Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
– Tony Robbins
Do you ever feel like you are on the hamster wheel of business? You perform your daily routines and actions, you help your clients, you go to meetings and make phone calls, but you feel like you don’t have much if anything to show for it.
We’ve all been there. We become so caught up in the daily demands of our lives and businesses that we forget why we started and what we are working towards. We lose motivation and do our jobs out of duty and drudgery, not joy and abundance.
While there could be any number of reasons this is our reality, a factor that can contribute to this pattern is a lack of clear and purpose-driven goals. It is in our nature to crave a finish line, a mark to reach, a goal to hit. Without a clear indicator of success, we feel as if we have failed every time.
What setting goals can do for you (both personally and in your business) could be transformative. Instead of feeling like you’ve missed the mark, you will see where you have succeeded. Instead of wondering what you should work on next, you will have clarity in your actions and a clear picture of your priorities.
Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? – You pull into your driveway after a long day of work and realize you don’t remember driving home? Our brains are experts at zoning out and cruising through life just as we always have without thinking about it.
The scary truth is that we can live our whole lives on autopilot. Without a clear direction of where we are headed and how to get there, you could wake up 20 years from now doing the same thing and getting the same undesired results.
Listen up. If you do not have goals in your business that you are working towards right now, then today is the day to start. Today we’re discussing the characteristics of effective goals and how you can take action today to set goals that will help propel your business forward.
But any knowledge and motivation you gain by reading this article will do you no good unless you take action. Before you continue reading, determine that you will do the work and take actionable steps to set attainable goals in your business (and life).
Are you ready? Let’s get into it.
Establish Your Direction
The first step in setting attainable goals is to know where you are and where you want to be.
1. Honestly evaluate where you are.
On a piece of paper (or in a web doc), write down where your business is right now. This could include things like your monthly revenue, how many clients you have, how many followers you have on Instagram, how many hours you work, etc. This step aims to record tangible and real data from your business, not how you feel about your business (i.e. if you feel burnt out or dissatisfied with what you do.)
2. Dream of where you want to be.
Next, write down where you want to be. How much income do you want to be bringing per month? How many clients do you want to have consistently, or how far out do you want to be booked out? How many active and engaged followers do you want on social media? Do you want to work less in your business? Do you want to work more? Getting these dreams out on paper will help you take action to create the life you want to have.
3. Set a realistic timeframe
A dream does no good if it’s always in the future. In order to actually realize the life you want to have, you need to set a realistic timeframe for when you want these things to happen. Is this dream scenario 1 month from now, 6 months from now, 1 year from now, or 5 years?
Set Your Goals
Now that you have a good idea of what you want and where you’re headed, it’s time to shape these dreams into attainable goals. A good goal is “SMART” and is characterized by these 5 things:
A specific goal is infinitely better than a nebulous one. When making your goal specific, ask and answer the questions, “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?”
Your goal needs a mark that indicates whether or not you have completed it. The goal of growing your Instagram following by 2,000 people is measurable, while the goal to “gain more followers” is not. You would never know if you reached it or not.
Your goals need to be achievable for you. Don’t look at what other people are doing – focus on you right where you are. Is this goal going to stretch you? Will you be challenged? Your goals should push you. Can you realistically meet this goal in the given time frame? It’s great to shoot for the stars only if you have the time and resources to reach them. Only you know what is realistic for you. Your goal needs to be both challenging and attainable.
Set goals that are relevant to your business and will propel you forward to success. Try to set goals that will give you the maximum output for the least amount of effort, and focus on the goals that are the most important
Your goals must have a timeframe. If you don’t set a time in which you want to complete your goal, you will lack motivation and clarity as to what actions you should take. A good goal-setting practice is to have short-term goals as well as long-term goals. Your short-term goals may be monthly or quarterly goals while your longer-term goals may be yearly or 5-year goals.
Now that you’ve set and written down your goals, it’s time to make your plan for how you will reach these goals. Remember, clarity and specificity are crucial.
Step 1: Break your big goals into smaller goals.
It can be helpful to do this step on a calendar. Write out your main goals on the date of their deadline, then work backward to determine what needs to happen and when in order to meet your big goals.
For instance, if your goal for this year is to save $100,000 for a new piece of machinery by this date next year, you may need to break that goal down into smaller, trackable chunks like saving $25,000 per quarter. Put these smaller sub-goals on your calendar so you can track your progress towards reaching your big goal.
Step 2: Determine the routine actions that will lead to your success.
It is the on-mission daily actions that bring about success. Your big, dreamy goals will not come to fruition unless you are putting in the consistent work every day that will propel you towards that success.
So get into the nitty-gritty of your everyday business operations. What actions do you need to take every quarter, month, week, and day to accomplish your sub-goals and big goals? Make a list of these items and dedicate space on your calendar to do them.
Step 3: Get Accountability and Celebrate Wins
It is impossible to stay motivated all day, every day. We go through highs and lows in our business, and can often be tempted to give up when it gets hard. That’s where accountability comes in. Grab your small business best friend and talk about your dreams and the daily habits you are establishing to see those dreams come true. When you’re feeling down, ask for support and encouragement to keep doing the work.
And when you see success, celebrate your wins! When you land that next client, treat yourself and your team to lunch or write thank you notes to those who made it possible. These small celebrations will help provide motivation to continue on.
Give yourself Grace
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”
– John Maxwell
You have big dreams – big dreams for yourself and for your business. With the right dedication and the right plan, you can bring these dreams into reality, but it takes work.
Commit to your goals, but also remember that your goals are a tool to help you grow. If you find yourself working for your goals, and not the other way around, then it’s time for a vision check. There is no shame in adjusting your goals to fit your life. They are not set in stone and you are not a failure if you need to reevaluate and redirect your energies elsewhere.
Here’s the bottom line: Work hard and give yourself grace.
And know that you have a team of bookkeeping experts cheering you on over here at JR Bookkeeping! Often times the first step in reaching your goals is to consult a professional. We’re here for you and we want to help you reach your goals in your business’s finances and elsewhere.
We want to hear from you! Contact us to let us know how we can help you reach your dreams.