Brian, a senior associate for a Lake Oswego, Oregon accounting and wealth management firm, told session four of the Leadership Development LAB:
“Four years ago I started studying for the CPA exam (Certified Public Accountant). For those of us working in public accounting, this is a critical certification for not only the advancement of your career but also your earning potential. The exam compares to the BAR exam lawyers must pass regarding difficulty. My goal when I started studying was to finish my studies and pass the test in one year, so I could receive a bonus my firm was offering for completing it within a one-year time frame.
“I knew I had to change my approach to achieve this goal. Time was of the essence on this goal and time deadlines were something I had struggled with regarding previous goals.
“I designed and set up a new ‘Standard Routine’ for myself. What do I mean by that? My ‘Standard Routine’ for studying was to complete one chapter a day. That meant getting through all the questions, videos, reading material, etc. Now there were days when I was feeling good and would complete two chapters a day, but the benefit came on the days that I wasn’t feeling good. On those days I would tell myself, ‘You just have to get through one chapter.’ By doing this, it allowed me to progress very quickly through the studies and pass the exam. I received that bonus, but most importantly received my certification!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is for me to reach stretch goals I must create and commit to a changed routine.
“The action I call you to take is if there is a goal or something you are struggling with accomplishing, set up a new ‘Standard Routine’ and stick to it with committed action.
“The benefit you will gain by doing this is you will achieve your goals quickly and accomplish more in your career.”
So, what are your goals for 2019? I know you have some. It’s impossible to reflect on 2018 and anticipate 2019 without thinking of some things you want to do, some things you want to accomplish, some things you want to have before 2019 concludes. What we can be sure of is that if these things you want to do and have are significant, and I bet they are, you will have to change your routine.
Routines become habitual – they become more than routines they become habits. We must always remember that we formed those habits and we can form new habits. We can break old routines and break old habits. And in the end, that’s the beauty of stretching goals. They help us become more than we’d ever been without them. So, I challenge you to set 19 stretching goals for 2019 and change your routine. You will pass the test. You will reach your 2019 goals!