Learning to set good goals is one of the most underrated skills an entrepreneur can have. This skill can also completely transform your personal life, your mental health, how you feel about yourself and your place in the world, and how you define success.
Does this sound like hyperbole? I’m sincere in my belief that goal setting is one of the most important life skills happy and successful people have mastered.
Knowing this, many entrepreneurs do not take the time to not just set goals but to also write them down. I believe the problem with many nay-sayers lies in misunderstanding how to set good goals. A goal is not a magic incantation, nor is it a commandment set in stone. It’s simply a tool or the actions you must complete to get you to your end destination, whatever that may be. To set good goals, you need to understand the difference between short term and long term goals, and how to effectively knit them together.
Long Term, Big Picture Goals
Where do you want to be in five or ten years? What do you want your life to look like? Long term goals can be big, complicated, and have an uncertain pathway to success. A long term goal usually takes several steps to complete or involves a complicated problem. Long term goals can’t be completed this month or next, but can be broken up into smaller, more actionable steps. Long term goals should be measurable and concrete, but you have a lot more room to ignore the details and focus on the big picture.
Long term goals should always be the first thing you identify. This is important because your long term goals determine where you are heading. All other goals should be leading to this path.
For each long-term goal identified, break it down into smaller steps that must be accomplished to complete the larger goal. The “first step” of every long term goal should represent something that you can do now, today, to move closer to your goal. All those first steps are the start of your short term goal list.
Short Term, Immediate Goals
The first actions you’ve identified are just the beginning of your short term goals. This list will likely grow as you add goals associated with your status quo and maintaining your lifestyle. Beware adding short terms goals that unnecessarily distract you from the bigger goals you want to achieve.
Immediate goals should be specific and easy to measure. If a short term goal begins to get bigger than you initially thought, break it down and shuffle your goals. Likewise, if a goal you thought would be very difficult turn out to be a lot easier to accomplish, make it a higher priority than it was initially considered.
A Working Road Map
Display your written goals where you will spend most of your day. You should keep them very close to you. During this process, you may need to adjust or update it. It is ok. Your goals should be a working road-map to success..
Setting goals with our customers is a critical part of the financial coaching we offer our clients. If you struggle to set goals and create an action list, call us at 301-699-2260 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free strategy session. We would love to talk to you about where you are heading and what steps you need to take to get there.