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No matter how much you’ve accomplished, there’s always the possibility of increasing your productivity and effectiveness so that you can achieve more of your professional goals. Follow these tips to reach higher still.

1. Set the Right Goals

The first step to achieving goals is to set the right ones. Many leadership and organization psychology experts use the acronym SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — to help you hone in on the types of goals that will set you up for success. Besides creating a sense of urgency, a SMART goal is clearly defined. “I’ll go to the gym for an hour before work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” yields better results than a vague, “I’ll get in shape.”

In addition to setting SMART goals, it’s also important to focus on what you can control and not on the outcome, which is out of your control. According to Think Like a Warrior, by sports psychology expert Darin Donnelly, you’ll get the best results, and be happier, if you focus only on your effort and your attitude. Otherwise, if you focus on results and outcomes, you risk getting discouraged and giving up when something doesn’t go your way.

2. Change Your Habits

Most people know that our habits are what help or hurt us the most when it comes to goal achievement. You may be surprised to learn that one of the most effective ways to change a habit is to change your environment, according to Psychology Today.

Often people fall into negative habits due to surrounding stimuli, such as eating ice cream after dinner because you see the ice cream bowls in the cabinet while doing the dishes. In this example, you could benefit by moving the bowls so you don’t encounter them as often and can avoid the negative habit entirely. Likewise in a professional setting, correcting a negative habit could be as simple as turning your desk or working on a different team.

3. Leave Your Comfort Zone

True leaders are willing to make themselves uncomfortable at times for the sake of achieving their goals, according to Kathy Caprino, a career coach and leadership expert who contributes to Forbes. It takes courage, and a willingness to leave your comfort zone and speak up and propose changes to a system that isn’t working. When you point out flaws in the system, you’re bound to encounter naysayers who want to stay in their own comfort zones. However, when you consider what it takes to make a significant positive impact on your organization, it often requires taking a calculated risk.

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CEO & Founder of Best Practice Institute

Retain your best employees, increase productivity, and create a community that fosters peak performance.

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