When we’re growing up, we’re taught that setting up bullet-proof goals for ourselves are a good thing. We’re incentivized to strive for the next level and become better at things by having a goal setting.
Often when you’re younger, other people set goals for you and so you’re more detached from them. The English teacher sets a goal that Romeo and Juliet have to be read and summarized in 7 days for example.
Your parents tell you that by 7 pm, you will have cleaned your room.
You probably didn’t put too much stock into these goals. They weren’t your goals. Whether you reached them or not, not all that much was going to change.
Also, because they were being set by others, they were always set in small, bite-sized chunks. No teacher ever says “learn everything for Grade 10” and then lets you run the show for the whole year on your own.
But once we’re older and we’re trying to start something on our own, now we’re in charge. We get to decide our goals. What they are. How long do we have to reach them. How small they are. How much pressure we put on ourselves. How accountable we hold ourselves to work towards these goals.
What I’ve learned trying to start 10+ businesses thus far in my life and succeeding with 3 of them is that:
#1. Goals are only as useful as you make them for yourself
#2. If you misuse goals, you will hate yourself and probably fail.
What’s the right way of setting goals?
You may have heard of SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting. And, to make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
- Achievable ( attainable)
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced)
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Personally, I hate acronyms like this because I find they overcomplicate things and make a simple concept sound so “academic”.
The bottom line is that every goal you set for yourself has to be in your control. If you set goals outside of your control, you set yourself up to fail your business and to feel miserable about it. You are setting an uncontrollable expectation for yourself and it might backfire on you.
Examples of bad goals:
- In the next 30 days, I’ll get 5 new clients.
- In the next 6 months, I’ll reach 10k page views a month
- I’m going to grow my investment account by 5% per month
What do all of these have in common? They are out of your control.
Examples of good goals:
- In the next 30 days, I will split test 5 different advertisements on Pinterest with a budget of 20$/day that all lead into a funnel geared towards signing up new clients.
- Over the next 6 months, I will do something every day to promote 1 blog post on my blog (pin a new pin on Pinterest, comment in a Facebook group linking back to my blog, post a comment on a related blog, sent an e-mail requesting to guest post for a bigger blog, etc.)
- Every day, I will look for oversold or overbought stocks that fit all my criteria and add them to my watchlist. I’ll allocate the next available 10k of liquidity in my account to the first stock to hit my “get-in price” and I will set my “get out price” for that stock.
I really hope you can see the difference and how you can fall into a trap by setting “bad goals”. It doesn’t matter whether you did your absolute best on something or worked super hard, you never get to feel good if you mistake your desired outcome for your goals.
By setting “good goals” you can much more easily stay motivated, and enthusiastic and feel productive in the direction of your desired outcome until you get there, regardless of how long it takes.
And speaking about feeling productive, do your most critical and challenging work while you’re still active and feeling more motivated, and when you’re mentally exhausted, tackle low-value tasks that don’t contribute to your true growth.
You know when to use your time and energy to accomplish the most critical task when you are productive. When you are most productive, you can acquire the required result at the proper time.
My Final Take on Setting Up Bullet-Proof Goals
Setting goals keeps you motivated, makes you happier, and makes a major difference in your company’s success. You develop a vision of what your life or business could look like when you set goals. Then you begin to push yourself and your team to get the greatest potential results!
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