This truism is attributed to management guru Peter Drucker, but it has far wider application than to business management alone.
To make things happen we have to pay attention to them, and where our attention goes, thus follows our efforts and achievements. We all have dreams, goals and ideas, things we would like to do, to change, to obtain or to succeed with. At this time of year we are encouraged to think about the months ahead and set goals for ourselves, to define what it is that we are working towards and set it down, make some personal or even public commitment to it.
Last week we looked at the power of crowds in helping us commit to our goals in weight loss, and using the online application Diet Bet to enforce accountability in a public way – ramping up our personal motivation with the encouragement of others, and offering genuine stakes for success or failure. But as well as the tangible rewards (or otherwise) of losing weight in a team in this way, applications like Diet Bet have a wider purpose – they make you pay attention to what you are doing. To be successful, you have to immerse yourself in it to an extent, check in regularly, notice what you are achieving and whether your chosen plan of diet or exercise is actually being effective and keeping you on track. Note that Diet Bet doesn’t dictate a plan for you to follow – goodness knows there are a million different diets and regimes and books and websites and approaches to choose between on that, and the choice is very personal. But what it does is make you monitor how you are doing and notice it, generating graphs and charts and trends and milestones along the way – to celebrate or take heed of as necessary. The idea is NOT to get to the end of the 4 week challenge and then find out how you did, but instead to pay attention and measure it all the way through.
So what if you could apply this to other areas of your life, and achieve similar results? Well, the good news is that you can. Whatever your goals for 2013, if you can measure it, there is an app that can help you manage it.
Of course weight loss is easy by comparison – to measure, that is! I didn’t say easy to actually achieve. But simple enough to weigh yourself frequently and track how you’re doing. To put it another way the metric is obvious. Other things we want to get done this year might be less easy to define in terms of what we want to measure, but the title of this article still holds good: find a way to measure how you are doing, and the chances of actually doing it improve no end.
One application that might help you is http://lifetick.com/
This is an online service that employs a lot of the techniques we looked at in DietBet, but starts from further back with defining your goals, in terms of your core values – if what you are trying to achieve doesn’t fit with who you are and what you really want out of life deep down, it isn’t going to happen. But it seems to have a good balance of tools to help you drill down from the big picture stuff, to what you have to do next to make it happen.
Part of making it possible to achieve a goal is that it has to be both trackable and achieveable, and LifeTick borrows again from classic management theory by encouraging you to define SMART goals to aim for – Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Relevant and Time-specific. If you don’t know what it is you want, can’t measure it, it’s irrelevant or out of reach you haven’t got a chance, and until you put a timeframe on it it’s just a dream without a plan.
You can set goals, define tasks, synch with online calendars such as ical and Google Calendar, even Outlook, so that you get timely reminders to keep you on track.
Of course you need to keep your goals and your progress toward them in front of you, so they also have apps for Android and iPhone too. Measure it and you will manage it, so once you make sure you are tracking the right things, Life Tick makes it easy to measure all that you need to for staying on top of your goals. You are encouraged to review them daily, to keep your visions live and in focus – like the dusty business plan mouldering on the office shelf, your goals for 2013 are no use if you just set them down and walk away.
And, because this is 2013, there is a sharing and social element too. Some goals are joint efforts and work best collaboratively, sharing accountability and encouragement either personally or professionally. There is even a professional package, which you can use as a lifecoach or business coach to help other people move successfully towards their goals.
Pricing is flexible and low cost, you can trial it for free with a limited range of goals and functions, then opt to upgrade if you like it – which unlocks a new tools such as journaling and data export. If you want it in English, tell it you are in the UK when you sign up and all will be well. Good luck, and keep us posted on how you are achieving your goals.
And don’t forget to make one of them our very own Costa Connected Diet Bet, (find out more at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Costaconnected/) if you feel like joining us, it doesn’t start until February so plenty of time to get involved.
Published in Costa Blanca News, 11th January 2013