Milestones help you stick to your Big Goals

“How do you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

You’ve probably heard this old joke before. But it’s a useful one for how we might think about our Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

When you’re creating your Vision in Reclaro 1-3-5®, it’s probably a big ambitious outcome that you want to achieve a year or 18 months down the line. You might want to double your revenue, or open five overseas offices, or exit your business. Or all three!

The problem is that people often lose interest in their long-term goals. That may be because their new goals involve setting new habits (which are hard to maintain). Or they may be in love with the goal but not the process of achieving that goal (you want to be professional athlete, but don’t want to get up and run on a rainy winter’s morning). Or they may just get easily bored – or worse, burned out.

Break it down – so you don’t have a breakdown

That’s why Reclaro 1-3-5® breaks down your 1 big vision into 3 manageable core objectives and 5 goals.

That works well enough for most people we see using the app. But for some people, especially millennials, that’s still too much. We live in a world of instant gratification. Humans now need instant feedback, immediate pleasure and fulfilment.

So the way to help your team achieve their ultimate vision is to break it down further – into milestones with micro rewards attached to them.

But how do you do that? Well, we can learn from other successful people and how they do it.

Learn from the pros

Professional athletes do this all the time. Let’s take a theoretical example of a 1,500 metre runner.

Her vision may be to win Olympic gold in four years’ time. To achieve that, she may set herself three key objectives – one around skills, race tactics and technique, one around fitness and one around mental toughness. And for each of her three key objectives, she may set 5 goals. Taking her core objective of fitness, her goals could be to run a sub-four-minute mile, bench press 100kg, deadlift three times their own body weight, do 20 pullups and sprint 100 metres in under 12 seconds.

The thing is, each of these five goals are challenging outcomes in their own right. So the athlete may take each of them and set smaller milestones to keep them engaged with the process of moving towards those outcomes.

Taking the goal of being able to do 20 pullups, our athlete may only be able to do 5 of them today. But she may set a milestone of being able to do 7 by next month and 10 by the end of the next quarter and 12 by the end of the year.

She can attach rewards to those milestones to encourage and motivate her. Have you noticed how many apps give you rewards, badges, stickers and coins for achieving small milestones? They do that for a good reason – it’s a micro reward that touches on a basic human need to have our achievements acknowledged.

Can you apply this?

Sporting analogies are often applied to business. But that’s for a good reason. There are clear applications from one to the other – they’re competitive, based on seeking achievement, and often require teamwork and communication. The setting of smaller milestones around medium-term goals and longer-term ambitions is an equally useful tactic for both sports coaches and business leaders.

How might you apply milestone setting to your team’s goals? These could be things like weekly sales targets – with a reward of an early finish on a Friday and a few beers. Or it could be an increase in the weekly customer satisfaction score. Or it could be a 1% increase in profit margin against a bigger goal to increase it by 5%.

If you’re working with Reclaro 1-3-5® and have a plan set up, a great way to keep yourself and your team fully engaged is to look at your goals and set shorter-term milestones. Have a go and let us know how you get on. We love to hear your stories.

Posted by Ross Hunter

Last updated: 30 January 2020

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