Can you feel it? There’s something about this time of the year that gets me ridiculously excited about setting goals for next year.
If you’re the goal-setting, to-do list checking type you probably know the feeling well — when you’re bubbling with excitement about your next big project.
But after the planning buzz wears off, you’re stuck with having to actually make your big ideas happen. And that’s where most of the business owners I work with get stuck.
Tell me if anything like this ever happens to you…
You set aside time to tackle your goal but your action steps feel squishy so you turn your attention to more concrete tasks instead.
You feel unmotivated or uninspired, so you push off your project for another day.
You have a big idea but don’t have the details figured out, so you feel like you can’t move forward and actually make it happen.
If you’re getting stuck when it comes to your lofty goals, it’s NOT because you’re lazy or unmotivated or unambitious.
It’s because you’re setting goals the wrong way!
Now, before you roll your eyes and flashback to professors and bosses telling you about S.M.A.R.T. goals, let me just say this is NOT what I’m talking about today.
Goal-setting is one of the first things I’ll be talking about with my newest group of Make It Work Online clients. That’s because the goal-setting tips I’m sharing with these on-the-rise business owners could change the course of their businesses forever. And I don’t say that lightly!
In fact, my most recent MIWO alumni had some major breakthroughs recently as we dove deeper into the topic of goal-setting.
That’s what inspired me to dig into the archives and update this popular post.
Even though I can’t go as deep here as we go in Make It Work Online, I’m excited to share a few key tips to help you hit even your biggest goals.
If you want to feel continuously motivated, driven, and crystal clear about how to achieve your goals, keep reading.
Are You Making This Common Goal-Setting Mistake?
Let’s look at the common (and wrong) way many of us set goals.
I want you to know that I was totally guilty of this for my first two years in business! As a result, I hardly made any money which was rough because I had bills and a mortgage to pay!
So even if you make this mistake, trust me when I say that you CAN turn it around, and that’s exactly what I’ll help you with today.
Now, onto the big mistake you’re probably making.
Here are some examples of goals I’ve recently heard.
I want to be making $5000/month by the end of the year.
I want my list to be at 1000 in six months.
I want to fill my client roster in 3 months.
These sound like your pretty typical goals, right?
On the surface, they seem to have everything you’ve been told you need in a goal. They clearly state what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by.
Then why is it when you try to actually make these goals happen you get stuck? Why does time pass and you’re not any closer to what you want?
It’s because these goals are missing something.
The Missing Ingredient
Here’s what I mean.
Using the examples above, do you know…
… How you’ll bring in $5000/month by the end of the year and with what specific steps?
… How many guest pitches lead to posts that lead to a certain number of subscribers that will build your list to 1000 by March?
… Exactly what steps to take to fill your client roster?
If you answered yes, you’re set! Go off and conquer your goal. If you know how to make it happen and follow through, you’ll likely make it happen.
However, if you don’t know exactly how to hit your goal, you’re going to have a huge problem getting there.
When your goals are missing the HOW, you’ll end up majorly disappointed when your target date arrives and passes, because you won’t be where you hoped you would be.
And this is exactly what keeps most businesses at a perpetual standstill. Great ideas never get fully realized. Or year after year you find yourself tackling the same goal. Or you keep bouncing from idea to idea and nothing ever gets off the ground.
You know this is not the way to run a successful business!
So if you’re setting goals you don’t know how to achieve, we’re going to turn things around right now.
Setting Better Goals
What’s the secret to setting and achieving the big goals you have for your business?
You start by setting action-based goals.
Action-based goals are not exclusively about the end game. They’re about the WHAT and the HOW.
Action-based goals are not about setting the end goal, like 1000 subscribers, making $5000, or filling your client roster.
Action-based goals are about defining the micro goals (or steps) that you must follow through on to hit your big goal.
For example, let’s say you want to fill your client roster in six months. You know that being of service on social media will help, so you would set the action-based goal to actively be of service on social media for two hours every day, Monday through Friday, for six months. Your goal is then to follow through on this!
Here’s another one. You know that guest posting is an effective way to build your list. However, you can’t control if a pitch is accepted and when it will actually get posted.
Instead I want you to take actions that you can control. For example, you can pitch two guest posts each month, knowing that likely you’ll get one posted and it will bring in about 50 new subscribers (if you do it properly, like I teach my students in Get Your First 1000 Subscribers). Your goal is then to follow through on pitching two posts each month.
The idea here is to focus on what you can control, namely the action steps that will make your big goal happen.
Pretty straightforward, right?
One Word of Caution
Now I know you’re smart and are ready to implement this small but game-changing idea. (I love that about you!)
But before you dive in, I want to warn you about one thing that I see happen too often when business owners jump on this idea of action goals.
The problem is that after one or two weeks of following their action-based goals and not seeing immediate results, they stop following through. People peter out because following through isn’t nearly as sexy as saying “get 1000 subscribers” or “fill my client roster” and putting a date on it.
So remember: Following your action-based goals is how you will reach your big goal.
This means it’s your job to keep your eye on your big goal while you also follow through, reminding yourself what you’re doing and why, so you can stick to your plan even when you’re feeling unmotivated.
The good news is that if you take action and follow through, there’s a good chance you’ll hit your big goal (or come really close), because you’re focusing on the little steps right in front of you that will make it happen.
…And that’s exactly what I want for you!
Your Action Challenge
Your action challenge this week is to review your goals and change them to action-based goals, so you can actually hit your big, lofty targets.
Are you guilty like I was of setting goals without knowing how to achieve them?
Are you ready to set action-based goals to keep you moving, motivated, and working toward your big goals?
What specific goal are you going to work on this way?
I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below.