Well, I’m going to assume that you’re already on board with setting goals – if you’re not you might find it useful to see how some rather accomplished people have used these techniques for some life changing results and personal development.
To start, I’d like to share with you two different time-scales that we can use to set personal goals and business goals.
Basically, it’s “short term” and “long term”.
I define these as follows:
- Short term is generally daily or weekly based
- Long term is generally 12 week (3 months) based – sometimes longer
With that in mind, let’s look at the short term and see how we can go about doing this.
Main Ideas For Short Term Goal Setting
- Very specific – set action items and times to help create a sense of urgency
- Lay out the steps
- Perform on a regular basis
- Works well for making sure you accomplish tasks and not just spend time “doing things”
By setting measurable goals that can actually show progress towards your main tasks youare setting yourself up for success. These types of goals are commonly given the acronym “SMART”. Setting SMART goals isn’t just helpful in one area – it combines the power of specificity, measurement, action, and more, all into one easy to remember idea.
How is this different from tasks or creating a todo list?
There’s certainly some overlap depending on your style, but the main point here is to set actionable, specific, tasks that move you towards achieving your larger goals.
That last part is really important – why didn’t I start with that?
Why Start With The Short Term?
I’ve found that it’s much easier to start with your daily goal setting and get into the habit of thinking about, listing, and working on these items first and then creating those longer term goals.
Once you have the habit built and working, you can more easily accomplish your longer term ideas.
We all have a tendency to wander into more vague ideas and terms when setting those big, audacious, long term goals and having the experience of setting specific short term ones will greatly help you when moving into the long term.
Moving Into The Long Term
This is the realm of “big ideas” – big, awesome, potentially life changing goals that we want to use to drive ourselves and our businesses forward.
Yes, this can be done in 90 days.
Yes, this is a great way to plan!
And yes, if you do this regularly you will see results. By setting specific goals you’ll have a positive effect on not only your planning but the actual results as well. When you set yourself a task that is specific and has an action associated with it (call Dave at 2pm on Friday and choose site layout, for example) you’re motivating yourself AND making it easier to take steps towards the finish line.
Listing out your ideas here doesn’t have to be greatly different from your short term planning, but I want to reinforce a few ideas.
- Be specific
- Lay out the steps (milestones, action goals, etc)
- Review regularly
Being specific will help you create goals that make sense – you’ll uncover problems quickly, and will be much more likely to succeed. There is an incredible amount of research and writing on this topic, if you’re not convinced I highly suggest you do a quick search or ask me during a live Q&A in the Real World Productivity group.
Laying out the steps is a continuation of the specificity. By breaking it down into discrete steps you’re helping yourself find the path that will utlimately get you the results you want.
For example, what scenario do you think is more likely to work?
- A goal of “generate $100k in sales this quarter”
- Generate $100k in sales this quarter by:
- Reviewing and updated sales call process
- Performing 1 hour of new client prospecting every Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm
- Content every current client and interview about potential additional work in web design for next 30 days
It’s not rocket science, yet most of us get sidetracked by the day to day and don’t put the time needed into these concepts.
I’m as guilty as anyone which is why I dove into this topic to see how I could help myself and create systems that work and pushed me forward!
Using A Template
Having a template, guide, or goal setting worksheet can be extremely helpful.
It’s a great starting point to help you start the process – once you’ve gotten started you can then alter and customize it as needed.
I’ve shared the template that I use, you can grab the goal setting worksheet for free here: https://productivity.academy/goal-setting/worksheet/
Using Productivity Apps To Speed Up The Process
If you like having a digital helper, there are a lot of options available. However, the thing to remember is that the power from these apps comes from habit forming.
Well, you can use the “worst” feature of phones in a positive manner – get reminders and notifications to help you build your habits so you stick with them and grow. I personally use “Loop – Habit Tracker” (Google Play) to set out routines and stick with them.
Productive – Habit Tracker (Apple App Store) is a highly rated app for iPhones that has a clean UI with simple stats and a “don’t break the chain” type streak counter.
With the short and long term goal setting and making use of SMART goals, you now need to put it all into action.
Make sure you tare setting specific goals that will help you make progress towards the big projects and long term plans that you have.
Make use of tools like journals, writing out goals and breaking them down into chunks, and even using apps to help you build the habits you need to motivate yourself and succeed.