Media Bytes – Issue 9
Sac City Tech Media Bytes
May 19, 2019
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Success Through Goal Setting
Copyright © 2019 – Steve Batson
Basic Goal Setting
Goal setting is a very broad topic that has countless books and other resources available to help people achieve success. There are many approaches to teaching goal setting and achieving success. We’ll focus here on the basics. We’ll boil the process down to a very simple and easy to understand system that we can apply to our businesses and other things in our lives that we wish to be successful at.
So what is goal setting? And, how does goal setting help us? Simply put, Goal Setting is a process that we can use to document what we wish to achieve. Once we know what it is that we want to do, we can then build a plan to get there. Here’s another way to think about what a goal is. A goal is dream, need, want or desire with a date on it. But is that it? Basically yes, but it is important that the goal be clearly defined and have a definite date on it. It must also be realistic and achievable.
Ok, so now we know what a goal is, but why do we need them? We might think to ourselves that we already know what we want, so why do we need to go through the process? Well the answer is simple. Studies have shown that a large percentage of people go through life with no goals at all, and only about 3 percent write their goals down. Only 1 percent of people review their goals on a daily basis. It’s interesting that only a small percentage of people succeed big at their goals (see a correlation there?). We do need to understand that each person’s idea of success is different not everyone’s definition of success will mean they want to be rich, or even be financial in nature. In any case, the majority of people stumble through life taking what life deals them because they haven’t set any goals or put any real effort into them. We can be in that small percentage of serious goal setters by simply writing our goals down and reviewing them daily to keep our focus on them. With our focus on our goals, we know what we want to do, we stay motivated to do what we need to do, and we are more likely to take the actions necessary to reach our goals. This isn’t automatic of course, it’s going to take some work and self discipline, but it does work if we know what we want and what we need to do to achieve it.
Let’s build a checklist for how to properly set goals. Keep in mind that some serious thought should go into this. It doesn’t need, nor should be done in one sitting. It’s a continual process. We’ll want to brainstorm, review, refine and continually update our goals to focus on what it is we really want to achieve. This should not be a mechanical process, we need to put our heart and soul into it and as we complete and check off goals, we should always be adding new ones.
Goal Building Checklist
- Goals should be written down and very clearly defined.
- Goals must have a date on them so that we can measure our progress
- Goals should be broken down into three groups: Long Term (2-5 years), Medium Term (6-24 months) and Short Term Goals (daily, weekly, monthly). Short term should support your medium term goals which should support your long term goals.
- Review and update your goals as necessary. In other words, if your plans change, you should add anything new that you wish to achieve, and eliminate anything that is no longer important to you.
Let’s look at each of these checklist items in more detail.
Goals should be written down and very clearly defined
We must clearly define what it is that we want or we won’t be able to build a plan to get us there. For example, if we say something like “I want to be a great photographer”, what does that really mean? It’s a bit vague. But, if we say something like: “January 1st, 2022, I am a successful portrait photographer in the northern California area specializing in Children, Family, School and Senior Portraits. I earn $100,000 / Year after all business expenses have been met”, we now have a very clear idea of what it is that we want to achieve. We know when we want to achieve it, we are stating it as if it is already done and we have enough detail set our short term and medium term goals to meet our objective.
Goals must have a date on them so that we can measure our progress
As seen in the example above, we have a date on our goal. We know when we want to achieve it, and we have something to measure our success and our progress. This is very important. When we impose a deadline, we are more inclined to put in the work to do it. Now these dates must be reasonable. We can’t wake up tomorrow and say, I want to be a Brain Surgeon next week if we haven’t been through all the schooling and training. We also are not going to wait until the end of our time and rush to do it, that’s setting ourselves up for failure. So what if we don’t meet our deadline? If we are diligent and do everything we can to meet our goals and have not achieved them by our due date, it’s time to examine the goal, see what we have done, and reset the goal. Chances are, we have made progress and may have just missed our date. In this situation, we should set a new reasonable date based on where we are at and move on. If we have done nothing at all to work towards the goal, we should examine how important it is to us. If it’s not important, we should remove it from the list and put something on the list that is important. This isn’t going to always be easy, but it is necessary. It may be very important to us and we have let fear or something else get in the way. Whatever we do, this is not the time to beat ourselves up. It’s time to adjust, reset, and move on.
