How to Set Goals & What Should They Look Like?

As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 begins, it’s tempting to look back and reflect on the past. However, you must remember to always look towards the future. While you can’t necessarily predict the future, you can control the direction you go by setting some goals. Whatever your goals are, the tips below should help you achieve them, regardless of their size. Ready to get started?

Reflect: Analyze the Current Situation

Before you set your goals, you need to set a benchmark by determining where you are and where you want to be. When you’re at this stage, you need to be honest with where you currently stand. Once you have a handle on what the present is like, you can progress towards the next steps.

Set a Goal

Goal setting is an important part of starting and owning a business because without goals, you might end up floundering without any direction. Goals help you stay focused on where you want to be, while still having a plan to get there. Of course, you need to remember that few things occur the way you anticipate. In business and life, you need to be able to adapt to change and modify your plan, as necessary, without losing momentum. The more agile you are, the better off you’ll be when preparing for the unexpected.

To get started, you’ll want to first break down your goals. Goals are typically long term and require a bit of work, time and effort. By breaking them into manageable steps, you can focus on what you need to do now, without getting overwhelmed by the process. One of the best ways to set your goals is to create a list of action items, with specific tasks to achieve those goals right below. By thinking in terms of small steps, it’s easy to boost your morale by enabling you to accomplish something every day.

A common goal for many business owners and entrepreneurs is to build a popular website. At this stage, you need to ask yourself, “What does success look like?” Are you looking to boost website sales, or get more eyeballs for your content? Maybe, you just want people to spend more time browsing your products. Once you define success, it’s time to work towards reaching it.

Track Efforts

One of the biggest things to remember about setting goals is that you always need to understand how far you’ve come. Aside from being a great motivator, monitoring progress is helpful for planning future goals and next steps. Whether you use software, paper, pencil or another method to log your progress, it’s all simple and straightforward. You also can create milestones, based on time and progress, to determine if you’re on track to complete your goal.

The biggest thing to remember at this stage is that you need to stay focused on your goals, even as challenges come up. This is where big picture thinking comes into play. By picturing what success looks like – imagining what reaching your goal looks like – you’ll have an additional factor to help you stay motivated and focused.

Never Give Up

Once you set your goal, you need to commit to it, no matter what challenges you face. Even with the best efforts, success is never guaranteed when it comes to reaching your goals. One of the biggest challenges with setting goals is the desire to do everything perfectly, along with a fear of failure. You need to remember that forward-moving progress often beats out mistakes. This means that it’s more important to keep moving along than it is to wait until something is perfect to proceed.

For the times when you’re not sure if you can keep going on, you can create a support team to help you through the tough times. Below are a few ways a support system can help you achieve your goals:

  • You’ll be motivated knowing that you have a team behind you.
  • You’ll be able to learn from the diverse skill sets that your team brings to the table.
  • You’ll be held accountable for your actions.

When you’re assembling your team, you’ll want to consider having friends, family, mentors, colleagues or anyone who supports you, as part of your support network.

Success in Failure

If you don’t hit your goal, don’t be discouraged. Think about all the milestones you reached and celebrate your successes, whether big or small. While accomplishing your goal would be a great feeling, you need to remember that there is success in failure. You’ll be able to see what you did right, what you did wrong and what you need to do to hit your goal next time.