Conversations at the Crossroads.

Measures and Milestones

When you set an intention, it is important to consider–before you launch out of the gate–how you’ll measure your progress and success.  Otherwise, there is a distinct possibility that you may 1) never “arrive” at your goal, because it doesn’t have a clearly defined moment of fulfillment or completion; or 2) overlook signs that you are making progress, because you haven’t determined what your measures and milestones will be. In either case, the result may be discouragement, loss of momentum, or even resignation. It can be hard to keep moving if you’re not sure you’ll ever get there.

The good news is that answering a few simple questions while setting your goals might nip these challenges in the bud. Ask yourself:

What will be different when I’ve accomplished these goals?

How will I know something has changed?

What will be my new state of being?

A client recently stated a goal to “Take better care of myself.” We might all benefit from setting a goal like that. (Truth!) Yet these words would likely have a different meaning for each of us. I asked my client what it meant to her specifically, and how “taking better care” might play out on a daily or weekly basis.

She explained that building in more time for exercise is an element of this goal. She also intended to set aside time for reflection and planning of professional objectives during a period of transition. When I asked her what a day or week would look like once she had successfully implemented change, she thought it would be great to work out three times each week and to have at least fifteen minutes alone each day to give her thoughts some breathing room.

And so the goal “Taking better care of myself” started to develop solid legs, with plans and tangible next steps unfolding that this client could own and move forward. She would begin with one short workout and ten minutes of quiet time, then see how it goes and move on from there.

From a similar standpoint of greater clarity and definition around the goals we set, it becomes easier to chart a path. We’ll also have a better sense of how we’re doing along the way, because the measures we define upfront can often be broken down into smaller increments of progress.

Think about the goals you have, particularly those that may have stalled or are lingering on your list. Consider how you might gain or regain momentum by adding specificity around the outcome or milestones. If this approach helps (or if it doesn’t), I would love to hear about it.

With support and encouragement for your journey,

Founder, The Crossroads Coach

Published June 16, 2015