Goals drive results. Ideas are great, but, without a clear objective, those sparks of sheer brilliance will fall flat. If you don’t have a gameplan, how can you expect action to follow?
That’s why goal-setting is a must for any ambitious individual with an idea they cannot let go of. In this post, I’ve shared my 5 best strategies for goal setting. By following this outline, I’ve created a business while also focusing on other passion projects.
1) Be Realistic
Above everything, you must be realistic about your goals. Now, to clarify, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t dream big. In fact, I’ve always had massive and ambitious dreams.
But it’s easy to get wrapped up in your dreams and become impatient. Instant gratification is something everyone wants, which is one of the reasons that almost 90% of startups fail. People have a dream they want to reach right away. But achieving goals takes patience, persistence, and perseverance. It’s an endurance test — not a thirty second sprint.
The best way I manage realistic goals is starting with the first step. If your goal is to start a business this year, then you must first make a list of tasks you need to complete in order to perform a successful launch.
Depending on your industry, this first task may differ. For instance, when I first launched my business, my first step was to create a name and purchase a domain. From there, I had to create a visual brand template and a website. However, because I launched a service-based business, I had a low startup cost. I didn’t have to worry about manufacturing; I didn’t have to concern myself with renting a brick and mortar shop; and I didn’t have to stress over finding investors.
So, depending on your industry and your goal, your task list will differ. However, it’s important that you break your goal into bite-sized, manageable tasks that you can accomplish without feeling panicked.
Without a clear list, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Think about it this way — creating a business name is a lot less intimidating than launching an ENTIRE business. You can focus on your daily, weekly, or even monthly tasks, rather than becoming overwhelmed with the larger dream.
Plus, by creating a realistic task list, you are more likely to follow through on your goal. And — speaking from personal experience — you will actually get MORE done, because you’re focused on the task at hand, not on all those larger tasks that seem impossible.
2) Start with Your Priorities & Work Your Way Down
This practice is something I learned over time. When I first started to tackle my goal, I was consumed with all things business. I overbooked myself with work and tried to be everything at once. I rarely asked for help, and I expected myself to operate at 110% everyday.
What was the result?
Severe burn out.
I became exhausted, and my relationship, my health, and my overall quality of life diminished. I knew something had to change. I knew I had to reevaluate my business and start looking outside of my business.
So I made a list of my priorities, which included:
- My family
- My health
- My business
When I actually took the 5 minutes to write out my priority list, I was shocked. I was investing almost every moment into my business. And I was completely ignoring the other more important elements of my life.
All I could see was scaling my business, making more money, expanding my revenue streams, and all the other business ambitions I had in mind. I was so busy living in the future that I forgot about the present. I forgot to enjoy those small moments of happiness, those cuddles with our furbabies, those easy laughs and content smiles.
So I invite you to learn from my mistakes. Create a priority list, and build your tasks around what is truly important in your life. And I promise, you will still have time to chase your dream. But you’ll do so in a healthy manner, and you’ll wake up each morning wanting to work on your goal.
3) Set a Strategy
A goal without a strategy will likely not go far. Similar to a realistic task list, a strategy gives you something to focus on, so your attention remains on the individual elements of your goal, and not that familiar sense of impossibility.
However, a strategy is different than a jotted down task list. It’s a clear action-plan on how you’ll achieve your goal. If you will, it’s the road map designed to lead you directly to your dream.
Your strategy will EXPAND on your task list, giving you actionable steps that you need to take in order to tick off those tasks.
If you’re like me and you want to launch a business, your task list may look like:
- Create a business name
- Start a brainstorming journal and write down names that come to me
- Research available domain names
- Think of names that are directly related to my industry (for instance, when we were creating our business, we knew we wanted the word ‘designs’ in our business name, since we offer design services)
And the list goes on. The important thing is you lay out a clear strategy that will produce results.
If you’re goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, one of your tasks may be to exercise daily. In that event, your strategy may look something like this:
- Wake up one hour earlier to exercise
- Join a fitness program
- Recruit a work-out buddy to hold me accountable
Whatever your goal is, you’ll achieve much higher results if you establish a clear, actionable strategy.
