I absolutely love this quote from Seth Godin:
“The people who get things done, who lead, who grow and make an impact — those people have goals.”
I love it because it’s TRUE. Goals are crucial to getting things done, leading, growing, and making an impact. And isn’t that exactly what we all want to be doing at the end of the day? Something impactful?
Goals can help us get there, but accomplishing them is no easy task. Half the battle is in the creation of the goals themselves! That’s why I’m bringing you my four steps to creating goals that not only help you grow and make an impact, but actually get those goals accomplished.
- Set Goals That Fire You UP!
I can’t stress this enough: you’ve got to be passionate about the goals you set for yourself. Without passion, or a powerful emotional drive, you won’t get very far. Setting goals just for the sake of setting goals is a sure fire way to give up halfway down the road.
Because following through on goals is super difficult! There’s no way around it. When you set out to achieve something, you’re going to encounter barriers and problems along the way. So if you don’t have a strong emotional reason carrying you through, you’re likely to give up. And giving up on goals is not only disappointing, it can also discourage you from trying again.
So before deciding on a goal, ask yourself: Am I really committed to this goal? If (and when!) I encounter obstacles in the journey towards achieving this goal, is it important enough to me that I will persevere? Why am I fired up about accomplishing this goal?
- Get SMART, friend!
Goals like “eat better,” “lose weight,” or “get a raise” are not super useful. They’re too vague, which sets you up for failure almost immediately. And we are trying to minimize failure as much as possible!
That’s where the SMART goals system comes in. This bad boy is the perfect method for making sure you have goals that you can actually achieve.
Evaluate each of your goals and make sure they fit the SMART system:
- Specific: Is the goal specific? Remember, vague goals often don’t work!
- Measurable: Can you measure the outcome of the goal? Instead of “lose weight,” make your goal “lose 10 pounds.” This way, you know when you’ve actually accomplished your goal instead of losing weight forever never knowing if you succeeded!
- Attainable: Is the goal attainable? It’s important to dream big, but make sure it’s realistic. If you know it’s unattainable, then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant to your values and really matter to you. Do you value your family, but make a goal to spend more time at work? Pick goals that drive you towards the life you want to be living.
- Timely: Set a timeframe to in order to increase urgency. “Lose 10 pounds” is a good start, but you could easily let it drag out for years. “Lose 10 pounds in 1 month” creates a boundary around the goal so it doesn’t consume more time than it needs to.
Let’s put this into practice. Here is a not-so-great goal example: “I want to grow my business in 2019.”
Now let’s implement the SMART goal system and see if we can’t make it better…
SMART goal example: I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within the first two months of this year by asking for referrals, launching a social media marketing campaign, and networking with local businesses. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.
Now that’s what I call a goal. It’s super specific (it’s got a what, how, and a why!), very measurable (3 clients!), totally attainable, relevant to the business, and timely (first two months!).
- Have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
You might have heard this saying before: “reach for the moon because even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars.”
While it’s important to set goals that are attainable, it’s also important to set goals that reach a little beyond what you think you can easily manage.
Try setting a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal,” or BHAG — a term created by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies — that seems practically impossible.
The beauty of this is that once you have your BHAG, you’re forced to come up with smaller goals that lead up to the BHAG. These smaller goals are now much more exciting because they add up to something big and audacious!
In the end, whether you achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goals or not, the growth that occurred in the pursuit of that BHAG may be life-changing.
- Create Actions and Achievements to Help you Along the Way
Finally, the last step is to break your goals down into their smallest parts. Breaking long term goals into short “sprints” helps you stay motivated and committed.
The questions below will help you figure out the specific, measurable milestones you should set to keep you accountable to yourself and create the momentum necessary to achieve your goal.
While doing this, anticipate challenges and possible roadblocks in advance so you can deal with them as you progress.
- What are the significant things you will need to do to reach your goal?
- What are the essential next steps before moving forward on your goal?
- Can you break your goal into measurable achievements?
- Are there any tasks you’re particularly excited to do to reach your goal?
No matter what kind of goal you’re setting, whether it’s for your business or for your personal life, use these methods to make sure you create meaningful goals that motivate and inspire you.
Once you’ve set yourself up for success, it’ll be so much easier to actually accomplish those dreams. And you’ll be getting things done, leading, growing, and making an impact in no time.