One of the hardest questions we ask our clients is “what are your goals”? They ask for help with their marketing, and we need to know who their intended customer is. They ask for help increasing their revenue, but we need to know how much that is. We can’t help you improve unless you know what improvement looks like. Many times, their biggest obstacle to success is defining what success is.
How can you get to a destination without directions or a map? Sure, it can happen by chance, but more times than not you will simply get lost. Is this the type of approach you want to take with your business and life? It is alarming to think this is frequently how many of our days unfold. Take a moment right now and think, “What am I looking to accomplish this week and why?” I hope you can answer this question, but frequently the answer is vague at best and determined by someone else.
If you wanted more money, “how much would that be?” If you wanted a better life, “what does that look like?” If you wanted to lose weight, “how much?” Goals give us purpose and a target to work toward. If they are well defined you will have a focused way to measure success. The poorly defined ones can leave us confused and frustrated.
When you start defining your goals, it will likely be a difficult task. You may feel overwhelmed, confused, and even lost. That is OK and expected. Rest assured we all felt that way in the beginning. (Sometimes, we still do!) Just by thinking about them you are further ahead of the person you were yesterday. Keep working at them and define them further and further. Consider this example: “I want to lose weight” becomes “I want to lose 60 pounds”. You then start to take the steps to do so. You park farther away, skip desert, drink more water and start to make some progress. In a short time, you realize weight is just weight, and you are actually more concerned with body composition. The goal then becomes further defined to “I want to lose 60 pounds of body fat”. As you work more toward that goal, you fine tune it even more and measure your lean mass vs body fat. Your goal then evolves and become specific, “I want to have a body fat of 15% and fit in size 32 jeans by Thanksgiving”. The journey starts simple (though not easy) with the process of picking a goal that over time is better defined into what you are really looking to accomplish.
You may be asking, “Why work on goals at all? I heard it leads to burnout and frustration“. We find having goals gives a sense of purpose and a way to grow. Your goals can be professional, personal, or any mix. It will give you something to work toward, a direction to move in, and a way to experience satisfaction in accomplishment. There are indeed some that say goals are bad for you. They think it gives a sense of failure if you don’t achieve them, but we find these feelings come from your mindset not the goal setting process. Failure is a big part of success, and working toward a goal helps you to learn how to take failure in stride. Each time there is set back or obstacle your will and discipline will be challenged. If you don’t quit, they will grow stronger. The stronger they become the easier it is for you to accomplish your dreams. It isn’t that the process becomes easier. It actually seems to become harder. The thing is, you become so much stronger. You start to handle greater challenges and overcome obstacles you never thought you could. Each success and accomplishment will also build your confidence leading to an improved quality of life preparing you to succeed at a level few think they can.
I hope by now you are thinking about a possible goal and wondering, “How do I actually define it and succeed?” A tool we like to recommend is the smart goal check sheet that can be found here. This breaks the acronym SMART into:
SMART goal setting is only one method for developing your goals. We find it to be an easy way to define and measure progress. Any way you choose to pick your goals is fine. The method isn’t as important as having well defined goals to work on. This is how you start on the way to improving your current life circumstances.
I don’t want to overwhelm you, but I now want you to think even bigger. My clients, friends, and family will tell you I simply do not like limits. I firmly believe we set our own limits in life, but we allow the opinions of others to hold us back. Understand that we are personally in control of our futures and can determine whatever that is. Opinions are just that. We have to make our own choices. Take a look at your goals again. This time consider them from a different perspective. If you had unlimited resources (time, money, labor) would they look different? Would you, could you, should you go even bigger? This may be a larger concept than you are looking to tackle at the moment, but I mention it here to simply plant the seed. You really should consider how amazing you can be.
There are many topics in this post that will be built upon in the future. The intention for me today was to help you to start thinking in goals, and how they can be your personal map to hidden treasures. This isn’t a special formula for a few or something too difficult for you to do. It is simply one of the first steps in a strategy to improve your quality of life. Of course, only if you want to.
Anyone can accomplish monumental success if they can decide what that is for them, and that definition doesn’t have to be perfect on the 1st draft. You can rewrite it over and over until you get clear on what success means to you. By just starting this process you are already building your momentum, though slowly at first. You will find having goals helps you make better daily choices while building your discipline and focus. Over time you will get stronger and stronger and can accomplish so much more than you think you can now. Give it a try, and set 1 goal this week to work toward. You will be glad you did.