4) Create a Routine
Once you have your realistic tasks, your priority list, and an effective strategy, it’s crucial that you form a consistent routine.
After all, consistency is the cornerstone of success.
If you create a schedule — and stick with it! — you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable. Also, once you build a routine, you’ll be able to get more done in likely less time.
So how do you go about creating a consistent routine? Well, I’ve laid out some of the strategies I used to form a routine centered around balance and productivity.
i) Determine Your ‘High Productive’ Times: we all have hours that we’re more productive. For instance, if you’re a night owl and become a productivity machine when the moon is shining and the home is quiet, then embrace that time. Use that momentum to tackle your tasks and implement your strategies. Forget what society deems ‘acceptable,’ and trust the natural rhythms of your body.
ii) Create Days for Specific Tasks: If you own a business, then you know the different hats you must wear. That’s why it’s important to schedule clear days where you accomplish specific tasks. For more insight on this strategy, check out my previous post on Creating a Content Calendar.
iii) Complete Your Top 3 Every Night: Before bed, write out the top 3 tasks you must complete the next day, starting with the most important. And follow this list in chronological order, meaning do NOT start the next task until you complete the one above — no matter how tempting it may be to complete the ‘fun’ task first.
iv) Schedule Your Priorities First: Before you schedule your business tasks, make sure you schedule in your priorities above all else. For instance, I’ll block in a run with my dog and my quality time with Sultan BEFORE I schedule my business tasks. This strategy ensures your routine is balanced.
v) Be Consistent with Your Rise and Down Time: Yes, that’s right. Get up at the same time EACH morning (even on weekends) and go to bed at the same time EACH night. Of course, at times, this practice may need alteration, especially if there’s an important event you must attend or an emergency. However, for the vast majority of your days, be consistent with your wake and sleep times. Not only will this allow your body to shift into a natural cycle, but it will also give you more energy.
vi) Form Better Habits: Habits are hard. Research says that you need to stay consistent with a new activity for 66 DAYS for it to become a habit. Yikes! That means, in order to create a routine, you must be consistent. Over time, your routine should turn into a habit. You should wake up each morning, knowing EXACTLY what you must do for a successful and productive day. If you’re interested in habit development, I highly recommend you check out Brendon Brouchard’s High Performance Habits.
Above are 6 strategies I used to create a consistent routine. Once I made my routine a habit, I experienced more balanced, higher levels or productivity, and more energy.
5) Batch Your Work
If you read my previous post on Batching Work, then this may feel like a bit of a repeat. However, it never hurts to revisit an important subject.
Batching work starts with creating a consistent schedule. By having certain days that you accomplish specific to-dos, you’re more likely to complete your tasks. Plus, once you’re engrossed in a certain task, you’re more focused.
Here’s a snapshot of my content batch days:
- Mondays: Blog Posts (x2) & Pinterest Graphics – for the week
- Tuesdays: Photography (1 shot each) – for the week
- Wednesdays: Social Media captions/content creation
- Thursdays: Graphics
- Friday: Email marketing
- Saturdays: Online ads
By having a consistent plan for each day, I can focus on that specific task. In turn, it boosts my productivity and takes me one step closer to achieving my goal.
Have you ever watched other people tackle their goals like they were nothing more than wisps of wind in the air?
Yeah, I get it.
But with these 5 strategies, you can accomplish all those goals that once seemed impossible. As long as you stay in the moment, practice patience, and remained committed to consistency, then there’s nothing that can hold you back from your dream.
Do you have any other strategies that have worked for you? If so, I’d love to hear them!
I’m doing something a bit new. At the end of each blog post, I’m sharing with you a list of resources that I personally love. Each resource will be tied to the topic and will offer a fresh perspective.
More than anything, I want you to learn actionable steps from each post I make. So, by sharing the same resources I’ve used, enjoyed, and received unimaginable insight from, I hope that you, too, find similar inspiration.
For more tips on goal setting, check out this past podcast episode from Amy Porterfield
As I mentioned earlier in this book, if you want to improve your habits, read High Performance Habits from Brendon Burchard