Goal setting is a useful practice that has a tendency to be reduced to a self-help buzzword. Setting goals can seem like a laborious process, but the fact remains that successful people set goals. However, the act of setting goals is not what leads to success. The key to success can be found in the process of working towards actionable goals. Let’s learn more about the importance of achieving a process mindset, and how to craft actionable goals.
The start of the New Year is a popular time to set resolutions and goals. This makes sense since this is a logical starting point and a natural new beginning. A couple weeks in is when things may start to crumble and that goal you had every intention of achieving may seem further from your reach and maybe you start justifying giving up. Giving up is the last thing you should do. Instead, craft a new plan, refocus your efforts and turn your goal into your reality.
Understanding Actionable Goals and Motivation
A goal is simply deciding you want something and determining you are willing to do what it takes to achieve that something. Most people set goals for personal reasons like they want to lose weight, kick a bad habit or improve their relationship with their significant other. Goals are also a key part of advancing your career or business. In this post, I’m going to look specifically at setting actionable goals for your business. However, many of these principles are also applicable to setting personal goals.
The Trouble with a Goal Mindset
A goal mindset focuses almost exclusively on the outcome. The objective is to achieve the goal and the method or process of reaching that goal is irrelevant. The problem with a goal mindset is that it leads to short-term success and does not create real and lasting change. When using a goal mindset you become so focused simply on reaching your goal, that you may waste your time with ineffective strategies. Ultimately, if and when you reach your goal, you’ll likely lose your momentum and fall back into your old ways.
The Value of a Process Mindset
A process mindset prioritizes the outcome over the end result. This means that you are willing to change your habits long-term in order to reach your goal. Essentially, achieving your goal is almost like a side-effect of making positive and lasting changes in your life. These positive changes become a habit and you can easily replicate the process, again and again, to continue to have a lasting and positive impact.
Finding the Right Goals
In order to figure out your actionable goals, you must first think about what you wish to achieve. Look at where you are, and where you want to be. From expanding your customer base to increasing overall sales or expanding your social media following, there are a lot of possibilities. All of these possibilities are things you likely want to do, but when it comes to goal setting you need to narrow things down and select something specific.
While it can be tempting to go for the easy and actionable goals, take the time to think it over and come up with something meaningful. Identify a problem or issue that can help take your business to the next level. Figure out what you hope to gain by reaching your goal, and as you think things through, dig deeper.
For example, maybe your goal is to increase your social media followers. The next step is to figure out what you hope to achieve with all of these new followers. More followers will likely translate into more likes and shares and allow you to enjoy a higher level of engagement. However, gaining all of these new followers is not a self-sustainable plan. Reaching this particular goal means you will need to dedicate more time to managing your social media accounts going forward. Think things through to figure out how to deal with the results or consequences of your goals.
It’s important to have big dreams and aspirations, but when it comes to setting goals stick to things that are reasonable. You want to challenge yourself, but at the same time setting yourself up for failure can be demoralizing. Keep in mind that the reasonable goals you set today will lead to bigger and better goals in the future. In order to reach your big dreams and aspirations tomorrow, you need to knock out some easier goals today.
Zero In on the Right Goal
Selecting a goal you are passionate about increases the odds you will tackle it and find success. Certainly, whenever possible you should select goals you are excited to take on. However, sometimes you need to take a more realistic approach and do what is in the best interest of your business. It may not be fun or exciting, but if it moves your business forward it will be worth it in the end.
Reaching Your Goal
Just figuring out your goals is half the battle, but once you know your objective it’s time to take action. The right strategy can make your goals turn into your reality, so here’s what you need to do once you set out to accomplish your goal.
Make a List
As you think through possible goals in search of the perfect one, write everything down. Create a running list of goals big and small. When you think of new goals add them to the list. As you accomplish goals and grow your business, things will change and some of the goals on your list may become obsolete – that’s fine. Writing everything down provides an overview of everything you wish to achieve and can help you determine where to focus your efforts.
Seeing all of your goals written down can help you figure out the best starting point. There may be overlap between some of your goals, so taking the time to see everything all together can help you determine the most logical plan of attack. Use this information to prioritize your plan.
Define Your Goal
While you’re at it and writing things down, take things a step further. Document your plan to reach your actionable goals and how you will measure success. For example, if you want to increase traffic to your site, decide how many more visitors you want in a specific period of time. Setting these parameters makes it easy to know if and when you achieved your goal.
Map Your Route
Now that you know where you want to go and when you want to get there, map your course. Reaching your goal depends on the effectiveness of your plan. While your destination matters, how you get there matters a great deal, too.
Plan for the Worse
A great plan needs to outline what actions you will take to reach your goal, but it should also include a contingency for any setbacks you encounter. You may encounter obstacles that can delay or possibly even prevent you from reaching your goal. Think about what issues you are likely to encounter and customize your plan to address these issues. Having a plan in place will ensure you are better able to navigate any problems and stay on course.
Focus on the Process
Once you have your plan just focus on the process. Constantly thinking about the end result can be a distraction that actually gets in the way of you reaching your goal. Go through your plan step by step to ensure you accomplish all of the steps and simply focus on the task at hand.
Track your results as you go to get a handle on your progress. You may notice you are falling behind schedule, so adjust as necessary to ensure you reach your due date. Keeping track of your progress can help you create more realistic plans going forward. Use what you learn in future planning sessions to set yourself up for success going forward.
Keeping track of your progress can also make easier work on figuring out where things went wrong. Reviewing failures isn’t fun, but learning from your mistakes ensures you won’t make the same errors again. Keep a positive attitude to keep self-doubt at bay, but if you fail to reach your goal you should still take the time to evaluate why you did not succeed.
Take Care of Business
Setting actionable goals can help you steadily grow your business. In order for these goals to be effective, you need to set the right goals and create a solid plan. What goals do you have in mind for your business? Is improving your site ranking one of your goals? Because I can help with that one. Let me know if you want to talk this through.