Business-development experts stress that setting specific goals provides a solid foundation for success. Even so, many entrepreneurs find that coming up with specific goals, not to mention methods to attain them, can be rather challenging.
To avoid confusion, use a systematic, clear-cut strategy that's simple to implement. With consistent application, you -- and those you lead by example -- will begin to achieve accomplishments once thought far beyond reach.
1. Daydream and visualize.
What’s your "why?" What’s really important to you? Why does any of this matter? As my former mentor Marty Domitrovich told me, goals should revolve around balancing five Fs: faith, family, friends, finances and fitness. This will not apply to everyone but it's a good starting point for creating goals.
Begin the process by writing things down, separating vague hopes from concrete, achievable goals. If you don’t believe you can reach certain goals, you never will. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. That’s inherently what goal setting is all about. Most important, don’t worry about your current circumstances when establishing future goals
2. Put pen to paper and hone in.
Narrow your list until you have identified as many as 10 goal priorities, as author Brian Tracy recommended in Goals.
I believe in listing each goal individually, including specific actions to take to achieve it and hard deadlines. Determine the milestones you’ll want to reach, the rewards and the system for maintaining accountability. For a manageable strategy, set a variety of the following items:
Short-term goals (to be met in one to three months)
Midrange goals (for three months to one year)
Long-term goals (for more than two years)
Very long-range goals, just for fun
3. Take action.
Jot your goals on an index card to carry with you for easy reference. Complete at least one step toward your top goals every day, making sure to review and reward your progress daily. Remember that it’s alright to adjust the goals as you go. And while having some flexibility is a good thing, don’t turn the option of changing your direction into a way to make excuses.
4. Seek inspiration.
To keep your goal plan fresh and active, look for stimulating ways to work on your strategy. Fuel your success with tools such as books, seminars and other educational materials. Listen to music that inspires you. Cover your walls with motivational sayings and art and surround yourself with interesting people.
5. Accept a temporary failure, but fix things.
Failing at a particular aspect of your strategy simply means you’re one step closer to reaching a goal. Every setback has something to teach you. At the very least, you can arrange things so you won’t repeat the same mistake. If you find yourself in a rut, ask yourself how someone you really admire would handle your problem. Then take action steps toward a solution.
Most important, don’t let a negative situation hold you back. Shrug it off. Get over it. You’re still alive.
6. Take care of yourself.
You can’t make progress if your mind, spirit and body aren’t in peak condition. Make a sincere effort to move, exercise and do something physical. Fuel your physical self with healthy meals and cut back on reality TV, tabloids and other junk food for the brain. Read more -- and better.
Keep in mind that routine is your friend. So establish a consistent schedule of rest and activity. Learn to say no to requests that waste time or drain creative energy. By the same token, don’t feel guilty about spending time on hobbies, travel and other activities that refresh and invigorate you. Your state of well-being will be transferred into the workplace.
Finally, stay positive about the whole goal-reaching process. After all, anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy. Surround yourself with a team of people who support your efforts and shun negativity. Better yet, stay on track by helping others reach their goals. Fully enjoy each step of the process, each stumble and every success. Someday, you’ll have great stories to tell.