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Goal Setting 101

We work long hours, often sacrificing family time and other obligations to do what we feel is in our blood. Being self employed isn’t for everyone, but once we start on that journey, we’re not turning back -- no matter how bumpy the road gets.

So,now, what? Start writing down your goals.

Having a target, or milestones, to reach becomes critical in your ability to achieve more. In fact, 21 percent of goal-setting, high-achieving organisations looked at in one study were more productive than their counterparts, according to Workboard.

From the same source: 69 percent of companies surveyed said that clear business goals are the most effective way to build a high-performance team.

However, when you are in business for yourself, there’s no one to hold you accountable or keep you on track.

You are now that person; therefore, you must be disciplined enough to follow through in every aspect. Goals are a way to measure your level of success -- they give you focus, direction and a sense of purpose while providing you a tangible benchmark to determine if you're actually succeeding.

How do any of us define success? It’s a relative term. For some of us, it’s about how much money they can make. For others, it’s about how they’re moving the needle forward, how many sales leads they have or the number of media interviews they can get.

For me, it all starts with the conditions I've set for achieving my own definition of "satisfaction": the ability to make money, grow professionally and have fun doing it.

Self employed people often set expectations incredibly high and the goals they set are designed to match those lofty expectations.  

But how do we know if the goals we’re setting for ourselves are realistic and even attainable?

The answer is goal-setting.

Set goals that motivate you

When you set a goal, it has to mean something, and there has to be a value to achieving it.

If the outcome is of little to no importance to you, then the chances of your putting in the work are next to none.

In fact, 93 percent of people can’t translate goals into actions if the goals are irrelevant to them.

So, start with the goals that are highest on your priority list. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, so start simple. We live in a “snack-sized” world, meaning that we are able to digest information in short bites and shut down when we receive too much.

Break down your goals into your top three, or top five, overall goals, the ones with the highest sense of urgency.

If it helps, write down why they’re valuable to you. 

I write these goals down because,

a) the list becomes a tangible reminder of what needs to be done; and

b) I need the visual aids to help me focus.

You know we have a lot of things on our minds, so there's nothing wrong with having a little help.

Set 'SMART' goals

You may have heard of these already, but it’s always useful to have a refresher. If you haven’t heard about this acronym, here’s what it stands for:





Time bound

Ive written an e-learning module that goes into great detail on this subject that you can see here:

Write down your goals

I start every day writing down a list of "to-dos," as well as print out a calendar with my meetings for the day.

I keep these daily goals visible at all times and cross check the things I’ve accomplished to gauge where I stand at the end of the day. This is a best practice for me, because it makes things tangible and me accountable.

Your own long-term goals don’t have to be spelled out quite as publicly, but you should keep them someplace where, every so often, you are reminded of where you want to go.

Use an active voice when writing them down; for example, say, “I will increase my contact rate.” Using more passive language such as “I would like…” gives you an excuse to get sidetracked.)

Put a plan in action

It’s easy to get so focused on the outcome that you forget the steps needed to achieve the outcome. You might go from A through Z, giving little thought to B, C, D and everything in between.

So, write down all of the individual steps. This is your road map to executing your plan as flawlessly as possible. Remember, you have support! Utilise your contacts within Create and OMA as much as possible to support you.

Harry Mills, CEO of The Aha! Advantage and author of Zero Resistance said it best: 

“Successful entrepreneurs map out their goals to achieve them. Entrepreneurs that develop a map to reach an achievement or overcome indecision are compelled to take action.”

Again. along the way, seek out the advice of your peers. They might have insights you've overlooked

Work the plan

Having a plan in place makes you official. If you haven't already, share this plan with your manager(s).

Working the plan makes you successful.

If you take the time to draw up a good plan, why not use it? It’s tempting to keep changing your mind or to draw new plans when things go awry, but variables aren’t an excuse not to stick to the plan.

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