• James Walton

A Simple Method to Increase Goal Attainment

There's a few basic things we know about goal setting and attainment.

  • Goals should be written down

  • Goals should be measurable and timebound

  • Goals should be tracked in a simple, visual manner

Let's add a little nuance to that last point by saying goals should be tracked in a tactile, visual manner. Let me give you quick example from a book whose name I've now forgotten and whose details I'm probably getting incorrect in the retelling. There was a financial manager at a bank in the remotest parts of Canada. He carried no advanced degree or obvious characteristic why he would stand out from among his peers. Yet within 6 months on the job, he had more assets under management than anyone in his branch, and indeed, in the entire company. His secret? Two jars, one filled with 100 marbles and the other empty. Each time he made a sales call, he moved a marble. Each day, his only goal was to move the 100 marbles from one jar to the other. Over time, this dedication to a simple habit built a successful career. The means by which he measured his goal was tactile and visual. In my own life, I use a magnetic whiteboard and a series of little magnetic tabs with numbers written on them. Each time I take a step towards my goal, I move a tab from the pile onto the board. The physical act of adding a tab to the board is a miniature celebration unto itself, prompting a jolt of endorphins and keeping me focused on the overall goal. So if you've set a written goal for yourself, make it measurable and timebound, and build a scoreboard that enables you to make tactile progress. P.S. Does that Canadian financial manager story ring a bell for anyone? What's the book we found it in?

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