Goal setting is an important and major part of our lives. Especially for those of us in business, our goals give us something to work for and something to aspire to. They inspire us to push forward and continue to working towards our dreams. From losing weight, to reading more books, to meeting our business and career goals, we all set goals. Perhaps the most publicized time for this is New Years Eve. Every year, we are flooded with New Years resolutions from our friends and family members, and every year most people give up before the 6-month mark. Some of this has to do with lacking motivation and inspiration, but I believe a lot of it has to do with the way we goal set.
Goal setting is a wonderful and powerful tool. It is a great way to keep track of your progress, but when you do it wrong, you end up giving up and achieving nothing. I believe there is a proper way to goal set that gives you the optimal chance of actually reaching them and then some! I think that most people overlook this opportunity to sharpen their skills in-goal setting because its easier to think of all the things you want to improve and list them off sporadically. We should take a more proactive approach to our goals, and make sure we set them so that we can actually begin to make real changes in our lives for the better.
It is very easy to become overly ambitious when you sit down and start goal setting, but its the first thing you should avoid! Ambition is wonderful, but its important that you don’t get so wrapped up in it, that you make crazy high goals that would take you years to achieve. When you are just starting out and compiling your thoughts, its important that you are realistic with what you can do within a reasonable amount of time. Theres nothing wrong with thinking big, in fact I definitely encourage this! But in the interest of making sure you actually get things done, its important to break it down and think about what you can do within, say 6 months. Start small, with the basics, and work your way up. It is also important to note, that crossing off goals is great motivation to keep you pushing forward and really being productive! It is a sure-fire way to keep you on the track to success!
So think smaller! Or another way to look at it, think about how you can take those big dreams and break them down into smaller, manageable pieces. For example, instead of making a goal like, Become a millionaire it is more effective to figure out what goals you need to reach in order to become that millionaire. What things can you do right now (or within 6 months) that can get you closer to the ultimate dream? Maybe its something like, Advertise your business to acquire new clients or Make an extra $1,000 in a month. Even those goals can be broken down further. You can think about ways youd like to advertise, or ways you can generate more income. You should aim to create a pathway to get to the big goals; most people dont do this and that is one reason why they give up on their dreams so quickly.
Make A List
Once you’ve broken down your bigger goals in to smaller, more manageable goals, make a list! This may sound silly and incredibly simple, but you’d be surprised how writing something down makes it more official. It also helps with keeping you organized, which is a skill you definitely want to master. A list can take many forms, like a vision board, checklist, or you can even list them in an app or on your computer. It is important to prioritize what is most important to you as well when you compile this list. What are the goals that you really want to start tackling right now? What do you need in your life that will make you more fulfilled and happy and how can you get it done?
Making a detailed list, gives you that clear path to what it is you want to achieve. Its more effective if you look at it every day, or read it often. Be sure to write concrete, clear items. If you write something vague like Learn Italian, that isnt going to serve you. Your list should be comprised of things that are clear and concise, so instead of Learn Italian, you can say, Purchase Rosetta Stone and read the first 3 chapters or Find a Pen Pal that speaks Italian (this way you can practice with someone else). I think a great goal setting list, should look more like an outline then just a standard list, with things being broken down into their respective parts. I would also like to add, that you should revisit and revise this list every couple of months, or as often as you feel you need to (but be careful not to change it too much, more on that in the next step!)
The purpose of the goal setting list, is to give you something very clear to focus on, it is like your own personal road map to success!
I mentioned above that lists are most effective when you look at them every day or read them often. This is because it is so important to remember your goals, and stay focused on them. Today’s world is filled with so many distractions. Everyone telling you what you should want or what you should be doing with your life, it can become overwhelming and cause you to become completely unfocused. This is why I said not to get in the habit of revising your list all the time. When we are trying to achieve our goals, it is paramount that you remain focused on the tasks at hand. If you are someone like me, who has a ton of brand new ideas every day, this can be a challenge (trust me I know!).
I think the best thing to do is to honor those ideas by writing them down and saving them for later. You must make sure you finish one thing at a time, dedicate your energy to what is most important to you. You must give your time to what is most important first, and even though you have a billion ideas, dont let that distract you! I also would like to say, that you shouldnt let naysayers or negative people distract you either. There will always be something vying for your attention, but remain steadfast in your goals and what you have laid out for yourself, and you will find that your list will become smaller and smaller and you will become a goal setting expert!
While it is true that things don’t always go the way we planned, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t layout our process and plan anyway! Having a plan will only help you in our journey! As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail, so make sure you come up with a clear blueprint on how to get to where you want to go and you’ll be there in no time!