Having an action plan for your goals is essential to getting from point A to point B.
I think the phrase “goal-setting” is intimidating for some people.
Goal-setting sounds like something that requires a lot of focus and time. Two things you don’t have a lot of when you’re growing a business alongside your day job.
And, it’s absolutely true.
The bigger your goals are – the more time and focus they deserve. And, that can be overwhelming and make you want to bury your head in the sand.
After all, your motivation for starting your business was to share your talents with the world and achieve financial freedom. Not to be buried in SEO research and email list building courses.
But, there is a way to approach your goal-setting so that the process gives you an action plan for moving forward.
Knowing the characteristics of a goal can help to change your perspective about goal-setting.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “goal”? Most of the people that I talk to think about things like; losing weight, getting organized, and having more money.
And, those are all wonderful (and totally attainable) goals. But, they’re also pretty major and, in most cases, require a significant lifestyle change.
What if I told you, “buy a dozen eggs for dinner tonight” was a goal? (yes, I am a HUGE supporter of breakfast for dinner and we eat eggs daily)
And, “wash all of the bed sheets before bed tonight” was a goal? Mundane, daily tasks qualify as goals.
Some goals you accomplish and some you don’t – but, your effort towards all of them should be acknowledged.
According to Jeff Davidson, the author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Reaching Your Goals,” there are three basic characteristics that make a goal effective.
Challenging but Reachable
The goal should be something that is challenging to your personal self, schedule, routine, etc.
Something that pushes you a bit out of your comfort zone but is completely reachable and something that you can succeed at if you give a concerted effort.
Goals that cause a little bit of anxiety but, ultimately, you can deal with the overwhelm that they cause are perfect.
I don’t know about you, but there are some days when getting to the grocery store is challenging.
Walking from the car to the back of the store where the eggs are, with my three children in tow, is a frickin’ marathon! “Buy a dozen eggs for dinner tonight” definitely ticks the “challenging but reachable” box.
Specific and Quantifiable
Your goals should be specific so that you are setting an expectation. You are creating a way that you can determine if you reached the goal or not.
For instance, “buy eggs” is pretty up in the air. This goal is open-ended, and therefore, it doesn’t hold the same weight or priority.
But, when you say “buy a dozen eggs for dinner tonight”, it is very specific about how many eggs and what you need them for.
Associated with a Timeline.
This is the most important characteristic because it sets a deadline for when you need to achieve the goal.
If you just said “buy eggs”, your goal would fall to the bottom of your list, you might even forget that you need to do it, and then everyone will be having sandwiches and cereal for dinner (I miss those days … before kids).
Associating your goal with a timeline gives you a deadline that you must accomplish your goal by and makes it easy to schedule into your daily task lineup.
We’re all trying to improve focus and concentration so that we can stay on task.
The chores, errands, tasks that you do on a daily basis are all goals – and, you should celebrate accomplishing each one of them!
Action to take >>>
Look at your daily task lineup and pick three things that you have to do today. Celebrate accomplishing each one by having an extra glass of wine (or, beer – I’m a 100% beer-luvin’ mama).
Grab a special dessert and don’t share it. Anything you feel is a celebration of all of your hard work. You set a shit-load of goals to accomplish today … and, you got a lot of them done. Yay you!!
You can accomplish large goals the same way that you accomplish the little everyday goals
The best way to reach your goals is to take small, but smart, steps towards reaching them. In other words, make a little bit of progress every day towards reaching your goals.
The saying goes, “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”
You can be proactive, set your goal with mind, body, and heart connected, and have all of the safety nets in place.
But, if you try to make a huge bit of progress towards your goal all at once, you will fail, and you will get discouraged, and you will stop trying.
That 8% of people who achieve their new year’s resolution each year do that by making small bits of progress each day.
They know that the bigger the goal is, the longer that it takes to reach.
And, therefore, the more patient you have to be to reach the goal.
Steps That Successful People Follow When Setting Goals
Connect your heart to the goal
You have to be emotionally connected to your big goals in order to stay the course and continue to work on them daily.
I am emotionally connected to growing this business. Helping women actualize a life they love energizes me. I get goosebumps when I hear success stories and am moved to tears when I see how happy they are.
Make a step towards progress right away
As soon as you set your goal and connect your heart to it, make a step towards accomplishing it. Any small step will do.
That first step is the hardest so, it’s best to get it out of the way and just do it. If your goal is to write ten blog posts then, sit down and write the titles of each right away.
Learn something each time you take a step, and build on that
Every time you take a step towards your big goals, consider what you learned and how that step got you closer to your goal.
This reflection helps you to stay on track and continue to move forward, rather than get distracted.
Action to take: Think about a goal that you have –a big one – and, write down at least 10 things that you can do over the next 10 days (one each day) to work towards that goal.
Goal-Setting For An Action Plan
Treat your “everyday tasks”, like goals – because they are.
When you wake up in the morning, look at your to-do list. Treat all of the chores and errands that you have on the list as a goal.
Each time you check one off, you should celebrate and feel accomplished that you achieved your goal. This exercise helps to condition that positive feeling of setting goals and reaching them.
If you didn’t reach some of the goals on your list, fail beautifully and think about how you can re-arrange your day differently tomorrow to reach those goals.
DO NOT crawl into bed and berate yourself for not getting done ALL that you wanted to get done.
Add a task to your everyday list that helps to make progress towards your big goals.
As you are planning out your daily task lineup, and writing down all that you want to get done in the coming day, make sure to include a goal that will bring you closer to your big goals.
Let go of all of your definitions of success and progress and just add a goal to your daily task lineup that, when accomplished, gets you that much closer to your goal.
You have to take it one small step at a time.
Action to take >>>
Spend 10 minutes tonight writing your daily task lineup in your goal notebook. If you use a whiteboard, or chalkboard that’s fine too.
Think about how you will celebrate your accomplishments when you reach the goals that you prioritize for the day.
Add ONE small step towards a big goal that you have wanted to accomplish.