I’m in the middle of a review of my goals. Business, personal, strategic – I’m reviewing them all and it’s challenging work. My business goals have usually been aligned with the type of clients I have been supporting. At this juncture, I am now trying to work out what I stand for. It’s a very important issue that I need to conquer to move forward with Blue Ninja. I’m not going to give you examples as I’m learning about goal setting myself, but will explain the steps that I am learning about.
How to define a goal
Whether it be business or personal, you need to set goals to keep you on track and motivated. There are so many entrepreneurs out there that provide free advice on defining and structuring goals. Look no further than thought leaders (Richard Branson, Bill Gates etc) and they will advise that part of their success is that they set clear goals and challenge themselves.
Experts will tell you to keep them specific and measurable. You should apply the SMART principles of goal setting:
S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
Work out what you define as a long-term and short-term goal. How long are these periods – a week? A month? A year?
What if you’re not sure what to set as your goals?
This is where I am up to with my review. I keep thinking that I don’t know what I want, and this is where I need to do some thinking, research (I’ve been on a book buying binge) and talking to lots of people. I do have some health goals (I manage my primary goal with a person who keeps me accountable), but I need to define my business goals. What skills do I need to improve in order to achieve my goals? How will I be accountable to my goals?
One thing I’ve found in my preliminary research is entrepreneurs like Tim Ferris and Chris Ducker set very powerful goals but don’t always have the skillset or knowledge in place when they set the goal to achieve it. Part of their strategy was to build in time to learn and push themselves way outside their comfort zone. Yes, there was sacrifice and a lot of hard work but more times than not they achieved their goal.
How to keep on top of your goals
This is very personal and something I really struggle with. I can deliver on a project very well by logically working through the phases of the work, but that’s not my goal – it’s someone else’s. Is the goal to do a good job? No, that’s not SMART. However, I can apply the same logical steps to my own goals by systematically working through what the end goal is, and breaking down the goals into manageable, achievable pieces.
What type of goal are you trying to achieve? If it’s a health goal, the goal should be a clearly defined with a fixed end. If it’s to complete a race, or lose weight, or achieve a result there will be tangible actions needed to make that happen. You won’t lose weight if you eat take-out every other night and not exercise much. If you are not clear on your why your goals will be so much harder to achieve. If your primary goal is to grow your business (remember to keep it SMART), what are the tasks you will need to put in place to do that?
There are so many tools out there that will help you develop and track your goals like Todoist and Evernote. Email systems like Office 365 and Gmail have lists built into them which allow you to manage them using your daily management systems. Writing them down on a piece of paper can be just as effective. You need to find the right system for you and keep using it.
Get thinking and start writing! I did a search in YouTube “goal setting” and came back with so many tutorials (2.7 million or so hits) about how to set goals. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=goal+setting. You need to persevere through the trying times to achieve your goals. Dale Carnegie wrote in ‘How to get from where you are to where you want to be’ that you should create affirmations and visualise your success. Don’t let people talk you out of your goals. Find your support network and get your plan in place – nobody will do this for you.
If you’ve already defined your goals and are on track, well done to you. If you’re just starting out or revising your goals I wish you all the best and am right there with you.
Tell me how you get on with your goal setting in the comments below.
Coming up next: H is for Happiness