Setting goals

Setting goals is something most people think is a good idea, but often they will be very vague on what their goals are.

Most of us will never actually spend the time to:

  1. Get specific about what they we looking to achieve
  2. Decide how we plan to achieve it.

This is understandable.

Life moves fast, things change often, and sometimes it is very difficult to set a specific goal.

However, when you do set a proper goal. You can really draw your focus in and achieve so much more.

Let’s look at an example of how setting the right goal can bring out vastly different results in your behaviour.

Let’s say you want to start running.

You could set yourself a number of different goals. Each of which would elicit a certain amount of your focus and energy.

You could have the usual wishy-washy goal of ‘get a bit fitter’. This is the goal most people set and due to the fact, it’s vague and not very exciting, your approach to it will be lack lustre.

A lot of us, myself included have set this exact goal in the past and after going for a couple of runs it sort of fizzled out and before you knew it, six months had passed and your trainers had done nothing but gather dust.

A better goal might be to say you want to run a 5k.

Now we have a more precise goal, we are more likely to stick with it.

We could even set the goal of running a marathon!

Now we have a big goal, that in order to achieve we have to be very focused in our training.

How about if we set the goal as win an Olympic Gold medal?

Compare that sentence to the first example….

‘Get a bit fitter’ to ‘Win an Olympic Gold medal’

Just looking at those goals written down should give you very different levels of energy.

Setting a proper goal will bring everything in to focus.

Having ‘Win an Olympic Gold medal’ as your goal, would make a lot of decisions much easier.

Cold and wet winter night and you need to go for a run? A gold medallist doesn’t think twice. They are going.

Fatty and unhealthy food for dinner? No thanks, a gold medallist needs healthy food to fuel their ambition.

In fact, pretty much any decision could be made by using the statement, ‘Will doing this help me win a gold medal?’. If it does, you’re doing it. If it doesn’t, you’re not!

Now, that’s all well and good, but let’s be realistic Jon. Not everyone can win an Olympic Gold medal. Some of us are ‘past our prime’ so to speak.

Whilst I’m not a huge fan of realistic goals. I do appreciate a 70-year-old man is highly unlikely to beat Mo Farah in a long distance race any time soon.

However, nearly everyone could run a marathon if they really focussed on it.

Plus, I can guarantee, even if you fail to complete the marathon, just by training with the goal of doing one you will end up achieving a whole lot more than the person who set themselves the goal of ‘get a bit fitter’

So how can we set effective goals for our business?

  1. Be specific. Don’t just say ‘I want to get more enquiries’. Set yourself a specific target. How many enquiries do you want to get per week / per month?
  2. Make the goal bigger. If your goal is to win an Olympic Gold medal, even if you come up short you’ll still be miles ahead of where you would have been if your target was to merely ‘get a bit fitter’
  3. Set a time frame. Nothing motivates quite like a deadline. You want 10 enquiries a day? When is this going to happen? Give yourself a specific date as a deadline.
  4. Make yourself accountable. One sure fire way to make sure you run that marathon is to tell everybody about it and take sponsorship money. Make your goal public and involve other people. You’ll work 10x harder if you do.
  5. Celebrate the milestones along the way. Just because you’re training for an Olympic Gold doesn’t mean you can celebrate the first time you complete a 5k. It is important to celebrate and reward your successes in order to keep you focussed on pushing forward.

I’ve found it’s most effective to set yourself a big goal to achieve every 3 months. And to set yourself mini goals each month to make your you are progressing.

For example, if my goal was to write a book in 3 months. My 1 month goal would be to have done all the research and planning. My 2 month goal would be to finish writing. And then in the last month I would need to proofread, design a cover and publish.

What will your goal be for the next 3 months?

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