Goals should be broken down into three groups: Long Term (2-5 years), Medium Term (6-24 months) and Short Term Goals (daily, weekly, monthly). Short term should support your medium term goals which should support your long term goals.
There are several approaches we can take to creating our goals, but it’s probably easiest to decide what our long term goals are.
Long Term Goals
Long term goals can be anywhere from about 2 years out. Usually 2 to 5 years. We don’t want to give ourselves too much slack or we’ll never get started. But these are only guidelines. If we have a goal that can’t be done in 5 years because of amount of work and preparation that must go into achieving the goal, we have to account for that. The Brain surgeon example again helps demonstrate that here. With 8 to 10 years or more of college and medical school, internships, etc. it’s not likely we could achieve that goal in 5 years. Let’s not get too hung up though on what exactly the time frame for a Long term, Medium Term or Short Term Goal is. We just need to make sure we set goals that are reasonable and achievable. And we must make sure that we have set the appropriate short term and medium term goals to help us reach the long term goals. Let’s look at our example goal discussed earlier.
“January 1st, 2022, I am a successful full-time portrait photographer in northern California. I specialize in Children, Family, School and Senior Portraits. I earn $100,000 / Year after all business expenses have been met”
This is a good start. As time goes on, we may add more detail, but let’s use this for discussion.
Medium Term Goals
Once we have our Long term goals, we can set our Medium term goals to support the long term goals. We may just be starting out in photography and we realize that we need some training in both photography and business. So some good medium range goals may look like this:
“December 31st, 2019, I complete my photography training”
“June 30th, 2020, I Complete basic business training and build a complete business plan for my photography business through xyz program (could be books, home study course, seminar, etc….important thing is that we determine what we will do).
Short Term Goals
These will support both our medium term goals and our long term goals. The short term goals are extremely important. They help us to work towards our goals without feeling overwhelmed. If we just stated our Long Term goal, it can be overwhelming causing us to ask ourselves how we will ever achieve it. But, if we say, “I study my photography training materials Monday through Friday for 1 hour from 7pm-8pm” we are breaking our goals down into small, chunks that we can do. Consider the following:
Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One Bite at a time!
Our short term goals need to be supportive of our goals, but small enough to accomplish in a short period of time. Some will be daily, some weekly and possibly monthly. Consider the following short term goals that support the medium and long term goals we have set.
“I study my photography training materials Monday through Friday for 1 hour from 7pm-8pm”
“I practice my photography techniques Wed. Evenings from 8pm-10pm and Saturday Afternoons from 1pm – 5pm”
“I read one chapter per day from books on business or marketing books”
“I attend and participate in the local photography club meeting each month”
“I meet and tell 3 new people a day that I am a local photographer, I give them my business cards and I ask for referrals.”
As we see here, the short term goals are in line with our medium and long term goals. They will need to change more often as we progress to insure that we stay consistent to what it is that we are trying to achieve, but they give us mini successes each and every day that helps to motivate us to move on, it trains our brains to expect success, and it moves us a little bit towards our bigger goals in those small bite sized chunks.
Review and update your goals as necessary. In other words, if your plans change, you should add anything new that you wish to achieve, and eliminate anything that is no longer important to you
Finally, we need to make these goals work for us! If we go through all the steps to develop and record our goals and stuff them away in a drawer, we’ll soon forget all the things we need to do, and when we need to be doing them. We will loose focus. Instead, we might consider posting pictures that represent our goals, or a card with bullets of the key goals near our computer, on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror or anyplace that we will see them all the time. If we want to keep them more private, we might just set aside a time of day that we can sit down, pull a copy of our goals and go over them. The main idea here is that we really want to keep them fresh in our mind all the time! This means that we need to be reviewing them constantly. We need to remain accountable to our goals or we may not do what it takes. If possible, we should get a buddy or a group of buddies that share our interests, or who are at least interested in our success so that we can talk about our goals, share what it is we want to do, get support and encouragement, etc. Whatever you do, don’t share your goals with people that are negative or will not be supportive of you. Always believe in your goals and speak as you have already achieved the. Truth in advance!
If we create clearly defined, written goals with dates on them and review them on a regular basis, we are much more likely to succeed and achieve what we set out to do. With clearly defined goals, it’s much easier to build a plan of action to get us where we want to go or business plan to get that new business off the ground. But don’t confuse goals with your action plan, that’s a discussion for another article.
Set your goals, know what you have to do, and “Just Do It!”
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