Do you get frustrated chasing goals? Chasing goals has us searching for the perfect strategy or tool. We think the tool will help us achieve our goals better and quicker. The tool rarely makes a difference. The difference is in the actions we choose, intentional living.
This is the advantage of people who do more with less. They are resourceful in using what they have in order to live the life they desire. They value who they are becoming over what they’ve attained. What would happen if you reframed how you looked at goals? Instead of chasing goals, you commit to stacking progress.
Planning goals can be like riding a roller coaster. There is a thrill of excitement for what is possible. Then mid-way through feel frustrated because you’re not making progress as quickly as you’d like. Impatience causes us to beat ourselves up and derail. Once derailed we believe we have to start over again. But many times you can start right where you are. By starting where you’re at you have the advantage of building on the progress already made. You have the experience of knowing what did and didn’t work thus refine your process moving forward.
I’m not advocating against goals. It is important to recognize the difference between goals, typically short-lived, and intentional living for sustained growth and success.
Chasing Goals in Business
Chasing goals in business can contribute to bad behavior. It can lead to people gaming the system. I observed this with a previous customer service team. Working in a call center requires you to be friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, and efficient. For example, efficient means taking as many calls as possible while effectively helping customers. Performance goals include time spent on calls, accuracy, etc.
The employee would game the system by speeding through calls providing minimum necessary information or transferring the call. This allowed the employee to meet their “time on call” goal. But it led to unhappy customers and increased calls. Then customers had to call back because they didn’t get all the information needed.
So while the employee met a chased goal, they didn’t live up to the service values. Part of great service is not only addressing the customer’s immediate problem but educating them to prevent future problems. Relationships require anticipating needs and addressing them.
Reframed to Lived Values
What would stacking progress look like in business? Instead of chasing goals at all costs how are you living your values? Numbers should be a guide and not the rule. They tell parts of a story to guide our growth, but not the whole story.
Many times we let numbers distract us from what matters. A 100 new customers is great, but what was their experience? How many will buy again? How many will refer you to their friends? You’re managing a growing team, but how many are you coaching to be promoted?
Living your values will do more for your growth and success in life than chasing goals.
Chasing Goals at Home
Chasing goals in our personal lives can lead to superficial goals that leave us feeling empty. Superficial goals defined by family, peers, social media, society but don’t benefit our growth. You’ve seen these goals. To be married by a certain age, read X of books a year, be an author, or achieve VP title. None of these goals define who we are. We waste a lot of time chasing goals that don’t add value to our lives.
Reframed to Authentic Progress
Instead of defining ourselves by what (titles) we should define ourselves by who. Who do we want to be? How do we show up for ourselves, family, friends, peers, and community? Are we actively becoming the best version of ourselves? What is the health of our relationships?
- Read a new subject you’re curious about
- Have a conversation with a friend or family member
- Go for a walk
- Drink a full glass of water first thing
- Enjoy a healthy snack
- Go to bed by 10pm
Note: Depending on the progress you’re stacking your cadence may be different (monthly vs weekly) for some things.
When our lives and routines are disrupted (pandemic, tragedy, breakups) existing goals can be easily dismissed. Thus it is important to rely on what we know. We know who we are and what we value. Then we can continue to stack progress with our actions.
Tracking Progress Tool
I consider myself a goal-oriented person. Examining my own practices and behavior challenged my existing beliefs about goals. It’s contributed to me making changes and focusing more on intentional choices. Choices that consistently support my values daily, others are weekly, monthly, or yearly. These values are community, communication, and character.
PowerSheets is a goal planning tool I’ve used for years. My favorite part is the Tending List which allows me to track my progress, see below. The actions and projects I include in the Tending List all support my values.
I’m an affiliate for Cultivate What Matters. I love how PowerSheets has evolved over the years based on their community feedback. Pictured above, you can see they added more lines to the Tending Sheet.
It is not the perfect tool. It won’t make you achieve goals or make faster progress. You still have to do the work.
What I do enjoy is the intentionality behind the creation of the product. Like any other tool, I make it work for me. I complete the pages I need and don’t feel obligated to fill out everything.