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  • Writer's pictureLynette Jackson

Don’t Fall Victim to the Over-Goal

Hello again. I know last week’s content was a lot to consider, but it’ll be easier next year when you get started on those tasks earlier. So, as we close the first quarter of 2019, I want to ask: How are you doing with your goals? We’re usually so eager to start the year with big ideas and new beginnings. The question is, are you still on track to conquer your goals or are you already behind?

I once read an article that said only 8% of people achieve their annual goals. So, what are these 8% doing that the 92% are not?

Many times, we do what I call “over-goal”. Over-goal is quite simply, when you try to do too much. The goal sounds good and may even look good on paper, but it is not realistic. As an ambitious leader who wants to set meaningful goals that are within reach, how do you hold your place in that 8%?

You already know the answer; you may just not know how to implement it. Remember SMART goals?






SMART goals are the antithesis of the over-goal. SMART goals allows you to set realistic goals but there’s still a catch.

While goal setting and action planning are critical at the start of a new year, we seldom refer back to our goals by the end of the first quarter, to see if we’re on track. And, if you’re not on track, it mostly boils down to us creating some simple habits that keep us accountable. Today we’re going to work on a few habits that will help us stay on track throughout the year.

First, go back through your 2019 goals and make sure they are SMART. Be specific. Put a plan in place that is measurable and determine how you will measure the success of this goal. Design the goal so that it is easy to achieve. Set the bar where you can reach as high as the circumstances you control will allow. Is the goal or plan relevant to the overall mission or vision? And know exactly when the goal will be complete.

Now, let’s look at why the 8% are successful.


Before you head out on a journey to your destiny, it is important to know where you are going and map the path to your destination. I heard someone say, “a goal without a clear path is a pipe dream.” Look at your goal like you were taking a road trip. You are responsible for mapping out the route, servicing your car, putting gas in the car, and setting the GPS. A goal is very similar. You need to map out the course, write down all the items required to fulfill that goal, gas up the goal by sharing it with others, and like the GPS you need to know when you’re off course.


Most successful people are people who achieve their goals, don’t do it alone. They make sure they have a fantastic support team. I worked with the former CIO of Turner Broadcasting for eight years who received four promotions during that time. He was a great leader and always achieved his yearly goals. I finally asked him how he did it.

He confided, “I am not afraid to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am. I build my support team with people who align themselves with the overall goal, and I empower each of them to get the job done. I surround myself with the experts and we meet regularly to ensure that we’re on track. If getting it done means I need a coach on my team, I get a coach.” Not only was he successful, but his team trusted him as a leader.


We have all fallen in the pit of this dirty word, “procrastination.” It is a dark place that makes it difficult to find your way back to your path. Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task. Even I fall into this pit of procrastination sometimes, and it is usually because I am not prepared or simply don’t enjoy the task. The typical reaction is to avoid the responsibility or job associated with our goals when it is difficult or unpleasant. When that happens here is what you should do:

  • Create a to-do list with a clear schedule that details when you are going to complete the task.

  • Work back from your deadline to schedule sub-tasks and milestones.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. The clock ticks louder the longer you wait and brings on unnecessary stress about the task.

  • Focus on one thing at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Break up the work and set smaller achievable wins.

  • Don’t be a perfectionist. I had a friend who confided that perfectionism was her means to procrastinate, she always needed more time to make it “perfect”—knowing that nothing is ever truly perfect. Instead, do your best work.


Interval training, like that used in sports, can work to help you get better results in your work day. Every hard worker has those moments when they power through, without rests or breaks. But sometimes, we are so focused on the work that we may have forgotten to eat or told ourselves we didn’t have the time. Apple has a feature on their apple watch that tells you it’s time to stand or breathe. I have used that feature a lot when I am powering through on a task. I work for about 52 minutes, and I stand or walk around or rest my mind for 17 minutes. It helps to keep me focused, and I find that when I come back to my desk after the break, I feel refreshed and more attentive to the task at hand. We often think that working extended hours makes us more productive, when it is working smarter that makes us productive and allows us to check off that to-do list. Take a break when you need it.


As you close out the first quarter, look back at your goals to see how far you’ve come. Did you reach milestones on time? If so, celebrate. Make announcements and acknowledge the win when the team reaches milestones or goals. If you didn’t reach the milestones on time, debrief with the team to understand why the mark was missed, what is the new target, and what support or resources are needed to reach the mark. And look forward, are you on track to reach the next milestone? Make this a quarterly practice with your team and hold everyone accountable for reporting on their progress towards their goals.

As you go into this next quarter, I hope you get excited again about your goals. Work with your team to make sure everyone set SMART goals and don’t forget to celebrate the wins. Keep everyone accountable and I hope to see you among the 8% at the end of the year!

And, don’t forget, part of your exclusive membership means you have access to me for support. Don’t hesitate to email me with your questions or just to share your successes. You can always reach me at

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