Set Your Course - 7 Easy Steps To Goal Setting
What's going to be different in 2016?
This is the question I posed in my first blog post of 2016. If you want to get different, better results in 2016, it’s essential that you put the right foundations in place in your business now. This is why I’m sharing my Best Year Ever Business Roadmap with you. I want you to have the tools to make 2016 is your breakthrough year.
I shared my first success ‘rule’ last week in my post, Take Stock Of Where You Are Now. Today I’m going to share my second ‘rule,’ Set Your Course. This is all about goal setting. I'd like to encourage you to re-visit your approach to goal setting and put in place a proven system in place that will enable you to attain your goals. But only after you’ve taken stock of your business, and carried out the exercises I recommend in Take Stock Of Where You Are Now.
Why is having a goal setting system so important? Well, the people who accomplish goals at a higher rate than the average use a systematic, proven method to goal setting. I’m always surprised at the number of people who have dreams but never bother to write them down. They’d never build a house without a plan or take a serious vacation without an itinerary of some sort. But they trust their most significant hopes and dreams for the future to memory alone. I don’t know about you. But my memory is not that good!
If you really want to make significant progress this year on your most important goals, you’ve got to write them down. A study by Dr Gail Matthews of Dominican University found you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals simply by writing them down! Other studies back up her findings.
One quality all successful business owners have in common is vision. They’re able to imagine and see the future well in advance of it becoming a reality. They then work out the next few steps that will get them from where they are now to where they want to go. The starting point for setting goals is to project forwards into the future - and then think backwards. This is what’s called “Back From The Future” thinking. Project yourself forward to the end of the year and ask yourself, “what will my business and my life look like by the end of 2016?”
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." ~ Albert Einstein
Here are 7 steps you can use for setting and attaining your goals:
1. Decide Exactly What You Want AND What You Don’t Want
Start off by reflecting on what you don’t want and intend to be different going forward. Sometimes when we’re lacking in clarity or feeling conflicted, it’s easier to decide what we absolutely don’t want. Channeled correctly, frustration and anger can be great drivers for change. Then let your imagination run wild about what you do want – both in your business as well as in other areas of your life. Some areas of your life may have felt out of balance; this is an ideal opportunity to change this.
Because most people have no idea of what they really want, this automatically moves you into a completely different category of people. Clarity is the most important single quality when it comes to goal setting and an important determinant of success. Make your goals specific. Define exactly what you want to happen in each area of your life. For example decide exactly how much more money you want to earn by the end of the year, and then break this down into monthly financial targets.
A goal properly set is halfway reached.” ~ Zig Ziglar
2. Write Your Goals Down On Paper
Only 3% of adults have written goals! Most people spend more time making a shopping list or planning a holiday than they do planning their lives. Success starts with a pad of paper, a pen and a few minutes of your time. One of the keys to success is “thinking on paper.” If you can’t write your goals down clearly on a sheet of paper, then either you’re not certain about them yourself, or you don’t really want them, or you’re afraid that you might not attain them.
A goal that’s clearly written on paper will start to take on a life of its own because our sub-conscious mind sets to work on how we can achieve it. When you write your goals down, you intensify your desire for them and increase your belief that attaining your goals is possible. Have you noticed how you start to attract people and circumstances into your life that enable you to attain your goals?
3. Set A Deadline
And if it’s a particularly large goal, set a series of sub-deadlines. A deadline acts as a “forcing system” on your subconscious mind and begins to move you quicker toward your goals. Sometimes people ask, “What if I set a goal and I don’t achieve it by the deadline?” The answer is simple. Think about why you didn’t hit your deadline, make adjustments to your plan and set another deadline.
A goal is a dream with a deadline." ~ Napoleon Hill
A deadline is your best guess, based on the information you have to hand now and the plan you’ve made, of when you’ll achieve your goal. So don’t beat yourself up if you miss your deadline. Understand why this was, learn the lessons and make a better plan. Sometimes you’ll achieve your goal well in advance of your deadline. Sometimes goals will take longer to attain than you expect. What’s important is you’ve set a target date before you set off.
4. Make A List Of Everything You Can Think Of That Will Help You Achieve Your Goal
The more thought you put into your list, the more motivated you’ll become and the more intense will be your desire. This will strengthen your resolve and determination to do everything you can to attain your goals.
Take the time to write out a list of all the actions you’ll need to take to attain your goals, and update this list as you go along. Some of your ideas might seems a bit off the wall. The aim of this particular exercise is to stimulate your brain into creatively come up with lots of different solutions. Once you've brain stormed your ideas, evaluate which of these are the best ones.
5. Organise Your List Into A Plan
A plan is really quite simple. It’s simply a list organised by priority and importance. You decide what you’ll do first and what you’ll do later. You decide what’s more important and what’s less important. But what’s essential is that you decide which ONE thing you can do immediately that will start moving you rapidly towards your goal.
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” ~ Pablo Picasso
6. Take Action
This is where most people fall down. They procrastinate. They have great ideas, hopes and dreams, but when it comes to actually taking action, they always have a reason or excuse why they’ve delayed getting started. It’s the process of taking action in pursuit of your goals that connects you with your desire and passion. And once you’ve started to take action, it’s so much easier for you to continue moving in that direction.
Let me give you a simple example. I'd like to build my Twitter following because I intend to start using Periscope and Blab as part of my content creation strategy. One of my activities includes following 30 entrepreneurs a day, and un-following a further 20 (i.e, those who haven't followed me back). A small action, but one that is helping me to grow my Twitter following by 10% every month.
7. Do Something Every Day That Moves You Toward Your Major Goal
Never let a day go by without you taking some sort of action that helps you move you towards what you really want in life.
The most important goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks,writing them down, believing them, and going full speed ahead as if they were routines." ~ Don Lancaster
This simple seven step act of deciding exactly what you do and don’t want, writing it down, setting a deadline, making a list, organising the list into a plan, taking action on the most important item on your list and then doing something every day to move you towards attaining your goal will change your life and your future in ways that you cannot even dream of today. Goal setting works. Try it!
Join the Conversation
Question: How was your February? Did you make the progress you intended on your goals? I love hearing from you. Please let me know in the comments box below.
Explore Additional Resources
If you enjoyed this post, then you may also like:
- What Will Be Different In 2016?
- Take Stock Of Where You Are Now
- The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make In Setting Goals by Michael Hyatt
- The Secret to Successful Goal-Setting (And Having Your Best Year Ever!) Lewis Howes' podcast with Michael Hyatt
I have 25 years’ experience in business, including 8 years as a CEO. I trained at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school. With experience in business planning, financial management, risk management, building strategic partnerships, product development, marketing (including PR) plus leading and developing staff teams of up to 150 people, there’s very little I haven’t had to deal with or experienced.
I now run a boutique business consulting and coaching agency, Best Year Ever. If you’re interested in working with me, you can find out more about my business consultancy and coaching practice HERE.