It is easy to set personal and professional goals in the New Year and then quickly forget about them in the day-to-day challenges of life. One of the best ways to help stay on track in achieving your personal and professional goals is to commit to a quarterly check-in on the progress you have made.
For people using the SMART goal format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based), the check-in can be literally checking off what has been accomplished on the worksheet or document. GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Way) goals may be less specific, but they are still reviewable to see if you are meeting your key achievements.
Other forms of goal setting can also be used. These typically provide a general framework for the yearly goals, with a timeline or specific dates to achieve “mini-goals” or milestones along the way.
No one goal-setting formula is right; it is really a matter of what works for you and what the organization may require. Regardless of the way you set goals, the first quarter check-in is a perfect opportunity to see if you need to make changes in your route to achieving your goal or if a modification to the goal may be in order.
Assessing progress is always a positive when people are moving along their journey. However, when the first quarter has been difficult, which is the case for many people this year, assessing progress may also include reflecting on the positive way challenges were managed, the ability to cope with rapid changes, and the need to modify practices to meet ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19.
Anticipating Roadblocks, Challenges, or Obstacles
During the check-in, stop and think about issues you see as potentially playing a role in meeting your goals or falling short of your goals. Is there a way to offset the challenge by planning ahead?
In some cases, knowing what resources are needed is an important part of overcoming obstacles. In having a discussion early in the year, these resources or solutions can be implemented without having a negative impact on personal or professional goals.
Modifying Goals or Setting Stretch Goals
This is also a time to consider challenging yourself or setting stretch goals if you see success in Q1 results. Creating stretch goals is ideal for those who love a challenge or those who are comfortable in thinking outside of the box.
Goals have to be based on reality to be achievable. The first quarter is the ideal time to make goal adjustments to help you to maximize your potential and still see positive results at the end of the year.