Bold Moves: How 72-Hour Goals Can Fuel Your Intentions

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“Drip by drip isn’t a crowd pleaser, but that’s what makes real change happen.”

Seth Godin

One of our clients, Kieoko, works for a global company based in the fast-paced Silicon Valley that is undergoing multiple change initiatives. She has been trying hard to create time and space for strategic time-outs and reflection as a way to develop systems awareness and to do a better job prioritizing her work. Despite her sincere desire to create space for thinking time, she’s been unsuccessful in moving toward her goal. She is busy and has a habit of pushing her goals off or ignoring them.

This isn’t unusual: leaders often have big ideas, good intentions, and are ready to take action—but they don’t. Have you been there? Are you there?

Continuing to develop ourselves as leaders, parents, colleagues, etc. requires finding a sustainable way to take action, even when our To-Do list seems to self-replicate each time we look away. We can take action in small ways that have a big impact. If you are a leader who is ready to take action on things that matter to you, keep reading …

We’ve gathered the insights from the pLink Coaches and leveraged the research of Goal Setting Theorist Edwin Locke to identify some simple practices to help you take action toward your goals. The good news is that these won’t drain your time in the process. Using the micro, yet powerful, move of creating a 72-hour goal, we ask ourselves, “What could I do in the next 72 hours?” The trick is to make one small move in 72 hours that feels totally doable. This creates momentum and encourages us to move forward.

Simple Practices To Get You Started

  • Clearly articulate your goal. Get specific; get measurable. “Paint done,” as Brené Brown says in her latest leadership book, Dare to Lead. Ask yourself, “What exactly do I want?”
  • Identify 3 different creative pathways to achieve your goal. The key here is to ensure each creative pathway is distinct from the other. If one path doesn’t work out, you’ll still have two other pathways to travel. Ask yourself, “What are three different ways I can achieve this goal?”
  • Craft a next step for each of your creative pathways. Make them so easy that you can complete them within 72 hours. Ask yourself, “What is an easy next step that will move me toward this goal, that I am certain I can achieve in the next 72 hours?”
  • Outline a motivating thought for taking action. It might sound like, “Once I’m started, no matter how small the step, it will feel great to be moving forward.” This will help remove resistance and create a strong why for your goal. Ask yourself, “Why is this goal important to me?”
  • Find an accountability partner. Leverage your executive coach, a friend, or a colleague to hold you accountable for moving toward your goal.
  • Set Positive Intentions. Consider how you can take action in small ways at the start of each day or week.
  • Use WoopWoop is a new app for moving toward your goals that addresses motivation and overcoming obstacles to progress.

Regardless of where we are in our journey, continuing to grow and develop—and getting things done—are imperative to continued success. These goal-setting practices help us do both. What do you intend to do in the next 72 hours?

Alexis Robin

Alexis Robin is the COO of pLink Leadership. A sought-after speaker on the topics of brave leadership, team synergy, and positive communication, Alexis works globally, coaching leaders at the individual, team, and organizational level. She lives in Truckee, CA, with her husband and teenaged twins.