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Building professional growth and success, 28 days at a time


Whether you are a school-leaver, university graduate, unemployed job-seeker, or employed individual, you are likely to have started the year with a set of professional goals, with visions of career “victories” you want to accomplish in 2017.

While few can argue that goal-setting is a vital part of living a fulfilling, content life, it could be said that it is this long-term approach that so often makes goals hard to achieve or easy to push aside.

Erik Kruger, high performance adviser & speaker and founder of BetterMan, says that this is one of the main reasons why the more traditional way of goal setting doesn’t work for so many.

Why the status quo of goal-setting is leaving you uninspiredunattainable-goal-resize

According to Kruger Judgement failure, Time-span failure, and Systems failure are what is wrong with the approach to goal-setting most of us are likely to take.

Judgement failure: Consider the scenario of goal setting with your only motivation as winning; losing, or failing is likely to be extremely demotivating. Kruger says that instead of seeing goal setting as an end-destination where you’ve either failed or succeeded, rather realign your thinking to see it as a target, with regular assessment of your progress.

Time-span failure: “Actual life changing moments happen more frequently than you might imagine,” says Kruger. “We think we can predict or at least anticipate what the future will bring. We can’t so we should stop trying.” Instead, advises Kruger, you should acknowledge and be aware of what you want to achieve in the long-run but focus your efforts on the short-term, more immediate achievements in aid of reaching your long-term goal.

Systems failure: Kruger’s concern is that the amount of goal setting frameworks available can be disconcerting, especially when trying to align all of the systems you might be using. What’s more, the system is likely not capable of assisting you in a drive to regularly assess progress. Rather stick with one framework or system until you are able to identify what you need and can customise the system to fit your goal-setting 100%.

Project 328


Image source: bettermanblueprint.com

Instead of setting unattainable, long-term professional goals such as “I would like to manage a project independently by November” or “I want to pass my first semester at Unisa.” Plan expressly how you will reach that Context goal.

Kruger says that the premise of The Project 328 Framework (P328) is to set Context goals for yourself that you would like to achieve in the next 90 days (3 months). Once you have decided on your Context goal you decide on three short-term goals (referred to as moves in the context of P328) and work towards these goals every day for the next 28 days. In this manner you achieve your longer term, 90 days context goal three moves at a time over periods of 28 days.

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“Each move has a few criteria,” explains Kruger. “It should leave you in a better position once completed, must require intentional effort and action from you and should be specific.” According to Kruger the secret to success when using this framework for goal-setting, is working on your moves every day and continuous assessment of your progress.

This daily assessment of your progress is driven by three questions you should continuously ask yourself – Did I accomplish my daily practice? What did I learn? What can I do better? Keeping these daily assessment questions in mind should also help you to set good, achievable moves that will aid in achieving your context goal.

Apply P328 to your lifepersistence-resize

Whether you are an unemployed school-leaver with limited prospects or an ambitious professional wanting to advance in the work place, P328 could be a viable framework.

Let’s say your aim is to become assistant manager of your division in two years’ time, your first context goal might be to be given more responsibility by heading up your own projects. For the first 28 days you could decide that moves required to be seen as ready for more responsibility may include being more assertive by asking for the tasks you want, chairing meetings with current clients, and anticipating and meeting requests from your manager before it is given.

Daily tasks for meeting these moves over your 28-days period could range from something as simple as volunteering to take notes at the next meeting to working a few extra hours over the weekend so that your report is ready first thing Monday before your manager can ask.

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For a school-leaver ultimately hoping to obtain a tertiary education, thereby increasing your employability, your first 90-days context goal might be something along the lines of “Determining a viable job opportunity to fund part-time studies.” Moves for this would then include setting up job interviews, creating a professional online portfolio for you, volunteering, self-education or interning to gain experience. Daily tasks would involve time spent researching on the internet or networking events.

The fact is every successful individual you admire had to start somewhere. It’s guaranteed that they always knew they wanted to run their own business or be considered the best in the industry, but could not possibly have treated that as their sole goal, it would seem insurmountable as a youngster starting out.

Read more about the Project 328 Framework


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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