One of the great things about being a small business owner is the self directed nature of being an entrepreneur. The problem is properly setting goals. I want to share with you some of my goals for 2018 and also give you some tips to achieve yours.
Step 1.) Identify your big wants.
These could be anything. I want to be an astronaut. I want to skydive. These are the dreams you have, but they aren’t goals. Not yet.
Step 2.) Make SMART Goals.
SMART is an acronym with a few different meanings, but here is the version I use.
- Measurable (measurement)
This should be done for each “goal” you have. For instance, I want to be more physically fit. I put that into two categories. First is cardiovascular, second is strength. Now I am no gym rat and am not doing a cross fit challenge anytime soon. However, I can break these down into very manageable actions.
You should be detailed with your goals to the point that you will do them, but not so specific that a change in plans eliminates the goal. For example, my goal is to work out 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. The problem here is that it isn’t specific enough. When will I do this? I personally have chosen a set time in the morning. By setting goals tied to a specific time, location, or activity, it is more likely to become a habit and thus, be successful.
There are two measurement factors. Pass/Fail or quantitative. Some goals can be both. In my running example, I choose to run 2 miles and want to run 3 by the end of the year. Either I run two miles or I don’t. I could however, choose to run for 30 minutes instead. My quantity is a distance, but it could easily be reps, weight, time or some other number. The second part of measurement is keeping track of it. Will you use a spreadsheet? A calendar? A smart watch? Measuring your results is a valuable part of setting goals and achieving them.
Lots of people say “Go hustle” or “Go big or go home.” Don’t do this. It is good to have big goals, but don’t neglect how much you can accomplish with lots of small ones. For example, I was talking with a friend about doing turn ins for Judo. Essential putting your body in the right position to throw an opponent. I mentioned that I considered a goal of doing 100,000 turn ins this year. That sounds huge at first, until you break it down. 100,000 divided by 365 is about 274. Divide that by 2, and we have 137 for right and left. Still sounds like a lot, until you consider the fact that on a typical night of Judo practice, one will do 80-100 turn ins. That is, eight different throws in reps of 10. So, doing eight throws with 20 reps is 160 each side.
Make your goals small and constantly succeed.
A good goal should be achievable 80-90% of the time. If you are succeeding 100%, make it harder. If you’re failing more than 20%, make it easier.
Some people use realistic here, but I think that fits under achievable. Your goal must be relevant. Why do you want to do this thing? What is the bigger picture? Do you want to be thinner? Look better in a cocktail dress? You need your WHY! If this goal is part of a larger goal or dream, how does it get you to that goal? Being physically fit will help me think more clearly, live longer, and eventually earn a black belt in Judo.
Basically, you need a deadline. When does this thing need to be accomplished? If you want to loose 10 pounds by June 1st, you know if you have. If you just want to loose 10 pounds, does that mean 10 years from now? Keep the deadline realistic. Having a 300 pound squat by March isn’t realistic if you are at 100 pounds today. It is possible on a further timeline.
Step 3.) Write it out.
An unwritten goal is nothing. It doesn’t exist. “Oh I thought about doing….” Didn’t happen. Unwritten goals are like Vegas.
Step 4.) Get Help
Setting goals without support from those around you makes it harder for you to succeed. I make it a point to tell my wife my goals. There are a few reasons for this. First, if my goals are contrary to hers, we may have relationship issues. Second, she is my biggest encouragement in my goals. If you are working for someone else, telling your boss some of your goals for your career can help you get further along.
Don’t tell everyone your goals or all the details! Telling your co-workers you are gunning for the management position may make them resent, plot against, or undermine you in ways you didn’t expect. A goal I don’t have a problem sharing with everyone is my avoiding the 3 C’s this year. I don’t want to “Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.” Telling others to call me out on it will help me make it happen.
Step 5.) Review
If you don’t revisit your goals, you won’t know what is working and what isn’t. Setting goals isn’t like a crock-pot where you set it and forget it. Goals are like flowers in a garden that need nurture and care. The simplest method comes from the military called an “After Action Review.” It consists of 5 questions.
- What did I accomplish?
- What didn’t I accomplish?
- What did I do well?
- What did I do poorly?
- What can I do better tomorrow?
The point is not to focus on questions 2 and 4, but to admit mistakes and use question 5 to move forward to success. The first two questions are quantitative. The second two are qualitative. You may have done what you wanted but it took longer than you wished because of distractions. If you wanted to go to the gym and didn’t, why? The last question is about optimism and looking forward, not dwelling on the past.
I’m setting goals!
Here are a few of my goals for 2018, feel free to share some of yours in the comments.
- 1 Personal photo project, not client work, completed each month.
- 1 Blog post a week, released on Friday.
- Working out 6 days a week in the morning, 3 cardio, 3 strength.
- Reading 1 chapter of my Bible a day in the morning.
- Not to Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.
I hope you will help me reach my goals this year.