Quality of Care Ltd

How to Set and Achieve Your Goals – Part 2

Setting the right goals is one thing but successfully achieving them is quite another.

Most goals aren’t successfully achieved. But because in the previous post we looked at how to identify and plan your top priority goal that could transform your care business, this is one goal you really want to achieve.

In this post I’ll take you through steps you can take and tools you can use to achieve your goal and transform your business as planned.

In my previous post, I laid out a blueprint for goal setting. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do before you read this post.

How to Set and Achieve Your Goals – Part 1

Planning and executing a plan to achieve a goal is no easy thing. You and your senior team are extremely busy and now you need to set a plan and execute the tasks detailed in it and ideally in the timeframe you’ve estimated.

This isn’t going to just happen, so here’s some guidance on how to make it happen.

Your Mindset

Your mindset is critical when it comes to effort like this, and it needs to be in the right place.

It’s too easy to stay in our comfort zone and do what we normally do and put off work that we’re not used to doing.

We need to get into the frame of mind that we’re going to set aside the time needed to put the plan together and, along with your team, execute it.

Ask yourself “How much do I want to achieve this goal?” “Am I motivated enough to carry out the actions?” “Do I want to do the actions required to achieve the goal?”

To help you answer these questions take time (1, 3 to 5 minutes) to visualise what you and your people need to do and the commitment you need to make to achieve your goal. Visualisation is a very powerful way to motivate yourself to kickstart yourself into action.  If, from answering the questions and visualising the effort required, you feel positive then cement this feeling by visualising what a successful outcome will look like and mean to you and your business.

If you are not feeling motivated, then visualise failure. How does failing feel? How terrible will you feel? What are the consequences of not achieving the goal?

Visualising this feeling of failing and still being in the same situation you don’t want to be in is another highly motivating method to get you to take action. This is because imagining failure will recruit hormones like dopamine which is known as the molecule of motivation and is associated with pain and stress.

Help your willpower and tenacity by saying things like, “I absolutely will start/do this today. Nothing is going to stop me from starting/doing this.” Likewise, if you want to do something but know you shouldn’t say, “I absolutely won’t…” There is a box of Lindt chocolate in our cupboard left over from Christmas and last night I had to say “I absolutely won’t open that cupboard tonight and reach for the chocolate.” Before I went to sleep, I also said, “I absolutely will get up at 6:30 and have a workout.” And it did help me do just that.

The more willpower you demonstrate over time the more willpower you build and carry forward which will help you do (like exercise) or avoid (like chocolate) things you throughout your life.


Set Aside the Time and Distractions

Having resolved to set your top priority goal and turn it into a reality, how are you going to do this?

As I said earlier, the effort needed won’t just happen. The first thing you need to do is set aside time needed to identify the goal and create the strategy plan as I set out in the previous post.

Setting aside the time to do this and any important task is one of the most important actions you should take. Get strict with yourself.

When do you do your best work? We have a natural rhythm – a daily rise and fall of attention and motivation.

Generally, attention and focus is at its highest around 30 minutes, 3 hours and 11 hours after waking. Research has shown this works around our 24-hour circadian cycle and relates to hormone levels like dopamine.

I wake around 6-6:30am and really like that quiet time at the start of the day to walk the dogs and think about the day ahead or exercise or relax with my first coffee of the day or usually a combination of all three. (Walking the dogs is always in there – the looks I get if I don’t are tough to bear.)

But this isn’t a rule so don’t constrain yourself if you happen to do your best work at other times of the day. If you have other things you need to do that day and so doing pushes this work back to the afternoon, still do it if you can, as completing it will make you feel better than missing it altogether.

I do my creative work first thing which fits in with the 3 hours after waking.

When working on your plan:

•  Set a specific time to work on this project or set a constraint like you will work on it between 9am and 11am or you will spend an hour or two hours on this every Tuesday to Thursday before midday.

• Let people know that you aren’t to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.

• Turn your phone to silent and put it face down or better still put it in the drawer.

• Don’t start up your email software unless you need an email to carry out the work itself. I usually check my emails two or three times a day for half an hour and rarely before 11am. Emails are the biggest grabber of your time and attention so keep switched off as much as you can.

Block out this time in your calendar and make it sacrosanct. Unless there is a real emergency, this time is your time to set your goal and strategy plan for achieving it.

