What Can You Achieve In the Next 90 Days?
October 10, 2016
There are now less than three months until 2017, and for some it might be tempting to start winding down for the year, thereby pushing your major goals over to next year. However, a lot can happen in 90 days, and in fact many business leaders swear that 90 days is exactly the right timeframe for revolutionising your career and hitting your work and personal goals. It is definitely not too late to hit your 2016 goals, so don’t give up just because it’s October.
Life sciences is a fast-moving and often high-pressure field, whether you’re conducting pioneering research in the lab or out on the road selling the newest drug. It’s important to ensure that your professional goals are supported by personal goals that keep you happy and healthy at the same time.
Why long-term goals don’t normally work
We often sabotage our own success by setting long-term goals, such as New Year’s resolutions. The problem with this is that the end-date is so distant that there’s no sense of urgency about reaching them, so after a promising start in January we tend to taper off, only to get to October and feel panicked and guilty for not having progressed any further towards our goals. Humans are short-term creatures for the most part when it comes to motivation, so we need to factor that in when setting our goals.
Why 90 day goal challenges DO work
90 days is perfect for a significant goal, as it forces you to start straight away, and to keep up the momentum if you have any hope of achieving it. And if your goal is more long-term, then we recommend that you break it up into smaller pieces so that you can chase each mini-goal in 90 days segments. Achievement spurs more achievement, and the momentum will increasingly build your belief in your ability to reach the goal.
How to set effective 90 day goals
1. Consider your goals. What is it you most want to accomplish? What will make you feel good about yourself? This careful thinking about what you truly want forces you to prioritise your goals.
2. Don’t have too many goals. If you choose too many you’ll spread yourself too thin to succeed at any of them well, but you can definitely choose both personal and career goals- just make sure they’re complementary. Exercise, for instance, is a fantastic complementary goal as it feeds motivation, beats stress and makes you feel good about yourself.
3. Make sure they stretch you. The only way you can grow is with challenge, so make sure your goals are a bit tough, while still being achievable. There should be something on your list that scares you a little.
4. Write your goals down. Writing goals down make it more likely they will be fulfilled. List them in order of priority.
5. Get technology on your side. There are lots of apps available for goal-setting that may help you, or you might settle for an Excel spreadsheet if that works for you. Be organised and keep everything updated.
6. Make goals specific, time-bound, and measurable. How will you know if you’re on track? Set precise milestones and break down each goal into its smallest components so that you feel a regular sense of achievement when you reach each mini-goal, thereby building a winning sense of momentum.
7. Set rewards. It’s a great idea to set yourself a big reward for reaching your goal- perhaps a holiday or a new gadget you’ve wanted for ages. It’s also a good idea to factor in mini-rewards at stages throughout the 90 days. If you’ve promised yourself a ticket to a game or a massage on the weekend conditional on reaching the goal, then you’re much more likely to do so.
8. Discuss your work goals with your manager or the team. This provides accountability and also some valuable feedback on the feasibility of your goals. (You may need to tweak them.
9. Decide what you’re going to give up. Most life science professionals are extremely busy already, so there’s a good chance that in order to fit in your truly important goals, something else will have to be sacrificed. Is it TV in the evenings? Is it your Sunday morning sleep-in? For those with health goals, the things you’ll give up tend to be more obvious, such as sugar, fried food, or smoking.
10. Work towards the goal every single day. Once you commence your 90 day challenge, make sure you take action every day that moves you toward your goal— however small that action is. You should aim for at least 3 steps a day, but never fail to do at least one thing towards your goal each day or you risk losing momentum.
In truth, it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit every single one of your goals, as long as you hit some of them. The feeling of success you’ll enjoy come January will probably spur you to set a new set of 90 day goals— now that you know what you can achieve in a mere three months.