Have you ever thought about the difference between a resolution and a goal? I spent some time thinking about it as a small business owner and operator, because I believe it is important to set goals for yourself and your business.
A resolution is merely a bare minimum of setting a goal. For example, it is very popular to set resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but how many of these are carried on?
Whether you want to expand your business, get more clients, develop a better social media presence or improve your current website, cut down your operation expenses or increase your employees’ salary, etc., you need to set benchmarks and an action plan in order to achieve what you want for yourself and your venture.
Like many things in life, goal-setting requires a framework to be created, implemented and achieved.
Let’s look at 5 tips that I use every day personally and professionally to set realistic and successful goals.
Set Goals that Matter
When you set goals for yourself or your business, it is important to ensure they MATTER to you and there is value in achieving them. If you set goals that don’t matter to you, there are good chances you will not be putting in the necessary work to accomplish them. Your goals should have a meaningful purpose that will make a difference once achieved.
It requires commitment to achieve goals, so it is better to have fewer goals than too many.
Make Your Goals SMART
Generally, we have a good idea of what goals we want to achieve, however it is important to write them down and create an action plan for each of them. It might sounds complicated and time consuming, but it can be simple and the time invested is worth it.
Your goals should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time.
Specific: Your goal should be clear and provide sufficient direction. It doesn’t matter if it takes a day or a year to achieve a goal, because the small steps taken between setting the goal and achieving it is what matters. Having a clear idea of the end result is important. Remember that fewer goals is better than too many, otherwise it can become overwhelming.
Measurable: In order to be able to track your goal’s progress, it needs to be measurable. You can use precise dates, amounts, numbers, etc. if your goal is to increase your revenue by 5% in the next year, then you need to be able to see if your revenue is increasing or not. Remember that by making your goals measurable, you will be able to celebrate when you achieve them.
Attainable: Your goals should be realistic. If you set a goal to travel around the world and give yourself only a month to gather all the funds and information, get yourself prepared, etc., it is unlikely that your goal will be achieved. You need to feel that you can achieve your goals otherwise it will only lead to disappointment and leave you with a feeling of failure. Your goals can be whatever you want and takes as long as you want, but they should be attainable.
Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to yourself and your career. They should help you going where you want to be. Make sure to separate personal and professional goals as sometimes, they don’t relate to each other even thought they can positively influence each other. I always keep my personal and career goals separate as it helps me to stay organized.
Time: Your goals should have a deadline. It make them real and create a feeling of urgency for you to work towards accomplishing them. It is absolutely fine if you realize that you need more time, but stick to having a deadline.
Use What Works For You
Now that you have set SMART goals, you have to think about what tools might help you in achieving them. I want to emphasize here that you can use whatever tools or ways that work for you in achieving your goals. As a business owner and also on a personal level, I constantly make to-do lists and I have a daily planner to stay organized and keep my projects on track. It works like a charm for me, but it doesn’t mean it would for you. The best tools are those that you already are using, so you can build on this foundation.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
I believe that celebrating your accomplishments along the way and at the end is an important part of the goal-setting process. It helps you stay motivated and continue to work even when things become more difficult or you encounter an obstacle, because you can visually see that your goals are being achieved. How will you reward yourself?
I hope this is helpful to you, and that you accomplish your goals successfully!