A new year means new goals — both personal and professional. So start the year out right by setting realistic goals and creating a concrete plan to achieve them with the help of these expert tips.
Why Is Goal Setting Important?
While setting goals and making lists may seem inconsequential, it’s actually quite beneficial. Here are some reasons why goal setting is so important for both your personal and professional aspirations:
- Goal setting helps you focus on the important things and forget about the unimportant things that don’t really matter
- Goals can give your life a sense of purpose and direction
- Goals help provide you with the motivation you need to take action
- Goals can provide you with a sense of personal satisfaction when you achieve what you set out to do
- Goals can help you push through tough times and make it to the other side
What Are the Different Types of Goals?
- Outcome goals
- Performance goals
- Process goals
- Long-term goals
- Short-term goals
Not all goals are the same. In fact, there are five different types of goals that you can combine for a comprehensive and ambitious approach to goal setting.
1. Outcome Goals
Outcome goals are broad and ambitious goals that are typically based on achieving a winning outcome. While outcome goals can be quite motivating, it’s important to remember that they are not completely controllable. They often depend on external factors that aren’t solely within your control.
So let’s say that you recently started your own business and are trying to get your operations off the ground. You could set an ambitious outcome goal of earning $100,000 in sales in this quarter, the profits of which you can reinvest into your business and continue to grow it.
2. Performance Goals
Performance goals support outcome goals by setting more achievable performance standards for yourself as you work toward your long-term outcome goals. For example, if you’re a new business owner trying to grow your business, you might set a performance goal of making 25 sales this quarter to help you achieve your outcome goal of earning $100,000 in sales this quarter.
3. Process Goals
In turn, process goals support performance goals by giving you smaller tasks to complete while you work toward your larger goals. The good thing about process goals is that you are totally in control of their completion. Another good thing about process goals is that they can make performance goals seem possible with a “slow and steady” approach.
For example, if you’re a new business owner trying to boost your sales, you might set a performance goal of making 25 sales this quarter. While achieving this number of sales may seem impossible, it helps to set a process goal alongside it, like making ten sales calls per day.
4. Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals are large goals that you’d like to achieve in a period of years rather than months. Lifetime goals that you’d like to achieve within your life are an example of long-term goals. While some people may know long-term goals as “dreams,” they are designed to be inspirational yet achievable. For example, a long-term goal could be to become the CEO or president of a company.
5. Short-Term Goals
Short-term goals are smaller goals that you’d like to achieve within the next few days, weeks, months, or even the next year. Short-term goals help guide and motivate you as you work toward your long-term goals. For example, if you want to become a CEO in the long-term, in the short-term, your goal may be to enroll in an MBA program within the next year.
How to Set a Goal
- Reflect inward
- Create “SMART” goals
- Write them down
- Tell someone
But how do you set a goal, and how do you know if it’s a “good” goal or not? Here are some tips to help you set achievable goals:
Start by reflecting inward and thinking about what you want in life. Obviously, there are so many different aspects of life, and as such, there are many different categories of goals. Your goals can be focused on your career, finances, education, family, attitude, public service, and health.
Create “SMART” Goals
Once you have a better idea of what you want in life, you can start breaking these dreams down into “SMART” goals. When you make SMART goals, you’re making specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals.
So instead of simply saying that you want to start your own business, you could set a SMART goal of starting your own business by 2025.
Write Them Down
Get them out of your mind and onto paper. It helps to see your goals physically written down as a reminder of what you’re working toward. When you achieve your goal, you can get the satisfaction of crossing it off your list.
Accountability is another important factor when it comes to goal setting. So instead of keeping your goals to yourself, share them with others so that they can help motivate you and help you stay on track.
How to Achieve a Goal
Setting a goal is one thing, while actually achieving it is another thing. Here are some tips to help you achieve all of your goals — short-term, long-term, performance, or outcome.
Eliminate Negative Thoughts
Your mind can be your biggest obstacle to achieving your goals. So when you’re working toward your goals, it’s important to stay positive and eliminate negative thoughts and feelings that can hinder you.
So instead of thinking that you’re not qualified enough to become a CEO, you should focus on obtaining skills and education that would make you qualified.
Break It Down
Focusing on a single long-term or outcome goal can be overwhelming, and achieving it may seem impossible. Making your goals more realistic and attainable helps to break them down into smaller goals that aren’t as intimidating. For example, if your end goal is to become the CEO, you could set a goal and work toward becoming a manager first.
Make a Plan
Now that your goals are smaller and more realistic, you need to develop ways to make them happen. So say you’re currently focusing on being promoted to a manager, your game plan might include things like completing a big project, getting a good performance review, and acquiring new skills.
Make a Timeline
According to the “T” in SMART, it’s important to make a timeline for your goals. At the same time, make sure that your timeline is realistic and flexible to adjust it as needed.
Make It Happen
Once you’ve laid a solid foundation for your goals, you’re more than ready to get out there and make them happen! Just focus on maintaining a positive attitude and tackle each step as it comes. In no time, you’ll be the CEO!
Do It Again
As soon as you complete a goal, you need to look forward to the next one. That way, you’re always working toward something, and you’re never stagnant.
2022 can be your year with the right approach to goal setting. Whether you’re looking to leap into business ownership or you’re looking to secure that big promotion, Greg Gillman is here to help with tons of professional insight featured on the blog.