As an entrepreneur, you should always be thinking about your goals and how you want to achieve them. Setting goals is a great way to design the life you want to live. And goals are not hard to achieve if you know what steps you should take after you’ve set them. Having a clear defined action plan of your next steps will help you accomplish your goal. If you’ve set goals, but are not sure of your next steps, then this post will guide you through it.
Write Them Down
This is first on the list because it’s a necessity. Studies have proven that people are more likely to reach their goal if they write them down. Goals can’t exist only in your mind. It needs another place to live and the best place for that is paper. When you set goals set time aside to write them down. Writing your goals down will bring more clarity into what you want to achieve and why. Give your goals a tag line or a power statement. Does your goal have a hook? A why? A purpose? Put all of those things into a sentence and write it underneath your goal. Give yourself the most compelling reason why you need to achieve this goal. Make it as juicy as you want. When you’ve done that, ask yourself is the effort and energy needed to accomplish this goal worth the outcome? This boils down to being honest with yourself and determining if you’re really going to be committed to the process.
When you write your goals down, pen them on paper or this worksheet that gets you all excited about it. Let your excitement and passion come through in writing. There are so many beautiful journals and paper out there that the options are endless. It’s worth finding nice stationery or a goals journal to pen them and be reminded of them. Having constant reminders about why you are working towards a goal and the impact will help you stay motivated. Motivation is key because often times people don’t reach their goals because of lack of enthusiasm and motivation.
Break Them Down into Small Doable Steps
When it comes to achieving goals, this is where most people get stuck in the rut. You’ve got to break those goals down! You may have one or two big goals, but determining how to figure out the next step is crucial.
Let’s say my one BIG goal is I want to quit my job by next year and become a full-time freelance writer or I want to learn how to speak french by next year.
My next step could be to draft 2 writing samples a week, submit 5 writing samples a month to a magazine or journal or enroll in a french class at the beginning of the school year and join a french culture club. You get it?
Break them down into small doable and quantifiable steps so you can move forward and actually see your progress. There’s nothing more motivating than actually knowing how much you’ve progressed towards a goal.
Create a Vision Board
This is where it gets fun. Visualize what it’s like to achieve your goal and live vicariously through that for a moment. Whatever comes to your mind about what it’s like to achieve that one big goal, visualize it. Dream and think big. Think about how you want to feel, what you want, and who you want to be. It’s your life and a vision board is a way for you to design your life and see it! Your vision board should evoke some type of euphoric emotion. There are no boundaries here so don’t hold back. I say if your vision board has makes you laugh at yourself or question your sanity (in a good way) then you’re on the right track.
Take One Goal One Step One Day at a Time
There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of goals, but seriously, if you really want to accomplish that one big goal, you need to focus on that one big goal. What about everything else? Don’t worry, it’ll be there. If you try to focus on hitting several goals at once, chances are you won’t reach any of them. This works against your ability to be productive and stay motivated.
Channel your energy and focus on one big goal instead of two or more. Don’t be tempted and anxious to try to get everything done. Focusing on more than one big goal also works against your ability to measure your progress because you’re stepping in two different directions at the same time. And this doesn’t just apply to small business owners. Even big companies like Yahoo have made the mistake of spreading themselves too thin, a method known as the Peanut Butter Manifesto.
Track and Review
This is something that gets overlooked quite a bit. Reviewing your goals can give you a temporary feeling of satisfaction, which is good, yes! Besides, how will you know if your action plan is working unless you track your progress. You don’t want to find out that your weight loss plan isn’t working after three months of starving yourself, right? So the key to tracking and reviewing your goals is to do it regularly, as often as weekly.
A simple way to track your progress and create consistency is to use the Don’t Break the Chain method. I love this method and it really works. When you can see your progress towards your goals, your motivation levels stay high. Your motivation produces consistency and consistency is key to any big goal you want to accomplish.
Another simple method to review your goals is to ask yourself a few questions about your goal and write down your answers.
For example, if my big goal is to quit my job, then each week I should ask myself:
What do I want to accomplish? I want to quit my job and work from home.
Why do I want to accomplish it? I want to spend more time with my kids, improve my work-life balance, and have more flexibility to build my business and ministry.
What have I accomplished so far? I’ve started a blog, solicited clients, and applied to 3 new jobs that suit my lifestyle.
How am I continuing to work towards my goal and is it helping me reach my goal? I continue to work on building my blog, online networks, and submitting job applications. Yes, I’m getting closer to my goal because I’m building a network of online business owners and I’m applying to jobs that offer me the flexibility I need.
I threw that last question in there because sometimes our methods don’t work and we need to be honest with ourselves the process needs to change.
Get Some Accountability
Sharing your goals with someone can make you feel vulnerable, if you’re that kind of person. It’s ok to be vulnerable with the right person. But let’s face it, you need accountability. Don’t run of and share your goal with anybody. Make a careful selection about who this person or group will be.
There’s more to accountability then having dose of reality or staying on track with your goals. Sharing your goals with a person or a group like a mastermind can broaden your thinking and hopefully teach you something new like a new tool, method, or process. An accountability partner can help you gain clarity so make yourself open to questions that will challenge you in a big way. You never know what creativity it might spark.
Let’s recap what you should do after you set goals:
Write Them Down - You’re more likely to achieve them.
Break Them Down into Small Doable Steps - These are the next steps and routines you need to reach your goals.
Create a Vision Board - Bring your goals to life and sense what it’s like to achieve your goals.
Take One Goal One Step One Day at a Time - Work at your own pace and be consistent.
Get Some Accountability - Stay motivated and open-minded.
Track and Review - Celebrate your small wins and evaluate your process.