Setting goals in business should seem like the simplest thing to do! Yet very often business owners, especially small independents, find that while setting those goals are relatively easy, achieving them are a whole other matter. Is this you? Don't worry…you are not alone. Many business owners, including yours truly, have struggled with this very concept!
Today we are going to take a close look at setting goals in business. What I am NOT going to do is give you some formula or acronym to help you set better goals. Why? Simply put…I have no idea what your goals are…and I believe it would be irresponsible of me to say, "Hey…first do this, then do that. If you listen to me you'll reach every goal you set!" If that's what you're looking for, then I'm afraid that I'll disappoint you. We wouldn't want that!
Instead, I'll share with you what I feel is the main cause of not reaching your goals, a more efficient way of setting goals and a creative goal I have personally set for 2012 and my plan to tackle that. My wish for you is not to do what I do…but rather, take from it what you think will work for you. You'll hear me say (or type) many times as you come back here to read….there is no cookie cutter approach to business.
You are either thinking, "Thank you, Theresa!" Or, "What the heck does this have to do with business?!" I just figured while 2012 is still in it's infancy, we'd start here. This is when most of us start setting ….bum bum bum…..THE RESOLUTION! Which, by the way, is a goal. Do you see where I'm going with this yet?
Yes, my friends, the dreaded resolution. Let me ask you this….how long did yours last this year? Every new year, people all over the world set for themselves a lofty goal or two and then, usually pretty quickly, they give up! Let's take a look at some of your more typical New Year's resolutions:
- I'll quit smoking.
- I'll lose weight.
- I'll eat healthier.
- I'll spend less time at work and more time with my family.
Pretty good goals, right? Do you see what's wrong with them?
These are what I refer to as open ended goals. An open ended goal is a goal that has no actionable plan…and one that is not realistically attainable. Now you have probably heard about S.M.A.R.T. goals. This stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. While this is a great starting point, I believe you also have to add ADJUSTABLE to that list as well as have reasonable steps that you can put into place. What does this mean? Let's take a look at one of our resolutions above:
"I'll lose weight." Specifically speaking, here you would have to start with perhaps a number or even a dress size in mind. So we can make this goal more specific by saying, "I'll lose 100 pounds in 6 months." While this goal is specific, it may not quite be very realistic. If you think about why we fail when it comes to reaching our goals one can say that sometimes our specific goals are just too big. Plus, often times, if we don't see some major headway being made, we give up!
Instead, it's really more important to think about small, actionable steps you can take instead of being so focused on the end result. Let's try this again:
"I'll lose weight." Start with something small. Small changes in diet like…"I will eat breakfast every morning." "I will go for a 15 minute walk 3 times a week." Then, "I will do this consistently over the next 4 weeks." Important to mention, don't beat yourself up if you falter. We are all human and sometimes we fall. If you do, remember that tomorrow is a new day. Instead of defeating yourself by beating yourself up over it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again!
As a mixed media artist, I set artistic goals for myself. One of those goals for this year is to learn to doodle! Seems easy, yes? In fact, doodling isn't all that easy. It requires, at least I think, getting a to not only a skill level, but a really relaxed emotional state as well. I sometimes have a hard time with that. So, I have set up some realistic, actionable steps for myself to attain my goal:
- Put together a doodling kit with a sketchbook and pens.
- Spend 15 minutes, 5 times a week doodling in black and white…5 minutes of warm up, 10 minutes being creative.
- Purchase a book about doodling or drawing techniques for inspiration within the next 2 weeks.
- Find an online or local drawing workshop by summer.
My first step is easily attainable. I have a separate bag that I bring with me anywhere that contains the items I need to play.
My second step is very specific. Why? Knowing me as I do….I already know that if I start bringing into this process watercolors and colored pencils I will get all hung up on color combinations that I will lose sight of what I am actually trying to accomplish. The warm up period is necessary for me to "loosen up", so to speak.
My third step requires a little research like doing a Google search and asking other designers for recommendations.
Finally, I love taking classes as well as teaching them, so for me it is a good idea to look into locating a workshop of some kind to build my drawing skills.
Remember one important thing as you ponder what your goals:
Just believe in yourself….I believe in you!