Is 90-days the optimal timeframe for achieving goals?
’90 – day goals changed my life’ says Tom Mendoza, vice chairman of NetApp. Tom hit on the idea of 90 day goals back in 1989 and has achieved fantastic results using and sharing his goal setting process ever since.
How does it work?
Tom’s first tip:
1) be specific and include outcomes in your goal
2) set a deadline for achieving your goal
3) write your goal down
Need more info at this stage? Take a look at this earlier post, Four Steps to Successful Goal Setting
Why 90 days?
This is where Tom’s advice moves away from the mainstream on goal setting. Most techniques advise setting deadlines for goals but don’t specify timeframes.
Tom found that when he set himself six monthly deadlines, he waited until the last 90 days to actually start work on his goals. Imposing a 90-day deadline meant the goal was a top priority for the whole 90 days. A 90-day goal allows no time for procrastination and means you get started on your goal now.
Set three personal and three professional goals
I really like this tip! It encourages an integrated approach to life and contributes to the bigger picture. When we achieve goals we feel good, when we feel good it shows and others notice our confidence, assuming we have something to be confident about! Tom describes this as a personal feedback loop that will create lasting, positive change.
What can you do to stretch yourself and feel good in 90 days?
Tom suggests we keep our personal goals, well, personal. Don’t share these three personal goals, they are for you to ask what you can do to really stretch yourself over the next 90 days.
Share your three professional goals
Whereas your three personal 90-day goals will be private, your professional goals are for sharing. Sharing can help hold you accountable. But Tom pushes past just using this as an accountability technique by asking his boss and team how they’d feel if he achieved his goal in 90 days. He uses their feedback to sharpen his goals before he gets to work on them.
Three steps once you have your six goals
1. Set aside your goals for 24 hours and then return to them and ask,
2. Will I be proud of myself when I’ve achieved this goal?
3. Prioritise your goals. Place action times in your diary for working on goals. Make sure these appointments are never broken, they are your highest priority.
And after 90 days?
Tom recommends this process for ongoing motivation, at the end of 90 days you have an achievement to feel proud of. The process enables an increase in self belief and develops higher expectations for future achievements. Every 90 days is an opportunity to aim higher.
Like to know more?
Tom Mendoza’s ‘Tom Talks’ 90-day goals video: