Are Your Goals Agile?

I call BS on the idea that goals need to be fixed and linear. You’ve probably seen one of the many memes that depicts setting and reaching goals in a nice stair-step formation. Yeah, not so much.

It’s pretty obvious right now (almost a year into a global pandemic) that goals had to shift. I’d take that a step further and argue that goals should shift – and not just in times of a pandemic!

Our goals were never meant to be fixed. Rarely, if ever, is there a nice linear path from goal setting to goal achieving. There is a better way.

A very long time ago, I was in tech. First as a systems administrator, then as a technical recruiter. I talked to technologists all day every day, and a few things stuck with me. Back in the day, software development used to follow a liner process called Waterfall. It was pretty simple – much like the stair-step meme of goals. First there was an idea, then there was some development, then comes quality assurance, then alpha & beta releases, then final release. Seems simple, yet even though I’ve never coded a day in my life, I know that a process like that seems way to simple to be effective.

Enter Agile methodology. Agile took the linear, Waterfall methodology and made it iterative. Suddenly coding was being done at the same time as quality assurance. The two groups worked together and met frequently to check in on progress and goals. The results spoke for themselves. Software was not only developed more quickly, it was more accurate and better able to meet the demands of the ever-changing market.

Your goals need to meet the demands of your ever-changing life! They need to be Agile. Just like a software development team meets frequently to review their progress, you and your goals can meet frequently – I’d suggest reviewing them at least quarterly.

Here are some questions to help you make your goals Agile:

  • What has changed?
  • Has your progress helped you to see things differently?
  • Have circumstances created the need for a change in goals?
  • Why do you want your goals? (hint: Thinking about how you’ll feel when you reach a goal gives you great insight into your why.)
  • Do you still want these goals?
  • What can you do to feel the way you want to feel, even before you reach a goal?

As you move throughout this year, look at your goals through this new lens. Allow them to be adjusted as circumstances (and you!) change. Question the why behind your goals and look at infusing your life with more of that, while you’re on your way to meeting a goal.

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