Start as soon as you can. Having read this and assuming you have a big, transformative goal you want to achieve or want to carry out, the first step is to get you thinking about this.

So, block out the time now.

Seriously, stop reading this post and set at least an hour in your calendar or diary to carry out the first step of the blueprint that I set out in the previous post.

I hope you entered later today, or first thing tomorrow or as soon as is possible. Now visualise sitting down at your desk with an A3 sheet of paper and pen and starting the process. Visualisation is a powerful technique and doing this will help cement your commitment to doing this.

When you do sit down and identify your big goal, you’ll hopefully be motivated to carry on and start the next step in this blueprint. Also use this time to set the next session, and ideally the next few sessions, in your calendar or diary.

When you block out time try to be specific as to what you are going to do in that time. So rather than 2 hours defined as ‘strategy plan’ put in those two hours the specific work you intend to do. Or reversely, know what you want to achieve that day and set it in calendar with a time estimate.

There is a technique with regards to using your calendar effectively for all of your tasks called Timeboxing, which is worth checking out.


Set Clear Expectations and Deadlines for Others

Set clear expectations if you delegate tasks to others. Too often expectations are not clearly communicated, and a task has to be repeated because the person hasn’t delivered what you need.

The last thing you want is to have to chase for the results of the work you’ve assigned and then not get the outcome you need. Be very clear about what you need them to do and the outcome they need to achieve.

Ask If they understand and if necessary to repeat back to you what you want them to do. Have them commit to the task and timescale and allow them to voice any concerns or doubts they may have.


Monitor and Review

Having set measurable goals, objectives and the actions that need to be taken, it should be clear as to what information you need to monitor and review in order to know if you are on course or not.

You’ve set yourself deadlines and have been specific about the measurable results, so you can decide how often you need to monitor the progress being made.

The tasks should be granular enough that you can monitor the progress on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

For example, in the previous post’s example – goal of making your care business financially healthy by setting and receiving the right fees – one key milestone is to review all of your current fees by comparing the fee you would need to set for each of your clients, to return your target profit, based on your latest costs (including the increased staff costs that will happen this coming April) against the fee you are receiving.

Broken down further this means creating new fee quotes, based on latest costs (a previous task already completed), for all your current clients.

You may have delegated this task and know that, based on how many clients you have, this task will take 3 weeks to complete. But don’t wait three weeks to check.

Let’s say you have 30 clients to check. You can monitor weekly and check at the end of the first week that 10 up-to-date fee quotes have been created and another 10 the following week and so on. You could monitor daily and check that 2 new fee quotes have been completed each day.

There is a balance between monitoring regularly so you know things are on course and micro-managing. That’s your call but the sooner you know you are drifting off course (new fee quotes haven’t been completed for a day or two) the sooner you can act and get this execution phase of your strategy back on course.

You know that in 3 weeks you can review all your fees and move on to the next stage of the process. A review of this task should therefore already be set in your calendar. Of course, you may have allowed some leeway and so the person has a month to carry out this task and you carry out a monthly review.

However, often you monitor, a monthly review of the whole project and actions being carried out is a good idea to see if all is well or areas of the plan need to be adapted. Again, these monthly review sessions should be set in your calendar and in those you wish to attend.

You could establish the need for a short weekly report or update and only meet with those who aren’t hitting deadlines. For efficiency and effectiveness, create a template of the key information you want to see, so that there is no ambiguity, and you only receive the data you need.

Ideally, you should do this for all your managers and their responsibilities and not just for this plan.

Every quarter, a major review of progress should take place. If you have been carrying out regular monthly reviews, then this quarterly review will essentially be the third monthly review of the quarter and a top-level check of the plan.


Tools to Help You

How you set out tasks and timelines and monitor and review progress is of course your call, and you may have your own methods.

Here I want to highlight some tools that help me with my strategy plans and that you could find useful.

For brainstorming I create mind maps, whether on paper or using a mind map tool, I find they help the creative process and give you a good visual overview of your goal broken down into objectives and actions.

Here’s a simple mind map example taken from simplemind.eu



Once I’ve created this complete picture, I then want to align the work needed into a cause-and-effect flow. In other words, to achieve a major goal or objective, certain things need to happen in a particular order. The way the objectives and tactics are arranged shows the order in which actions need to be implemented and milestones reached.

