Productivity Friday: Practical Goal Setting
Every productivity expert and blog out there will tell you about the importance of goal setting. But too often they leave it at that – and their readers are left wondering how to implement goal setting into their daily routine. Should the goals be simple (brush teeth, drive to work, etc.) or massive (earn one-million dollars this year)? Should they be focused or broad? Comprehensive or cherry-picked?
And even after you answer those questions, you’re not out of the woods yet. You have a list of goals, now what do you do? What the next steps to accomplishing your goals? How do you keep your focus?
Goal Setting Tips
Hopefully, this can help you not just set goals, but be a goal killer. But before we start crushing our goals, we have to set some. So first, we’ll cover how to set goals that will get you out of a procrastination rut and into a productive mindset.
If you’re already in the habit of setting goals, then you can use these tips to refine your process. And if you’re totally new to the idea of goal-setting, this should serve as a springboard to get you started. First, set some big-picture goals. Try following these tips for setting big-picture goals:
- Write down your goals. This will keep you honest – because it is too easy to fudge your goals when they only reside between your ears. And it will keep you focused as you see your written goals every day.
- Focus on fewer goals. I know it is tempting to write down every little thing that you want to accomplish. But the process of setting goals should be about the big things you want to accomplish (and we’ll get to the little stuff later).
- Be specific. Setting a goal to ‘make more money’ is almost entirely worthless. Instead, figure out what exactly you need and set that goal. Make it specific – like make $100,000 or increase your income by 1.5x. Nebulous goals are too easy to ignore – make it specific and grind until you accomplish it.
Set these big-picture goals with time to accomplish them. I try to have annual goals and quarterly goals – this allows for enough time to get them done, but not enough time to put them off. Once you have big-picture goals set, then you can turn your attention to smaller, short-term goals.
For this stage, I write monthly and weekly goals that are directly focused on accomplishing my big picture goals. So, my short-term goals don’t include things like showering and eating. Instead, they are focused on getting me closer to my big picture goals.
That is all good advice – or at least I think it is. But if you stop there you are likely to fail in accomplishing your goals. There is a follow-up step that absolutely has to be done – manage and plan for the work required to accomplish them.
Simply writing down your goals is a good practice, but there are millions of people writing down their goals and still failing. This is because they give up when they encounter adversity. The only way to overcome that challenge is to anticipate every challenge and obstacle you will face on your journey to success.
This isn’t easy at first, but you’ll get better at it over time. But here’s the key to successfully anticipating obstacles: it will be way more difficult than you initially expect. Popular speaker Grand Cardone nails this challenge when he says that accomplishing your goals will take 10-times the effort you expect. So, expect to be surprised with hurdles and setbacks – otherwise, you will continue to come up short of your goals.
Setting goals and anticipating challenges will set you up for success. But there is a final step that is essential for success: working relentlessly. All the productivity tips and tricks in the world won’t help if you’re not chasing after your goals with every ounce of motivation you can muster.
Setting goals and expectations serve as a road-map to success – but they won’t drive you there. Too many people are getting the map laid out and then sit back and wait for the results to come rolling in. But you have to chase after those goals relentlessly. Get up every morning excited to crush your goals. Learn to love the thrill of accomplishing what you have set out to do.
And when you have accomplished a goal, don’t stop to bask in your success. Push on to the next, use that momentum to carry you forward from one goal to another until you have accomplished everything you set out to do. I’m not saying it’s easy – but it is possible.