You always seem to know your goals, you have them in your mind, right? Or you have them written down somewhere - however, if I asked you what they were, you wouldn't know. Not because you haven't set your goals, but because they are not written down. If they are not written down, they don't have power, they cannot become reality.
Do you have your goals written down? I know you've probably heard that many times before, but if you haven't done it yet, take this as your opportunity to do so.
I talked to someone the other day that seemed very determined and knew what he wanted in life and how he wanted to achieve it. Then I asked him what his business would look like in 2008, as well as what he would have achieved by then and he got quiet and asked me if he could get back to me. I thought he knew exactly what his goals were, but when it actually came to the point where he had to say it out loud, he was stuck. I have found, in my experience, a lot of business owners in the same situation.
See yourself having achieved the goals
So if you haven't written down your goals, make it a task to do so. Envision where you will be by the end of 2008. Say you are sitting at the Christmas dinner table and you tell your family and friends what a great year you had and what you had achieved. What would that look like? Write it down!
Ask yourself questions like what do I want to change in my business? What do I want to have achieved by the end of the year? What do I want my role to be in the business? What do I enjoy doing? What are my core values? Why did I start the business in the first place? How can I use my time most effectively to make more money?
Now sit down and make a list of things that are important to you. The ones that are urgent should be on your priority list. Don't try to achieve something that you know you will not. Or something that is so big it makes you feel overwhelmed when you just think about it. Goals should be easy, realistic and achievable. Make short-term goals that you can implement within 3 to 6 months and long-term goal from 1 to 3 years.
Start with small ones. Make it a goal, for example, to go through your pile of files once a week and clean them out. Or get on top of your to-do list and email inbox on a daily basis. At the end of the year you can say: “over the past year my desk was organized and my files never got so high that they were unmanageable. " Or, “this past year I was on top of all to-do's, accomplished them and never had more than 25 emails in my inbox. "
How does that feel?
Other short-term goals could be you want to be more organized in your office, want to implement a follow up system to stay in touch with your prospects or you have your marketing plan ready for the year.
Before setting any bigger goals that require action from you, let's look at your overall corporate goal. Where do you want to be in 3 years? What is your overall goal in your business? What is your vision? Is it to make a difference? How to make 7 figures in 3 years? Or do you want to automate most of your business so that you don't have to be IN it all the time? Once you know your corporate goal and why you are in business, you can look at your action goals. Remember to set goals that will bring you closer to the corporate goal like getting 15 new clients if you are a consulting business for example. Or that you will be in the media 5 times this year, and be known as the most unique spa experience in the city. Another big goal could be that you stop working 15 hours a day and get some help with some of the projects and tasks, or that you are not involved in your day to day business anymore and gain more freedom to work whenever you want.
After writing them down, look at them and think of how they make you feel. Are they aligned with your vision? Think about how you feel when you reached them. Make them part of your daily/weekly review so that you don't forget them and make wise decisions that are always in line with your goals.
In order to achieve certain goals, you will have to change some habits. Let's look at the previously mentioned example. If you used to write invoices whenever you needed the money and you made the goal to send them out on a monthly continuous basis, then something has to change. You have to be willing to change in order to reach that goal. This means you will have to be aware of your old habits that might be in the way and be willing to change it on purpose. Make a reminder in your calendar every last day of the month to remind you of the task or ask someone else to remind you or to do them at that time. Make sure you make a note to check in with yourself after a few months to see how well you are doing.
Having a plan to set goals is one thing, being proud of and reward yourself when you actually reached them is another. Give yourself a break, go for a spa day, buy that book that you always wanted to read or go for a nice dinner with your partner. Whatever it is, be proud of yourself that you set the goal and achieved it. Think about what difference it made in your business and life to actually have reached all these goals. Never forget to be gentle and reward yourself for good actions.
This article was written by Regina Minger, the Entrepreneur's Project Manager. She helps internet entrepreneurs outsource effectively, manages their projects and people and implements systems and guidelines so that the entrepreneurs can leverage its time to generate more revenue. Sign up to her newsletter on http://www.reginaminger.com and receive an interview Melanie Benson-Strick did with Regina Minger on mistakes an entrepreneur makes when launching a new program. You can use this article in your own documentation, website, ezine or newsletter, just add the company description and website to it.