As independent contractors, you ought to have a say in who you work with, where,
when, and at what prices. Flexibility that allows you to spend your free time how
you best see fit - whether that’s with loved ones or on projects you care about.
But to stay focused all-around, set a fulfilling vision that allows you to fill your
free time with joy, rather than job. You’ll need to outline the path that will get you
there: know where you want to go to understand which checkboxes to tick along
the way. That represents an investment in both time, energy, and resources. It
also requires a process-oriented approach, and the commitment to adhere to it.
Take New Years for example, when we find ourselves making ambitious
resolutions for the upcoming year. While research shows that the number of
adults that make New Year’s resolutions hovers between 40 and 50%, less than
10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. From ‘Dry January’
challenges that end up lasting a week, to unsustainable fad diets that barely make
it through the month of February, there’s a lot to be said about unrealistic goals
and inefficient planning. Such failures demonstrate that while setting goals for
oneself is as common as it is easy, it’s actually all irrelevant if we end up giving up
on them along the way.
Setting objectives that stick
There’s no universal answer to this, but the following rules can rid you of 3 bad habits that get in the way of results. Get them right, and you’ll have solved a big chunk of your problem. Let’s begin!
1/ Stop setting weak goals.
Weak goals are essentially low standards for success: they’re too comfortable and
too convenient. Indeed, a goal that doesn’t require extra effort, or only leverages a
fraction of our skill set, generally won’t produce personal or professional growth.
Don’t plan your agenda around objectives that neither excite, nor challenge you,
set challenging goals for yourself! Because challenging goals require constant
innovation and improvements, they will keep you properly motivated and lead you
to do things differently, to doing different things, or both.
2/ Don’t set unrealistic goals.
Setting goals you think you can achieve is imperative. By starting with the belief
that a goal is too hard before you even start, chances are it will be. If you feel
overwhelmed, find ways to break down your objective into smaller, more
manageable benchmarks. No matter how big or small, achievements are typically
made up of a series of small steps that result in minor changes. These changes
build on one another until you wake up one day to realise you’re closer to the
finish line than ever before. But be realistic from the beginning, and don’t bite off
more than you can chew.
3/ Measure your progress along the way.
To know where you’re going, you better know where you’re starting from - so
begin by setting yourself a timeline to success. Starting today. Then, determine
your course of action by setting up measurable milestones to test your progress.
Be specific! To help you visualise how much (or how little) you’ve improved since
“Day 1” these need to be clear and actionable. Do not merely “do” things: deliver
results that you can assess, refine, and reward. Your growth depends on your
ability to see both trees and the forrest.
Following through on professional & personal objectives can require significant
changes to your routine. Whether this means working longer hours, or working
“smarter” to accommodate improved levels of productivity - no matter what works
for you, make sure you find a framework you find practical, actionable, and... fun.