The ‘fishbone’ image shows how objectives and tactics line up along a timeline towards a goal.



One objective may have more than one level of tactics as Objective 1.1 shows or as Objective 1.3 shows you may have a lower level of objectives under which lie tactics. The numbering system can be useful to track hierarchical paths, but this is down to personal preference.

Having set the flow, with the objectives and tactics, depending on the complexity of what you’re trying to achieve, you may want to separate out the individual objectives into manageable workflows.

These flows would show the actions or tasks that need to be carried out, when they need to begin and be completed and where one would be dependent on the completion of others in order for them to start.

Gantt charts are a powerful way to see if a project or part of a strategy is being implemented according to schedule.

You can create Gantt Charts in Excel or use a commercial Gantt Chart tool.

Here is an example of a Gantt Chart taken from Gantt.com.



Vertex42 has a free simple Excel-based Gannt Chart template that is pretty good.

Another way to monitor progress is to use Progress tables.

Progress tables show the objectives and tactics for each goal and are an effective way to make sure all is as it should be. You can create progress tables that suit your business so long as they clearly show the objectives and tactics relating to a particular goal.

For example, in this image you see a top-level goal (GF1) and beneath it the list of objectives and tactics (or means) that need to be carried out.

You also see how a numbering system is used to link, in this case a Financial goal, to its objectives and tactics

In the next columns, define the actual objective or tactic, the person responsible for its achievement, how success will be measured, what the target is and a date for completion.

Objectives and tactics can be further broken down and ownership given to others to complete a particular task. This is particularly useful for managers assigning tasks to their team.

At the end (right-hand side) of the table you have the Status and Trend columns. I like to use traffic lights in the status column to give an easy visual indication of how well the task or objective is progressing. The traffic lights are based on a number range such as between zero and ten.

The final Trend column shows an arrow to indicate the trend that the status is taking. For example, you could be on schedule (yellow) but from your review meetings feel that you could soon be behind schedule. This gives you an extra level of visibility of progress beyond the Status indicator.

The Trend arrows are also based on a number, say between zero and ten; zero being a drastic downturn which needs to be addressed urgently and ten showing progress moving forward at a healthy pace.

As I said earlier, what methods and tools you use is up to you and has got to work for you. You don’t want to over complicate the process but establish a system to be able to set your plan and monitor and review progress that works for you.



At the time of publishing this post we’re halfway through January. So, if you want to change your care business this year, please set aside time in your calendar now or just go ahead a grab a piece of paper, write out all your goals and circle your top priority.

If necessary re-read the mindset section and tell yourself that you are absolutely going to do this. Don’t overthink the process – grab an A3 sheet of paper or head over to your whiteboard (if you don’t have a whiteboard please invest in one) and start to write down how you want your care business to be different this year and beyond.

Highlight the one top priority (others may be valid and need to be addressed too but stick with the one big one for now). If you’re using paper get a clean sheet and write that priority as a goal in the centra and start to break it down into smaller chunks as I described in the previous post.

If you’re using a whiteboard, take a picture of it and then clean it off and write your top priority in the centre and so on.

Break the goal down into actions and time and measurable milestones and allocate who will do what. Stay at a high level for this initial brain dump and don’t go down into too much detail.

Sit back and look at what you’ve done, let it soak in and refine it over the next day or so and think about who will do what and how you will allocate your time and theirs to get the tasks done.

Doing this will overcome inertia and get the juices flowing and help you get this important project started.

Achieving your goals requires a combination of dedication, focus, and strategic planning.

By setting aside dedicated time, eliminating distractions, staying motivated, delegating effectively, and regularly monitoring progress, you set yourself up for success.

Implementing tools like Gantt charts adds an extra layer of organisation, making your journey smoother and more manageable.

Remember, success is not just about the destination but the journey you take to get there.

Keep pushing forward, and watch your goals transform into reality.


Throughout the previous post and in this one too, I’ve used the example of setting and receiving the fees you need to be financially healthy because, if you are struggling financially, this is by far the most important goal you should focus your energy on achieving.

If you want to see the steps for achieving this goal in more detail along with the methods needed and tools available that will help you, then download my free report, 5 Steps to Make Your Care Business Financially Secure.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss how to go about achieving your aims then contact me on chris@qualityofcare.co.uk and I’ll come back to you as soon as I can.