Setting goals may seem easy but sometimes we fail to realize the goals. I come from a family of dreamers with varying degrees of idealism but this has instilled in me that I can achieve whatever I put my efforts toward as long as I work hard. This may seem like a bold statement because obviously it is not true to the extent that I will ever be talented enough to play a professional sport nor will I ever receive a Nobel Prize. Although curling may be an option since I am handy with a broom!
Other than that I feel that the American dream is still alive in the essence that any of us can achieve our dreams if we have enough passion, enthusiasm, and hustle. So why do some of us fail to reach these dreams or brain crack (in the words of Ze Frank) and occasionally wallow in self-pity?
Why Do We Fail at Setting Goals?
From my own personal experiences, the difference came when I started to make those abstract dreams real by physically writing them down as goals whether it was a yearly, five-year, ten-year, or a lifetime goal. An army buddy of mine used to always say, “the quickest way to get something planned and completed is to put ink to paper.” In addition to setting goals, I began to ensure that the goals were “SMART” as in specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound. The thing is that I could not visually or mentally grasp the meaning of the dream until I had to stare at it everyday. I currently use Evernote with the awesome checkboxes to help with setting goals.
The proper groundwork must be set in order for you to know where you want to go otherwise the vision does not matter. To this day my lists of goals annoy my wife to no end but for a person that is always thinking of fifty different things at one time the goal list is essential. The main point of writing out your goals is that you are calling yourself to action. As Dr. David Schwartz states in his excellent and highly recommended book, The Magic of Thinking Big, “build confidence destroy fear through action.”
Dreams and setting goals are huge for me right now in regards to starting this blog. I have been scared of and outright against social media in the past but I have a goal to accomplish. That goal is doing what I can to help small business owners gain wisdom and valuable information to succeed. As a result, this is me attempting to take action.
Like everyone I occasionally get distracted by shiny objects that seem like good ideas. Thankfully, I have an awesome wife who never restrains from telling me to stay focused. Somehow she is always right when she has that gut feeling. I guess I will never figure that one out but you should get a spouse like that.
Ok, so even if you have dreams, write them down, and attempt to take action. Are you guaranteed success? Absolutely not, there are hundreds of little decisions that can derail us from our set path. There are obvious celebrity-scale offenders but I think that most of us fall off the path because we do not have the WHY established. As Simon Sinak wrote in Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, you have to start with establishing WHY you want to achieve something so that your goals lead to a higher purpose. In turn, the WHY will aid in staying on track. This will enable you to ask, does this decision help take me where I wish to go? And, for Pete’s sake if the answer is NO then STOP. Get back on the path!!!
Here are a few pointers of setting goals for success from the previously mentioned book, The Magic of Thinking Big.
Success Building Principles for Setting Goals
1. Get a clear fix on where you want to go
2. Write out your ten-year plan
3. Surrender yourself to your desires
4. Let your major goal be your automatic pilot
5. Achieve your goal one step at a time
6. Build thirty-day goals
7. Take Detours in stride – Have alternate courses of action
8. Invest in yourself
What is preventing you from setting goals for your business?