The prospect of setting goals as a business owner can be both daunting and exciting. It is exciting to look forward and think about what you want to achieve both personally and as a business over the next 12 months, however the prospect of significant changes and large projects can make the future seem quite intimidating as well.
The start of a new financial year is a great time to review your goals, or if you haven’t already set them, put a plan into place.
We have a few tips and tricks for setting goals that you can implement yourself or share with someone else.
Take a holistic approach
The first thing is, it is important not just to focus on things that you want to achieve within the business, but consider how you want to grow personally as well. Taking a balanced approach is best with, well, anything in life and this is no exception. Taking the time to think about how you want each part of your life to evolve throughout the year and in what ways these goals align and possibly overlap with each other. Focusing on personal growth can often allow you to achieve more and perform better in other aspect of your life, even in ways that you may not expect.
Be Ready to Accept Failure
Not to bring the mood down, but if nothing else the past couple of years has taught us that life can throw you a curve ball at any moment. It is important to be real with yourself that you might not tick of everything on your list, or it may not be in the way you initially thought or the timeframe you decided.
When setting goals it is important to work within spaces that you can control, and acknowledge that even within those spaces outside forces can have an impact. As they say, the only certain thing in life are death and taxes – so make sure that you manage the risks and get real with yourself about what you can and can’t guarantee.
Put it on paper
Next, it is important to be held accountable. Sharing your goals with others and putting them down on paper gives you a place to reference and remind you where you wanted to go. The psychological impact of writing down goals is significant, with a Harvard study finding those who do so are three times more successful in meeting them. This is due to the way our brain filters messages and activates the Reticular Activating System (RAS).
The RAS aids in classifying incoming messages as urgent and non-urgent and helps us identify opportunities to act based upon those messages. Writing is an effective way of communicating with this RAS function and helps cement goals in our minds, making us more likely to recall and work toward them, whether consciously or subconsciously.
Make SMARTER Goals
This is likely something you have heard before, but we cannot stress the importance of making goals that are thought out and achievable. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound, and is designed to help people clarify their ideas and spend some time thinking about what they really want to achieve. Some have also suggested adding ‘ER’ the end of the acronym to represent evaluated and reviewed – because it is important to consider things change over time.
It can be quite discouraging to feel like you are working so hard towards a goal that you just can’t seem to meet, and unfortunately that can be the result of unrealistic goal setting. This is why adopting a structured approach can aid in finding the perfect balance between a goal that requires a little stretching but isn’t completely out of reach.
Don’t Use Hard Deadlines
Whilst it may seem counter intuitive, setting hard deadlines for big goals can actually be detrimental to your ability to achieve them. Rather, it is more effective to break down a big project into smaller tasks and work towards those. Big deadlines can become overwhelming and adopt a very ‘all or nothing’ approach. However, by breaking down your goals you can work towards them gradually and even get a boost of motivation by tracking your overall progress.