One of the challenges with any type of goal setting activity for those in leadership positions is the difficulty in dealing with issues that may make it seem like an impossibility to keep on track. After all, in a leadership position, there is the need to be able to rapidly respond to all types of issues and situations, some which pull you away from your action steps, a timeline for your goals, or even from the goal itself.
Of course, there is also the human factor to consider. It is very common to find a goal is more complex and involved than first assumed, and this can create a sense of being overwhelmed in keeping up the steps you have committed to in your goal. There is also the issue of simply not meeting your goal action steps, or perhaps falling off the plan completely.
When these things happen, particularly for highly motivated and self-starting leaders, it can create a sense of discouragement or even disappointment in the deviation from the plan. While this natural and perhaps even predictable, it can be self-damaging if the goals are left behind or if the individual simply gives up on achieving those goals.
Start From Where You Left Off
A trait that can be developed is the ability to show persistence when things may not go as planned. Instead of seeing a lack of progress or a slip from the goal as a signal to quit, use it as a time to improve your persistence in working towards things that are personal and professional importance.
Starting over is not necessary, but it is essential to pick up from where you left off. Depending on the specific goals, there may need to be modifications made to the goal if time-sensitive issues in the plan are no longer applicable.
Use this as a learning tool and assess or evaluate the action and the timeless of your goal, particularly when using a SMART goal process. This evaluation and assessment time may also be reflected in changes in action plan steps and the timelines you set for yourself in the modification or update of the goal.
Reflect on the Deviation
One common reason for deviations in a goal is not just a lack of persistence or willpower, but perhaps a lack of passion about a goal. When there is a lack of passion for making changes, or they are not important to us on a personal or professional level, it is often easy to let things slide or to make excuses to ourselves for not getting them done.
Slipping up on a goal is not a failure. Instead, evaluate your goal, check its relevance and your level of passion to complete the goal, and get back on track.