We all have a goals. Perhaps you want to expand your business or increase your profits. Or maybe you've thought about meeting new people or learning a new skill. A goal gives us a target to work towards - it's like a North Star. It provides clarity on our desires and allows us to create focus.
But a goal on its own isn't enough. You also need a plan to turn your goal into reality. After all, a goal without a plan is just a dream.
Take for example New Year's resolutions. Many people have at least one to challenge themselves to do better. However, a study found that only 1 in 5 people see their resolutions through to the end. In fact, most people give up by mid-January. And it wasn't for a lack of trying.
Most goal-setters fail because they didn't have a proper plan in place.
Here are 5 essential strategies that will help you set better goals and create a plan to guide you along the way.
Choose a meaningful goal
We set goals to move us forward and to effect positive change in our lives. Start by choosing a goal that you know will give you a sense of achievement once you meet it. This will give you the passion you need to get past square one and help build our resolve. Ultimately, you have to really want your goal if you hope to be able to achieve it.
It could be a long-term personal mission such as expanding your business or adopting a healthier lifestyle. Or it could be something smaller that you can accomplishing short time frame. Either way, the goal should be a positive force that will motivate you to get ahead.
Keep it SMART
You can use the acronym SMART to introduce some structure into your goal-setting. The concept is simple: for a goal to be successful, it must be:
Specific: The goal must be clear and unambiguous. Keep it as specific as possible so you can outline the steps you need to take. When in doubt, think of the 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why).
Measurable: Having measurable goals allows you to track your progress. You might set a precise figure or deadline you need to meet. For instance, you can set your goal to increase revenues by 10% within 6 months.
Attainable: Make sure that you have a real chance at achieving the goals you set. Otherwise, you risk discouraging yourself. Ask yourself if you have the skills or resources to bring your vision to life.
Relevant: The goal should also align with your needs and the direction you want your business to take. You could set a goal that answers a pressing need such as getting your sales up or cutting overhead costs.
Timely: Every goal needs a deadline. Not only does it add a sense of urgency to the goal, but it also gives you something to focus on.
Break it down into smaller milestones
We tend to set goals with the outcome in mind. But it's the steps you follow to get from point A to point B that matter the most. If you have a big goal that seems too difficult or overwhelming , try breaking it down into smaller chunks.
Things get less daunting if you know what to do every step of the way. Not only does it make your goal more manageable, but it also makes the path to achieving your goal more attainable.
Let's say your goal is to run a full marathon (that's 42.2 km or 26.2 miles). Approximately 11 million people run a marathon each year and more than 50% of them are doing so for the first time.
To achieve this, most people will follow a 16 week training plan to build up their strength and endurance. The training plan will break down what the runner needs to do day-by-day for 16 weeks. With a plan, the focus shifts to doing the necessary work each day rather than running the actual marathon. Running the marathon is the outcome for following the day-by-day plan.
Keep your goals visible
You want to write your goals down and put them in a place where you will see them often. It could be something as simple as Post-It notes on the wall or timed reminders on your phone. Visual cues will keep you motivated to continue working towards your goal.
Sharing your goals with your family or friends can also be helpful Knowing that people are monitoring your progress can improve your commitment and accountability to reaching your goal. They can also provide valuable feedback and support to help you stay on track.
Rewarding yourself for reaching critical milestones can go a long way in keeping yourself motivated. Having something to look forward to makes it easier to follow through with the steps you need to reach a goal.
The reward should be simple and easy to do or acquire. For instance, you might reward yourself by buying something nice, a fancy coffee or drink or perhaps a night out with friends. Treat yourself - you deserve it.
A final word
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Set yourself up for success by applying these five goal-setting concepts:
- Choosing goals that are meaningful to you
- Make them SMART goals
- Breaking them down into smaller pieces
- Use visual reminders
- Reward yourself for attain milestones
Do you need help planning and achieving your goals? Let's talk.
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