The best time to make plans and set goals is before a new year begins, so you can prepare for what’s to come, but you can start thinking about your goals and planning for them at any time. Whether your goals are personal or professional, there’s a general method of goal setting that can help you get on the right track.
Setting Goals: Things That Work
We don’t really go for the whole work-life balance thing because we know that there’s always a lot going on in both areas of life. Some seasons, you have to give more time and attention to one area, but in general, we believe in more of a work-life blender because work isn’t separate from life — it’s part of life. So no matter what kind of goals you’re setting, there’s a way to hold yourself accountable and actually achieve the goals you’ve set, both personally and professionally.
- Document your goals.
This may seem obvious, but many people don’t do it, despite how science and psychology have shown the benefits and effectiveness over and over and over again. Goals that are written down physically written down are more likely to be achieved.
Every goal you make should be…
Specific. It can’t just be like, “I wanna lose some weight.” It needs to be like, “I need to lose 15 pounds,” but even better than that, it can include the activity that’s required to get you there. So you could say, “I’m gonna walk a mile a day, I’m going to track what I eat, or whatever else.” These smaller habits will lead to a bigger result that pushes you toward your goal. Regardless of what the goal is, it needs to be specific, so you can check back in with yourself to see if you did what you said you’re going to do.
Personal. Your goal has to matter to you. If it doesn’t matter to you, you’re not going to do it. So when making a goal, make sure it’s something that means something to you, something that will make a difference for you in a positive way. The actual goal is up to you, but make sure it’s personal and meaningful; otherwise, you’re just wasting your time because the reality is that you’re only going to accomplish goals you actually care about, ones that matter to you.
Time-based. A general goal isn’t a goal. If you don’t have a timeline for when you want your goal accomplished, you might as well not have a goal. You need to have some specific deadline where you say, “By this date, I’m going to accomplish this thing.” The thing here is that most people think goals have to start in the new year, but it doesn’t always have to be an annual goal. It could be something you’re looking to accomplish this month or this quarter that’s going to lead you to a bigger goal.
Written down. If it’s personal, if it’s a business, put it on your desk, pin it up on a wall. Just put it somewhere will you’re going to look at it every day. When you hang your goals up somewhere that you can see them and be reminded of what your goals are and what you need to do to make them happen, you’re more likely to actually achieve those goals.
- Simplify and track your goals.
The biggest problem with a lot of people is that they don’t look at what kind of progress they’re making over time. They don’t track their results, so they don’t know what’s going on, and they don’t achieve their goals.
As a company, we like to break down goals into “rocks,” or similar milestones. Once we know what needs to be done (the bigger picture goals), we make smaller goals and set timelines for completion and schedule review pit stops to evaluate whether we’re on track or off track.
As a leader, it’s critical that you block time for yourself to review your own goals and priorities. You have to know where you’re at, and it’s important to check in with yourself on a regular basis. When you do this, remember to give yourself grace. It’s always about progress over perfection. Even if you miss a goal here or there, or don’t quite hit your ideal timeline in the way you’d hoped, you can still be moving in the right direction. Some progress, even just a little progress, is still progress.
- Stay motivated.
If you’re not motivated, if you’re not excited, if you don’t care, you’re not going to complete the goal. If you care about something else more, you’re going to do that more. Know your priorities and what matters the most, and then set your goals around those things.
One good way to do this is by determining your why, the reason you set the goal in the first place. During the process, whenever you check in on your progress, remind yourself about what the outcome is going to be when you stick with your goals.
When you complete your smaller goals in an effort to achieve your bigger goals, reward yourself. Say, “I’m going to get this” or “I’m going to do this.” That way, you have something to look forward to.
Having an accountability partner is great, too. If you’re in business, maybe it’s another business leader, but it can also be a friend or mentor, someone who is going to help you stay motivated and give you a reason to keep up with your goals.
Get Into Community & Start Growing
If you’re not already engaged in a community, we recommend that you find one and get involved. It’s good to be in community. It’s good to be around like-minded people. It’s good to be around people who are going to challenge you in certain ways because all of us have gifts that we can learn from others. At the same time, being around other people who “get it,” you’ll feel less alone and more motivated, so then you’re more likely to hit those goals and grow, both personally and professionally.
Thinking about future goals for your business? Our team would love to help.
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