Many organizations and teams spend the last month of the year reflecting on past goals, celebrating successes, and strategizing for the year ahead. It’s this collaboration that makes the beginning of a new year so symbolic and special – it creates excitement, energy, and possibility.
Yet, on an individual and organizational level, many fail at sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions or at achieving their annual goals. In fact, of the people who commit to a resolution, only 9-12% actually succeed.
What’s more interesting is the fall off: within the first week of a new year, just 75% are still successful at keeping their resolution. After one month, the number drops down to 64%, and after six months, only 46% of people are on track to achieve their goal. Perhaps these percentages are different when there’s a paycheck involved, but still. It’s easy to lose sight of goals when you’re five, seven, or nine months into the year.
While our goals and resolutions are fresh in our minds, the question remains: how do we stay consistent in our efforts to attain our goals?
Set for Success
You’ve set goals for yourself or together as an organization. Now what? As you revisit and focus on your 2023 goals, you should consider the following:
1. Quality over quantity
It’s okay to be ambitious and shoot for the stars. When it comes to goals, though, quality is often better than quantity. Afterall, achieving thirty goals in one year is a difficult feat, in comparison to a few, high-quality goals. We encourage the teams we work with to map their goals visually, which helps them narrow the scope, identify where there’s overlap, and creates a group consensus on what the organization will work toward.
In setting goals, accountability can be applied in two ways: (1) internal accountability, and (2) external accountability. Both significantly impact the ability to achieve one’s goals. Internal accountability is a commitment to yourself and your goals; that you the goal setter will hold yourself accountable in achieving them. The latter involves an external partner who will hold you responsible to your goals. A trick our clients use to induce accountability of organizational goals is to print and hang their ImageThink strategic visuals in an office, shared communal space, or somewhere prominent to keep their goals top of mind.
3. Celebrating small wins
When you set a big, lofty goal for yourself or your organization, it’s easy to feel defeated by pressure and time constraints. That’s why it’s important to remember that goals are achieved gradually, and why rewarding small victories matters. Not only will these celebrations build motivation to continue your pursuit, but it will also indicate that you are moving closer to the finish line. In an ImageThink project or journey map (either for an organization, customer, student, or other), we like to include mile markers that capture smaller tasks which, when completed, contribute to the overarching goal. Turning your goals and resolutions into a visual roadmap or even a simple grid permits the marking of accomplishments to make the small wins feel big.
Between Start and Finish
How you start, and how you finish most certainly matter; but it’s the space and time between the two that truly count. The “between” of reaching any goal often presents challenges in the form of real, tangible or intangible roadblocks. With visual leadership and tools, teams can actively map projects and journeys, find purpose in their goals, and tackle disruptions to march forward.
Maintaining motivation after setting an initial goal is an ongoing process that involves keeping in tune with yourself, or your team. This is where a visual roadmap, and/or visual exercises come in handy – creating a regular evaluation of goals, team behavior and attitudes, and overall progress. With visual tools, the feedback loop is quicker, allowing teams to uncover potential gaps in their strategy, troubleshoot issues, and see their contributions in real time.
Another tip when pursuing goals is to create and maintain an open line of communication with your team, so as to identify when motivation is swaying. Having this resource provides comfortability and safety in addressing problems, allowing them to be dealt with swiftly. The result is a stronger team with the vigor to reach their resolutions.
Practice Planning Makes Perfect
In order for an idea, resolution, or goal to come to fruition, a plan of action is necessary. Among uncovering problems, and providing direction, planning gives perspective on what is possible by forcing a team or individual to focus on the “how.” A clear course of action is the difference between those who achieve their goals and resolutions, and those who don’t.
ImageThink believes that visualizing a plan of action propels an individual or team to make confident strides toward what they set out to achieve. There’s a good reason for this – our brain has a strong aptitude for visual processing. When teams leverage visuals and imagery in the planning process, they are using their “whole” brain to think through a project, vision, or action item from all angles.
With a graphic facilitator from ImageThink, it’s easy to work through the critical, fine details. Collaborating and ideating visually helps establish roles, identify resources, uncover potential roadblocks, and prioritize tasks to move the dial. When the boards are filled, individuals and teams can begin to see the bigger picture.
If you’ve got big goals for 2023, and are working toward a brighter future for yourself, team, or organization, let’s visualize it. Click or call today to connect with our sales team and get an ImageThink visual strategist at your next meeting or conference.