There are very few people, if any, on this planet that don’t invest time dreaming and daydreaming of the way things could be and about the possibility of success. Filling journals of ideas, reading books, and consuming anything that makes these dreams feel tangible, people can begin to convince themselves that their dreams are reality or, at least, are very close in reach.
But the truth is that most people spend the majority of their lives dreaming, but never doing. And, while it applies certainly to personal life, it plagues people’s professional lives as well.
Every entrepreneur, business owner, or person in a leadership position has goals. If they don’t, they’re not doing their job. Taking these goals and turning them into actionable steps, however, is something that is more evasive, and exactly what separates those that are happy, fulfilled and successful from those who are not.
If you’re interested in not only setting goals, but actually achieving them, for yourself and your business, start by following these seven steps below:
- Write down your goals. This first step is the easiest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Even if your goals have been written down for some time, go back and review, updating and being as specific as possible.
- Write down the reasons why. Goals are great, but reasons are better. In order to stay committed to your vision, you have to know why you are doing it. There will undoubtedly be times you want to give up or go an easier route. The better your reason is, the more likely you will keep going and stay focused.
- Chunk and organize your goals. You can’t tackle everything at once. And, if you try, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Take a look at each of your goals and prioritize them. Which need to get done first? Which are most important? Start with manageable, bite-size pieces and keep going.
- Set 90-day measurable goals. The problem with most goals is that they are so big you never feel like you’ll get there. Studies have shown that if you don’t give your brain feelings of success, it will give up. What can you get done in ninety days? And then, don’t just set goals, but set rewards too. Get to the end of that ninety-day sprint and celebrate. Then, start on your next goal.
- Create systems around each goal. In order to make your goals realistic, you have to be able to build systems that support the process you need to get there. These systems will give you clear direction as to what needs to be done each day. And, in some cases, can show you exactly what you need others to be doing to help.
- Focus on the system, not the goal itself. As you work over the ninety days, plug away at your system, not your goal. Although it’s tempting to only focus on the goals, it’s the system that will get you there. Put your attention there and you are much more likely to have the success you want.
- Adapt, constantly. Your goals don’t have to change, but your systems will. Give yourself opportunities consistently to monitor your progress and to get feedback. How can you improve your systems? What’s not working? And, whatever is working, double down.
- Visualize success. How does it look like, when you work on your goals, each step along the way? How does it look like, when you have finally completed it and reached your goal? Mental visualizations will help you to stay on track, keep going and, very importantly, continuously talk or even evangelize about it. Seeing is believing and believe is power.
If you work with a team, make sure you get everyone on board and involved with these eight steps. Not only will it encourage them to perform their part within the system, it will keep you accountable, too.