When my family lived in the United States, I converted my garage to a mini fitness gym. I had weight lifting equipment, a treadmill, and even padded flooring where I could train capoeira. At the conclusion of my morning workouts, I would often listen to motivational speeches as I stretched and cleaned up the training space. Speeches by Eric Thomas, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, and Zig Ziglar were among my favorites.
There is one line from a Zig Ziglar speech that I am frequently reminded of when I contemplate skipping the important task of revisiting my goals. Zig Ziglar notes, "how could a man hit a target, he could not see?" He was talking about the importance of identifying your goals and taking the necessary steps to increase your chances of success. This quote resonated with me, because of an experience I had while working as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Teaching and Mentoring with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Honors College.
During the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Center For Faculty Development and Diversity’s (NCFDD) academic boot camp program. The program was designed to create community among academics focused on increasing productivity in their writing, research, and other professional related tasks. In addition to committing to writing for at least 30 minutes every day, we were encouraged to create monthly, weekly and daily goals.
Before this program, I did not practice taking time at the beginning of each month, week or day to write down my goals. I reached a level of success in many areas of my life, but I was largely like the man in Ziglar’s quote hopelessly trying to hit targets that I could not see.
I set goals for my professional, business, and personal life, but I didn’t write them down. I also did not have an accountability partner or group to ensure that I followed through with my goals. As a participant in the NCFDD program with other academics from universities throughout the United States, we were divided into smaller groups. These groups were led by a master coach who held virtual and phone accountability meetings to make sure that we were making progress toward our goals. This process of goal writing, sharing, and reporting to an accountability group was a game changer!
At the conclusion of my participation in the summer program, I accomplished all of my major writing tasks. I continued the implementation of making time to write down my goals at the start of each month and dividing them into smaller achievable daily and weekly tasks. Years later and this approach remains a central part of my planning activities.
Let’s take some time today and revisit our goals. What goals do you have for your professional, business, and personal lives? Share them in the comments and allow me to help you be held accountable.