This is the time of year when we start thinking about New Years Resolutions. People write down the goals they want to achieve, but often it stops there. They might try it for a few days or weeks, but by the end of January, they are living the same way they were before Christmas.
Part of the reason for the failure is they wrote down goals, but never developed a strategy to achieve the goals. Many of us are guilty of prioritizing goals over strategies because we don't understand what a real strategy is.
Here is an example.
If I want to eat a home cooked meal of pasta sometime this week, that is a goal. If all I do is talk about it and maybe write it down, what is the likelihood of eating pasta? Not very high. We all know this instinctively.
However, if I make a meal plan and say what night of the week I'm going to eat it, look at a recipe, go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, take the time to prepare it, cook it, and set the table to enjoy the meal, my likelihood of eating pasta sky rockets.
Let's unpack the difference. The first option is talking about a potential goal, but it is a goal that lacks specificity. It is general and broad. The second is creating and executing on a strategy to realize the goal. While this may seem like a silly example, it makes it easy to spot the basic differences between a goal and a strategy.
Many companies think listing "Eat Pasta for Supper" is a strategy. It's not. It is a goal and nothing more.
Goals are good. We need goals, but we can't stop at goals. We must develop strategies for achieving the goals.