Let’s get straight to the point: Failing to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t have a plan, and if you don’t set goals, you are likely to fail (or at least get nowhere) in life and in business. Running a business (or living a life) without goals is like getting on a boat, and then sailing around on a vast ocean and never reaching the shore again, because you don’t know where you’re going. So let’s talk about goal setting!
I’ve met so many entrepreneurs, bosses and employees that work extremely hard without getting anywhere. Are you one of them? Fear not, after reading this post, and if you apply the advice, you’re off to a much more productive and successful life!
Why Set Goals?
Setting goals gives you long term vision and short term motivation. They help you organize your time, concentrate your efforts, and will give you measurable results when you complete them. Another important aspect is also to get that feeling of achievement once a goal is reached, which keeps you motivated and increases self-confidence!
Make Sure To Set Realistic Goals!
One of the biggest mistakes I see with people trying to set goals, and also why they give up on those goals, is because they’re not realistic! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a “Go big, or go home” kind of guy, but if you’ve never made more than $35,000 in a year, and you tell me you want to make $1,000,000 this year, I’m going to tell you that you either need a killer strategy, or you need to lower your expectations to something more realistic.
Setting unrealistic goals is like constantly running uphill and never reaching the top. They feel like they’re impossible to reach, and some people even experience a complete paralysis where they sit around and do nothing, because they are overwhelmed.
Goals should be motivating!
Essentially, you should set goals for all areas in life – start with long term, and then break them down into annual, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly. You want to make $250,000 this year? Alright, so you need to make $20,833 per month, or $4808 per week, and if you’re working 5 days per week (excluding automated/online income), you need to make $961.60 per day, which boils down to about $120 per hour. You see where I’m getting at?
You want to drive a Maserati? Well, here in L.A., they lease for about $799/month, which is about $26 dollars per day (counting every day of the month) You need to make $5 per hour (if you work M-F, 8 hours per day) to just pay for that. Bring your own lunch, and skip the Starbucks, and there you go! You want to travel, buy a house, go on vacation, send your kid to college, build a shelter for animals, whatever it is? Break it down. I promise, it will be much more motivational to save those extra bucks per day than just trying to work against a huge number.
Minimum, Target and Outrageous Goal Setting(the MTO method)
The MTO process was created by Raymond Aaron, and I find it to be a very helpful method for goal setting. I basically requires you to set a minimum (based on reality of your past achievements), target (slightly beyond what you know you can accomplish), and outrageous (what you know you cannot achieve). If you typically sell 5 products per day, your minimum would be 5, target could be 7, and outrageous could be 12. This can be applied for all areas of life. I sometimes even use them to compete against myself and beat my own records! If you have a sales team, this is almost a must!
“Goal setting for me is all about a process of elimination. I have so many ideas that my mind is constantly cluttered with so many possible things that I could do at any given moment. I have so many ideas that I forget about them from day to day. Sometimes I can’t focus, let alone set goals because of the million ideas going on in my head. Therefore, I make a “not to-do goal list”. This not to-do goal list consists of writing down everything I can think of that I want to achieve, and then crossing things off. It doesn’t matter what the reason is that I cross them off, it is just important to cross things off. After I cross off 90% of them, I know what I really want to achieve. I then hang that list on the wall and remind myself to stick to the current goals at hands. Now I can really focus, and I can get to the other ones later, after these are accomplished.” – Brian D. Evans, Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, www.influencive.com
The Daily Routine
Review your goals daily! This is extremely important! I review goals when I wake up, and I have them as my desktop wallpaper, and then I modify/optimize at the end of the day. It’s also important to set priorities on a daily basis, preferably before you start working on your goals. Do the most urgent things first, and then work your way through the list. If you find that you’re putting too much work/pressure on yourself, optimize! Don’t give up or feel demotivated, just change accordingly!
Write Down Your Goals!
This is THE most critical aspect of them all (aside from setting the actual goals). It’s scientifically proven that if you write down your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. Writing down goals gets you involved. You’re also telling your mind that you are taking a stand on something, and you will be more likely to feel responsible for getting it done, you stick with it!
Now go out there and set some big goals, break them down into smaller ones, and don’t forget to celebrate even small achievements!