Three things you can do to stay on track towards achieving your goals for the year

This post is the second part of the article from last week where I talked about reviewing your personal development plan (PDP) for the year to see how well you did in the first quarter. If you missed that article, you can read it here.

The first Quarter of 2019 is over. That’s 90 days gone. By now, you should have made some progress towards achieving the goals you set for yourself in your PDP. If you wanted to write a novel this year, for example, and had set yourself a target of writing just 300 words per day, you would have written 27,000 words by now. That’s about 1/3 of the average novel. Consistency adds up.

A stacked set of wooden construction blocks
Keep laying bricks everyday

It’s normal to feel let down if you were unable to complete a larger portion of the tasks you set yourself for the first Quarter. It’s hard to put a number on what counts as a successful quarter or not. Is a 60% achievement rate good for you? 70%? Only you can decide. Remember, your PDP is a living document. You should adjust your plans for Q2 so what didn’t get achieved in Q1 is captured in your Q2 plan with due dates adjusted accordingly. To keep yourself motivated you should also do the following:

Acknowledge any progress you have made

Were you unable to meet your savings target of ₦200,000 in your bank account at the end of Q1. How much did you save? ₦80,000? That’s still progress. You still have some ways to go but you achieved 40% of our savings target. Give yourself a pat on the back for it. Have you done that? Great. Now sit down and analyse your spending habits further. Are there any other places you can spend less so you can save more? How can you make sure you meet your target at the end of Q2?

A scrabble board showing the word "Progress"
Baby steps count

New habits won’t form overnight

Nobody likes to hear this but it’s the harsh truth. Most people can’t make huge lifestyle changes at a go. If you have spent the past 10 years living a very sedentary life, you won’t start running 5km everyday just because you have resolved to live healthier and reduce your body weight. Habits are the results of small behaviours repeated consistently overtime. Some habits take longer to form. Others are easier to break than others. For example, it’s easier to form a habit to decrease your chocolate intake by one bar each week than it is to form the habit to stop smoking. Rather than seeking to make a giant change, seek to make a small change that you can deploy consistently every day to reap the results over a longer period of time. It’s easier to save ₦20,000 every month so you can have ₦240,000 at the end of the year than it is to save ₦200,000 at a go. The same principle applies to goals outside finances too.

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while
What do you do everyday?

Have a support system

Who are your friends? Who are the people around you? Who do you call when things are looking bad? Are they people interested on self-improvement just like you are or are they content to continue living their lives as it is. Are they on the path to achieve similar goals as you? The people around you offer a great support and accountability system if your goals align. You can speak with them when you feel down, knowing they understand the journey you are going through. You can also ask them to help keep you accountable for the goals you set yourself. Having a friend call you once a week to find out how many words of your upcoming novel you have written that week will serve as great motivation. You wouldn’t want to disappoint them. You can also ask them if they went out for exercise that morning as they said they would. In this way, you keep each other from getting too complacent and help each other to make progress on your goals.

"Who has your back?"
Who do you count on to keep you on track?

To recap:

  1. Small victories are progress. Acknowledge and celebrate them.
  2. A habit takes time to form. Don’t expect miracles.
  3. Surround yourself with people who can support you and hold you accountable. This might mean having to change friends.

Good luck. Let’s make Q2 a more productive Quarter.

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