Setting goals can feel a bit scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take a simple look at goal setting and work on creating goals for the next quarter. If you set annual goals, review them, what are you working towards this year? What do you need to do this quarter to move you closer to achieving those yearly goals? If you haven’t set them yet, I’m going to encourage you to think about what you want to do with your business this year and start setting them.
Goal Setting Basics
I was taught to use SMART Goals in the corporate world. They work well and are easy to track your progress.
Specific goals – no ambiguity allowed here. Rather than saying I’ll get new clients, you say how many new clients. I’ll sign three new clients. I’ll launch one new product (and outline what it is). I’ll raise my social media followers by 1,000. I’ll add 500 names to my email list.
Measurable goals – it’s easy to tell if you’ve reached the goal or not because there’s a number associated with the goal. Did you launch a new product? Did your social media following grow by 1,000? Are there 500 new names on your email list? Did you sign three new clients?
Achievable goals – only you know the answer to this one. Do the goals feel like you can achieve them? If they feel a bit scary, that’s OK too, you can set a regular goal, and a scary/stretch goal but your standard SMART goals should feel achievable. When people set goals they can’t achieve, they end up frustrated and often stop working towards them. It’s easier to stay motivated when you feel like you’re making progress.
Realistic goals – similar to achievable, is this goal something you can do? If you’ve been in business for a year or more, you have year-over-year data available, and you should use that to base your goals. If you had 10% of your website traffic come from SEO this year and you set a goal for 90% traffic from SEO next year, it’s not likely realistic. 15-20% would be a more realistic goal. I remember working with clients where their accounting team would set unrealistic revenue goals for the new year and on the first call, they’d share the goals and say, there’s no way we’re going to hit these, it’s a 300% increase over last year and they gave us no more budget. From the very start, they felt defeated. And they didn’t reach the new goals because they didn’t believe they could. Other clients would say, we have agreed upon a 15% increase year-over-year and have the budget to invest in supporting that increase, what should we do? We’d lay out a plan, and they would achieve, and many times, beat that goal because it felt realistic and achievable to them, and they had the resources they needed to make those improvements. When you’re setting goals, be sure to think about what’s realistic for your business as it is today, with the budget you’ve allowed for the timeframe.
Timely goals – Goals should be tied to a timeline. Deadlines and accountability check-ins often help people stay motivated and on track. When we have a timeframe associated with something, we know what to focus on, and we keep moving forward. When a goal is just out there without a timeline, it’s more like a dream. It’s something that would be great to have one day, but we’re not sure how we’re going to get there or when and there’s no pressure to get there, so it’s easier to not work on it regularly.
There’s some mind work associated with goal setting. You want to feel like you can achieve what you’re setting out to do. You want to feel a little bit of pressure, so you remain motivated and working towards it each day.
Break down your big goal for the year and determine what 3 things you can do this quarter that will get you closer to checking the big goal off the list. Choose three. Don’t try to do everything at once, it’s overwhelming, and when we try to do too much at once, we often don’t do anything well. Now take your three big goals for the quarter and determine what needs to be done this month to move closer to completing each of them. Keep breaking them down into smaller tasks until you have your plan for each week.
For example, if I’m going to launch a YouTube channel in Q3, then my plan might look like this.
Quarter Goal – Launch YouTube Channel by September 30
July Goals –
August Goals –
By breaking your big goals into smaller tasks, it’s easier to keep moving forward. You’re less likely to feel overwhelmed if today’s task is to create YouTube Covert Art than if you see “launch YouTube channel” on your planner. Breaking big tasks into smaller portions also allows you to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.
If you want to get, more done in less time, setting, and working towards your goals every day is the key to success. It makes a big difference. Try it for yourself. Set your Q3 goals today. It’s a perfect time. What will you achieve over the next three months?