If you think about the last ten years, there have likely been a lot of changes for you. Some you planned, some happened on their own.
As we move towards a new decade, I thought this would be a good time to look at the ways we humans make plans and what effect goal setting can have on our lives.
Why Do We Need To Be Setting Goals?
Imagine that I asked you to do ‘some’ push-ups. Depending on your fitness level, you’d likely manage maybe five before feeling like quitting.
But imagine, instead, I asked you to do ten push-ups. It’s more likely that you would do ten. Why? Because there was a simple measurement in place that helped motivate you.
Setting goals works precisely the same way.
If we make a clear plan to do something, with a measurement, a time-frame, and some actionable steps, we are much more likely to stick with it and achieve it.
What is the Best Goal-Setting System?
Over the years, there have been lots of different systems developed for how to set goals. Thanks to the work of hundreds of self-help gurus over the years, the instructions on how to set goals can almost make you want to quit before you start.
But by far, the simplest method of setting goals is the SMART method. Originally created by George Doran, a consultant and Director of the Washington Water Power Company, SMART goals gives you all the ingredients you need to be successful.
The SMART goals acronym breaks down into five parts:
By running your goals for your business (and your personal life) through this SMART goals filter, you will find they are much clearer and will help keep you on track.
For example, let’s say you just set a generic goal of saying you want to ‘grow your revenue’ in 2020. That’s a great ambition, but how do you know when you’ve done it? If you increase your revenue by $1 have you achieved your goal?
Using the SMART goals approach, you can be much clearer. You can set a goal that says something like ‘By December 2020 (time-framed), I want to increase the sales revenue (specific) by $100,000 (measurable). I will work with the sales team (assignable) to find ways to reactivate old customers, and also find customers in one new market (realistic).
This goal sounds more stringent, but it is also much more likely to be achieved.
SMART goals stop you from having vague, wishy-washy hopes and dreams that never eventuate. In business, there must be clarity, focus, and accountability to succeed.
Are Goals Still Relevant Today?
In the world we live in today, we have so much access to information that it might seem like this old method of setting goals is outdated. Surely technology can help us achieve more than simply writing down goals on a notepad?
Yet, because of the overwhelming amount of information available, it’s too easy to get off track and focus on the next exciting thing in our business. We need the simple clarity that goals can offer us.
Focus on Habits Just as Much as Goals
In his excellent book Atomic Habits, author James Clear has a lot to say about the way our daily habits make or break us. While this idea isn’t entirely new, it is worth remembering as you set new goals for the next decade.
All your new goals will require new habits, and it’s essential to consider that you will likely have to break some old habits as well to achieve your goals.
As you begin to work on your new goals and plans, consider what habits might be stopping you from achieving them. Ask yourself why you haven’t already achieved the goal, and consider how your current habits (or the habits of your team or company) might play a part in it.
James Clear’s book is a great way to put you on track for 2020 and beyond, as it’s packed with excellent insights that help make your goals and plans more achievable.
Think Slow, and Focus Long
My final suggestion for setting goals is to not burn yourself out with all your new plans and ambitions. It’s great that you want to achieve more, but keep in mind that change takes time.
It’s better to set one or two long term goals and focus on achieving them slowly. Life can be longer than we realise, and if you focus on the day-to-day actions that lead towards your goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
Remember that you are not in a race with anyone. Life is yours to live as you like, and you must live it at your own pace.
I hope these ideas are valuable and help you to achieve your goals in 2020 and beyond. Do you have a SMART goal that we can support you with in 2020?
Centegrity has over 13 years of experience helping businesses with bookkeeping and business mentoring. If you need assistance don’t hesitate to contact us or fill in the form below.