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You probably don’t need to know much more about goal setting. Short term, long term, SMART, BHAG, time bound, realistic, practical, stretch, you’ve seen them all. But still you find it difficult to be focused and get the things done that you really want. You feel as though you’re putting in a truck load of effort and little is happening. Distractions, other prioritises, urgent matters keep getting in the way, and it’s not just like to you can ignore the pressing needs of others, but the goals you’ve identified as important are beginning to feel like a burden. Another thing to do instead of “making a difference” or having you feel empowered. In fact, they can be a reminder of how busy you are and how inefficient you can be, instead of making you feel good, you’re feeling worse – so not only are we not doing the things that will make a difference and matter but you are feeling jammed and powerless because if it.

One of the most common mistakes is to look at too many goals and view them in isolation to the whirlwind of business as usual. You see, BAU will always go on, the surprises and changes in your business will always be there. You make grand plans of how things are going to change and get passionate about what you want to do in isolation. This sets you up for failure, leaves you disappointed and in the final gasps of hopelessness you give into the busyness of the every day. You find yourself overwhelmed and quitting on the things that matter most only to be swept along directionless floating up and down on the tide of everyday life, and the sad fact is you’re no alone.

Like most people you’ve tried to better manage your time, get up earlier, block time in your diary only to see it washed away by important meetings or urgent matters which crash your diary like a bunch of twenty somethings at an open party. Or you may be the well organised type who puts things in “task” in your diary only to find you have 15 things to achieve plus your day job the moment you open your emails; you’re overwhelmed at 7am even before the day has begun. You are working harder than ever and still feel like you’re “jogging on the spot”.

Having worked with some of the most successful business professionals and elite athletes they are following five things I see them do consistently. They are disciplined around these five simple but not easy questions.

1.      What’s one “big rock” that will move the dial in your critical area of importance?

2.      Is it simple to get momentum and early wins?

3.      Where’s the most obvious point to start?

4.      What can you do now to start?

5.      If you’re thinking about what could be done, how it should be or what’s possible you’re on the wrong track.

There are times when the system that you’re working, just isn’t going to work. Over thinking leads to procrastination which creates the feeling of you being conflicted and jammed. It feels like walking around with lead boots on and you’re putting the effort in but not getting anywhere.

What’s your experience of getting your goals moving and feeling satisfied with your progress?