At the start of every year, every quarter, every month, every new moon, every new day for that matter, there is a chance to start and start over.
Starting requires goal setting. It’s not an option. You’ve got to know what you’re doing, where you going and what you want. You’ve got to set goals, calibrate your aim and keep assessing your trajectory to know that you’re on the right track.
Goals, by themselves, are not enough to help us win the long game we’re playing when we set out to build a profitable business. In order to make certain our goals are going to get us what we want, we have to build some systems around the goal setting that support us.
Here are Six of my Goal-Setting systems to implement so you can maximize the chances of getting what you want.
- Write goals down.
Get a journal, a legal pad, a daytimer, a three ring binder, a spiral bound notebook—and if you choose to use any of these, don’t forget to find a special pen that you can always find, preferably tethered to the notebook you’re using for your goal setting.
If you’re like me, I’ve begun to order my life through technology, and so I keep my goals in digital formats. I use Evernote, a searchable database of my notes. I’ve got all kinds of things recorded there—blog post ideas, notes from meetings, idea-storming results with my team.
It’s here, too, where I store my goals, year over year. Since I keep my notes digitally, I have access to the lists of things I said I wanted to achieve. Sometimes, when I’m ready to initiate a project on the goal list, I put dates beside the goals, and marry them to the calendar.
Then, I can create a project management plan and make sure I’m moving forward.
Sometimes, then, I use another piece of free software, Trello, and turn goals into activities and deadlines. This way, my todo list also has a list of my goals, and I can always evaluate how I’m using my time. To maximize my time, productivity and effectiveness, the activities I’m accomplishing have to tie to actions that help me achieve what I want in my life and in my business. All of my activities are tied to my goals and my desire to achieve them.
- Make Goals specific
At the start of every year, people make resolutions. Resolutions are easily broken and don’t work. Often, it takes ten years of broken resolutions to even make a start on the desired outcome.
People make resolutions in general terms—like “make more money” or “lose weight”. Until the resolution gets translated into goal terminology, written down, and married to a place on the calendar, it’s just some vague kind of “want to” that isn’t really a commitment that can be translated into action.
For a goal to work, it must be committed to writing and written in as specific terms as you can. So, to take the “make more money” example, you can translate that “generate 25% more income monthly beginning in March, 2015” or “to make $100,000 by the end of Q3, 2015”.
To maximize the chances you’ll get what you want, make your goals specific, measurable and clear. Use specific language. Declare your exact intentions—and write them down, then put them on the calendar, measure your progress toward them and celebrate when you reach them.
- Review your Goals often.
This is VERY important—goals that don’t get reviewed get forgotten.
I review my goals most mornings before I start email or other work. I do this just after or right before I check my bank balances in all of my accounts. (I do this daily—and recommend you do to).
You can keep a calendar reminder to review your goals each week or at the same time each day. You can keep a list of them in your smartphone using Evernote or another application that shares data between your computer and your smartphone.
You can do like I do, and keep your goals on a list in Trello that’s anchored, so you can evaluate your “todo” activities and make sure they’re aligned with your goals.
You can make signs and put them up in your office. You can make thermometers or pie charts and make a party out of coloring in your achievements.
The point is this—you don’t just set them and forget them. They’re not resolutions—they are goals. There’s a visual way to see you are achieving them. You’re in visual contact with each other often.
- Create your Goal Support System
Knowing what your goals are for yourself is one thing. Telling them to your Trello (by writing them down), or tracking them in Evernote is another thing. Making them visual in your office is another thing. Making sure your team knows what they are is essential. Making sure your partner or spouse knows them helps to create a system of support.
Sharing your goals widely holds you to account and gives you someone you don’t know yet, who just might help you achieve them! Your team shares the weight of meeting your goals. Your spouse can help you re-commit when you’re afraid you won’t meet them.
Goals are big deals. They’re inspiring and uplifting. They help you focus. They generate the framework for a fantastic story—a journey to fulfillment. The bigger they are, the more people will be involved in making them achievable and attainable.
I totally want you to get what you want!
Be sure the people important to you in your world know what you’re up to, what your goals are, and what you are working to achieve. It helps them to feel included in your game of getting what you want with your one, true, beautiful life.
- Make Your Goals Count
Put something on the line. Don’t just write down the goal, write down why you want that result, what feelings it will produce in you, and as a bonus: write down what happens if you don’t achieve it.
Use your powers of creative visualization to really take on the details of what it feels like, smells like, looks like, tastes like, sounds like when you achieve your goals.
Take notes. This exercise will likely give you what you need to imagine the launch party or the achievement celebration at the end of the journey to obtaining the goal.
Don’t be afraid to make use of that Charles Dickens’ convention of the Ghosts of Christmas past to see what happens when your life goes horribly wrong when (if) you get off track and out of alignment with your dreams.
Use that imagined future as a way to stay focused and on target with what you really want to see happening in your business and your life.
- Get on the Playing Court
Sometimes you get all suited up, and still watch people play from the sidelines.
I wanted to build Your Rich Retirement Academy (link) for almost two years before I finally took action and did it.
I was afraid to fail. I had never built an online training program before, and it was easy to let it go another day undone.
Once I forced myself to get into action, however, things fell into place and momentum got created.
Now I’m surrounded by coaches, partners and team members who know my goals for myself and my business, and count on me to continue to take action toward achieving these dreams.
Now, I have a structure of support to keep me out of ruts. I have a game, and I’m playing full-out, and they are too!
In the comments below, tell me what systems will you put in place to make sure you exceed your 2015?