Goal Setting is a strategy to help you choose where you want your business to grow to in a certain amount of time. The challenging part is that you actually have to think about your future. Really take the time and think about it, even if it is only for a few hours. When I talk about setting goals, I find that people are somewhat like a bobblehead doll. They nod their head and say, “Yeah, I need to set goals.” Yes, they do. We all do. Goals are your vision of where you want to go.
Every year for the last 45+ years (yes, even before I started BNI®), I plan time at the end of the year to reflect. I start by looking at the past year to see how it played out according to my plan. Where it worked, I celebrate. Where it didn’t work, I analyze why. More importantly, I contemplate how I could make it work.
Then, I do my real vision making. I think about what I want to achieve during the next year, and also three to five years out. Lastly, I give consideration to where I will be in 10 years. I started this annual process when I was a young man in my early 20’s. In fact, I created a 40-year plan for myself way back then. You can see that plan here.
Truly, anything past five years is an educated guess. I get that. It is also something else. It’s a game plan. It is a vision for where you want to go. Your one-year plan should be very specific. Your 3-5 year plan should be strategic. And anything longer than 5 years is highly strategic, as seen in my 40-year plan.
Use 3 Levels to Set a Goal
When I set a goal, I generally set three levels of that goal.
The High Goal
If the moon and the stars all align and everything is perfect or better than expected, and it all comes together, I can hit this goal number. By the way, this is where most people set their goals at, this really high number. However, people always struggle to reach this “everything is going to be perfect” goal. If you do reach this goal, you feel like dancing on the roof.
The Low Goal
This is the complete opposite. If everything went wrong; if the sky and moon fell and there was an apocalypse, how bad would it be? What are the low levels of what you can hit? Select this number. This number is the basement floor level. If you can’t reach this goal, you may be in the wrong business.
The Middle Goal
This one is the actual target goal. This goal number is somewhere in between the high goal and the low one. I know it’s a stretch, but I can do it. This is the key goal. It is the number I put out to the world because I know my high and low-level goals.
Your Action Plan
Now it’s time to reverse engineer your goals. Take these three levels, especially the target goal, and determine where you will need to be in 3 months, in 6 months, and 9 months to reach 100% of your target goal within one year. Where will you be every month to reach that target goal? You have to work it out to a monthly figure, a monthly goal.
Remember, you cannot hit a target you are not aiming at. That’s why you must set your targets and then you’ve got to identify each of the monthly small steps to get to those targets. Otherwise, you are going to be six months along and realize that you are nowhere near to being close to your goal.
Finally, create an action plan for those goals. I’m a real believer in the Law of Attraction, and the word “action” is part of the word “attraction.” So, you have to take action. You need to have action steps for what you are going to do along the way. What specifically do you have to do to hit that target in 3 months? In 6 months? In 9 months, and in one year?
I realize that, to some people, it may sound silly to break your goals down this much. Yet, if you don’t know what you are aiming for, you will never hit your target. Long-term goals can seem too far away; they may feel too massive to be something that you can do right now. Breaking them out into more manageable time frames can be extremely beneficial.
If you cannot do the important steps of reverse-engineering and creating an action plan, it is highly unlikely that you can set an achievable goal. By utilizing these strategies, your goal setting efforts today can help you and your business be more successful in the future.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you done goal setting with the three levels? Share in the comments below.