No matter where you want to go in life, setting goals will help you get there.
But while setting goals seems to be one of the most common practices for everyone from entrepreneurs to elementary kids selling wrapping paper to win a pizza party, most people don’t know how to set the right kind of goals.
That’s correct– there’s a right and wrong way to set goals.
Why you need to set goals
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait. Have I been doing this whole goal situation wrong?”, this issue of Tradecraft will be just what you need. But before we get into the really meaty how-tos of making goals reality, let’s first get the basics down of why you should be setting goals in the first place.
Direction and structure
When you start something new, it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of everything little thing that needs to be done to reach your finish line.
You might be balancing a full-time job with your side hustle all the while still trying to keep your personal life in tact. Setting goals can help you set a clear path and give you the right structure to stay sane and organized in the shuffle.
When you have goals set out in front of you, you’ll be more likely to stick to a predetermined plan. You’ve got things to do. And when you’ve got those things already set out in front you, you’re more likely to take action on them than if you started with blank canvas every morning.
Track your progress
Want to know how close you are to launching your next product or starting your blog? Setting goals helps you track your progress on the road to success.
Not only will this tracking give you a feeling of accomplishment looking back on all your hard work, tracking your goals can also help you establish a system for the next time you take on a similar big goal. That means the next time you want to create a new webinar, you can pull up your goals from the last webinar you created and simply change out the content. All the steps are the same!
I don’t know about you, but when I check something off a to-list, I get a feeling of extreme gratification. It’s like all my hard work has paid off, and I know it’s time to reward myself.
Every little win like this is important when you’ve got big dreams for your future. Having goals set out that you can accomplish will be just the motivation you need to move on to the next goal, and then the next, and then the next.
You’d be surprised how far you can get on pure motivation.
Mindful of the future
Finally, goals keep you forward focused. If you’re thinking about the next thing you want to take on and how to make that happen, you’ll always be making progress. As a creator, that’s incredibly important.
The moment you stop dreaming is the moment you stop creating, and you can’t make a living when you’re stuck in that cycle.
Setting goals for yourself keeps your mind spinning and your imagination running with possibilities.
How to set the right goals
But it’s not just about arbitrarily throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. It’s good to keep that imagination running, but you need a plan to go along with it all.
Goals for goals sake will get you nowhere fast. You need to set the right kinds of goals. Here are a few tips to setting the right kind of goals.
Goals need to be measurable
If you can’t measure your goals, how do you know if you’re making progress?
Making measureable goals is as easy as creating small steps along the way to reach your one big goals. Or if your goal is monetary, setting up milestones to reach that help you know if you’re still on pace to hit your target.
Goals need to be realistic
Yes, you need to push yourself. But there is a sweet spot between setting goals that challenge your skills and pitting yourself against unbeatable odds.
It might take some time to figure out where your fine line is, and that’s totally ok! Think of it as an early lesson in failures and carrying on.
So when you’re setting your goals, set some realistic goals. Ones that you can meet and even surpass as first. Get that motivation rolling and sense of accomplishment on lock and then start thinking of bigger stretch goals that really test your limits.
Goals need to be both long- and short-term
It might be easier to just set long-term goals. They seem far enough away, but you might get a false sense of security. You’ll think, “I’ve got all the time in the world. I’ll get around to it.”
Yeah, that’s never going to work.
Have that long-term goal–there’s no harm in it, but also set short-term goals that keep you accountable to yourself. Setting and accomplishing those short-term goals will also create that beautiful confidence and motivation to keep pursuing your long-term goals.
Goals need to be written down
Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, studied the art and science of goal setting and found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.
When you write something down, it’s like you’ve given life to those words. It’s why so many successful people keep journals. They know the importance of writing everyday. And it’s the same with goals.
The simple act of writing down your goals gives them more significance and weight. You’ll want to accomplish them more if you visibly see them on a piece of paper.
Goals need to be actionable and specific
Making your goals a reality is all about taking action.
For example, instead of setting a goal like “Quit my job”, think about creating a goal that will help you quit your job. That goal could be “start a side hustle”, “level-up my skills at X so I can go freelance”, or “save six month’s of finances.”
Those are the kind of goals you can create steps around and actually start moving on today.
Feel prepared to set the right goals?
In this issue of Tradecraft, we’re going to help you think strategically about the goals you set, show you how to maintain your progress on them, and even completely switch up how you’ve always thought about goal setting.
Ready to start taking action on your big dreams?
Click through our issue articles below to get started today.