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IN our previous post, we discussed five of the best ways to set realistic, relevant goals. But that’s only half the story – because how you set about accomplishing those goals now is just as important as how you clarified them in the first place. Once again, a well thought-out approach is essential. So this time, let’s take a look at five ways to set yourself up for success:

1. Take one step at a time.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Many people procrastinate simply because they don’t know where to begin – well, let’s avoid that potential paralysis right now. A mind map is an excellent way to start: it will help you to break the process into manageable steps and clarify exactly what is required to achieve your target.

2. Work out a realistic timeline.

“I can’t tell you how often I hear PEP participants say I wish I’d started sooner,” says PEPworldwide managing director Kathryn Anda. Setting yourself a deadline is a given; what you also need to do is work backwards from that point and identify exactly when you need to start to achieve what’s necessary within your timeframe.

3. Now schedule the time to do it – and stick to your schedule.

“Your calendar is not just for scheduling meetings with other people!” says Anda. “It’s for scheduling time for your own work, too.” Look at the timeline you’ve established and block out time in your schedule to work on your goal. This may seem obvious, but it’s too easy for your own plans to become buried under others’ demands. Defend your territory! Don’t let others erode the time you have allocated to yourself.

4. Prepare for pitfalls – and be aware of ones that may have sabotaged you in the past.

Productivity specialist and mentor Michael Hyatt recommends taking some time to think through potential stumbling blocks and what countermeasures you will take if they occur. Of course you won’t be able to think of every possible problem, but ensure that your timeline leaves you some wiggle room in case you’re hit with something completely unexpected – and have your contingency plan ready for the issues you have anticipated. Acknowledge your potential weaknesses (like a tendency to be distracted by email) and work out ways to counteract these in advance (disable notifications while you’re working).

5. Review your plan every week.

Review your progress every week: Anda recommends doing a review on a Friday afternoon while your work is still fresh in your mind. If you haven’t yet accomplished everything you need to, establish what’s required to get back on track. Your weekend will be much more relaxed if you have a clear understanding of what you need to do when you return to work on Monday (as you know, at PEP we’re quite big on not taking work home with you) and this also gives you the opportunity to head off anything that may derail your progress.

One final piece of advice? Tell someone about your plans – a support team can provide extra motivation to keep on track. So stay in touch with us about your goals. We’d love to hear how it feels when you achieve them.