3 Mistakes to Avoid when Setting Goals
Most goals are not achieved. Sometimes it’s because the goal isn’t tied to your big picture. Sometimes it’s because the goal isn’t set up for success from the beginning. And sometimes it’s because there is no follow up and the goal is forgotten–we set it and forget it. I am going to talk about the 3 mistakes we make and need to avoid when setting goals, and how to achieve more this year than last year.
Its very common that when the new year starts we make goals or as most call it new years resolutions. We look back at the last year see what we accomplished and what we didn't. We then make new resolutions or goals to accomplish what we didn't accomplish last year or something else we want to work on. We set goals and for the first little while we are motivated, but after a bit forget about them.
We do not tie the goals to our big picture. We often make goals that are meant to limit the number of fires we have to put put each year. We look at the problems that happened last year and come up with quick solution goals to those problems. We aren't looking at the bigger picture.
The Bigger Picture
The first step is being able to put your big picture into words. By breaking down your big picture into smaller bits you focus your attention and provide direction to yourself and your team. Think of this exercise like going through a funnel. At the very top you have your big picture; it’s very broad and general and at the bottom of the funnel its refined and precise. First question to ask yourself: Why do you want to own a business? (top of funnel)
We take that purpose and squeeze a little more to create a vision. When creating my vision I think about what my life will be like in 30 years, how it has impacted me, my family, and my community. I have found it helpful to write it down in present tense as if it were happening today. With our vision we answer questions like, what do you want to accomplish? How will it impact my customer’s lives? How will it impact your life and my community? Again, by writing it down you can paint a word picture of what your vision is and making it more real, and almost tangible.
From that vision, we distill a mission–often expressed in a short sentence or two called a mission statement. A mission statement is simply stating what you do and why. For example, our mission statement here at Curtis Accounting Solutions is to help quilt shops piece together financial freedom (the why) by taking on the day-to-day bookkeeping and providing practical business guidance (the what). Again, by breaking down your big picture into smaller bits you focus your attention and provide direction for yourself and your team.
We don't set ourselves up for success. We set a goal to make more money so that we can serve more customers. But then we stop there. We don’t use the SMARTY goal method to set the goal. We need goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based, and yours. A better goal would be I want to increase my revenue by $78,000 over last year by the end of this year. Now that’s a better goal!
Simply put we forget about them. A good goal isn't just thought about two or three times a year a good goal is looked at often. How often you ask? You need to break your goals into quarterly, monthly, and possibly even weekly and daily bite size chunks and follow-up with them. By breaking down these big goals into bite-size chuncks and measuring your progress, you are truly working towards your goals and you won’t get easily distracted or lose sight of what you are working towards.
By avoiding these mistakes and looking at the bigger picture funnel you can accomplish your goals!