insecure environments. Those steps you should take whenever your boss tells you to participate in at a particular training and you want to get something out of it.
How to begin with a blank page?
Step #1: Look yourself in the mirror (literally) and tell yourself to start from zero. No expectations, no false hope, no flawed info from other people. Reset your thoughts whenever possible.
Step # 2: Repeat step one as often as some negative thoughts appear, like I am not going to be able to change. This absolutely should enable you to regain a positive state of mind. For this you will have to learn to monitor your own thinking. In the beginning, set yourself a fixed time per day, when you analyse your thoughts. The more often you're doing so, the more of a habit it becomes.
Step #3: Enforce the positive state of mind, the more positive you think, the better positive results you will observe, negative elements will end up smaller (this technique is also utilized in meditation, for this specific reason).
Step #4: Note down your objective on a sheet of paper and place it somewhere visible in your office (or put on your list of priorities, if you have one). To go on with the example, link the goal to speak French with a trip to France - this can make it more tangible and something to look forward to.
Step #5: Track your benefit progress. It is not easy to always have a positive mindset, so, you'll want to praise yourself every once in while through literally noting down the steps you take to reach the goal. You can use a simple paper for this, or if you are a smartphone lover, you could use this cool app called Lift.
Ok, this is it for now. There's two more tactics to follow in the next article. Check it out!