As we approach the half way mark for 2016 I thought I would pull together a post on goal setting. While this isn’t directly about digital marketing or SEO I would argue that a proper goal setting regimen is a crucial part of building any business. It’s also something I have subscribed to for years and credit much of my success to my goal setting.
A lot of us struggle day-to-day with how to juggle all the competing demands on our time. When you consider the sheer amount of content being thrown at us from all angles you realize how daunting it becomes to keep everything in working order. We all experience the onslaught of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, text messages and emails hitting our various inboxes non-stop. Where do we begin to sift through all of this?
Well let me see if I can help you a little here. I want to help you understand things in terms of our common thirst to become successful self-sustaining business people.
If you stop and think about things for just a few minutes you will understand that every billionaire has the exact same twenty-four hours in a day as you do. The only difference is how they choose to invest their time.
My hope for this post is to challenge you to invest your time wisely.
How I Start My Goal Setting
Personally, I like to start the process by sitting down in a quiet space with a cup of hot coffee and a yellow note pad.
(Yup…I go old school like that. No technology needed for this part. Besides, after spilling coffee on 3 or 4 different computers my goal setting was getting a little expensive)
So I sit down with my coffee and y pad and I let my mind wonder into the future. I try and picture myself 10, 15, 20 and 40 years from now.
This part of the process allows me to take a big picture perspective of what I want to achieve in the important areas of life.
I ask myself questions like what do I want to achieve over the next 4 decades? What type of experiences do I want to have? What type of relationships do I want to have (with my wife, with my kids, my future grandkids, my business associates, my friends etc.) I take the time to really envision what I want my life to mean.
The more time I spend visualizing how I want things to be (10,15,20,40 years from now) the clearer my vision becomes for my current goals. A roadmap begins to take shape in my mind. At this point it only has destinations on it but it is definitely the beginnings of a wonderful adventure.
I also do this for how I envision my health. How do I want to feel when I’m 50, 60, 70 years old? Do I want to be vibrant and energetic, overweight, flexible, or a role model of possibilities for my kids and (future grandkids)?
(I think it’s clear which we’d all pick but you need to do that soul searching for yourself)
Next, I move on to the experiences I want to have. They can be the vacations I want to take, places I want to visit, people I want to meet, contributions I want to make (places I want to volunteer, local charities I want to support), activities I want to enjoy or any number of experiences that I feel would lead to my ideal life.
As I start to frame up my long-term vision I am building a list of all the wonderful things I want to have, experience, contribute, and share with the people I love. This “bucket list” of dreams starts to become a shopping list of goals for me to review.
By going through this exercise before I start to work on setting my 1st year goals I have given myself a glimpse into what I’m trying to create. I have completed laying out the destinations on the roadmap. Going through this exercise aligns my thoughts with the overall vision I have for my life. It allows me to set intelligent 1 year goals in the important areas.
HOW TO COME UP WITH GOALS
When you do this exercise for yourself you will want to make sure you come up with goals for every area of your life. Try not to leave any stone unturned. Leaving any area out means that you will have a wonderful but incomplete vision of where you want your future to be.
What do you want for your finances?
What do you want for your career or business?
What do you want for your relationships?
What do you want for your health?
What do you want for your personal development?
What do you want to contribute to this world?
What do you for your spiritual life?
The list goes on but the best part of this whole process is that you can be as selfish as you want and it’s perfectly acceptable. This is about what YOU want to do with your life.
I like to have goals for each area of my life but at this point in both my life and career I spend more time breaking down my business goals as I know this is the means through which I will accomplish many of my other goals.
Remember that there is no limit to the number of goals you can set but make sure you choose a realistic number that you can manage or you will have difficulty seeing results as you move into the action phase and actually begin bringing these goals to life.
In order to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself I suggest that you use the SMART system for goals setting.
This system is effective because not only is it very actionable, it forces us to set our goals in such a way that they are in manageable and organized pieces.
From a psychological perspective we also want to write our goals in a way that affirms they will happen.
An example of this would be;
I will easily lose 10 pounds by running 15 miles a week by August 15, 2016.
By writing your goals in this manner you’ve been forced to set realistic goals for yourself. You’ve given them a measurement so you can track and see if you hit them and you’ve put them in a timeline so you know if you achieved them when you wanted to (and perhaps more importantly…for those of us who are procrastinators by nature we are given a firm deadline that we can use to monitor our deliverables).
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR GOALS
Once you set your goals, you should create a system to manage them. You can use Excel, Google Sheets, or any number of apps available out there.
First, write them out and make sure you put them in a place where you can see them every day!
For me, I like to read mine out loud daily and I have them printed and on my wall next to my computer. This way I’m forced to focus on them and I can’t avoid them without actively going out of my way to do so.
I break my yearly goals into quarterly goals, my quarterly goals in to monthly goals, and my monthly into weekly goals. This is how I plan my week to align with my overall vision.
When I do this I find it much easier to stay focused and say no to opportunities that do not appear to fit within my goals (unless they are going to help me achieve the greater vision).
One of my favorite goal setting programs, The 100 Day Challenge, has something called “After Action Review”. It’s a process that you go through every 2 weeks to see where you’re at with your goals and make the necessary changes to help ensure you achieve them.
I always use the process I learned in this program to help with my goals as I find it has set things out in a very easy to understand manner (even Ian who loves the complexities of things enjoys the process from this program).
For example I’ve learned through the program to always use goal buddies (which is just someone I speak with once a month to review my goals and keep me on track). Goal buddies keep each other accountable and focused on hitting the individual goals we set…they’re kind of like a coach only more effective because they’re in the game as well. My goal buddy actually introduced me to The 100 Day Challenge as it helps motivate you and hold you accountable during the 100 days in pursuit of your goals. It will push you and keep you on track and the results (at least for me) have been tremendous.
I wouldn’t have met so many incredible people or even have started SEO Cheat Guides if it weren’t for this challenge!
So as we approach the second half of the year I’d recommend finding a goal buddy (I am sure we can find someone amongst the 3,000 we currently have in our Facebook Group) and if you are interested in learning how to set your goals and achieve them this program is worth going through.
I wish you best of luck with achieving your goals. I can’t wait to hear about all of your successes!
Like always if you have any questions leave a comment below, and share with your friends.