It’s the start of a fresh new year and many of us small business owners are looking wide eyed at the 12 months that lay ahead. So full of possibilities and potential you can almost feel the fizz in your bones.
Now feels like the perfect time for goal setting and deciding how the next 365 days will shape up to bring you all your wildest dreams. But after a few weeks you may find you fall back into the comfortable habits and routine of the year before and only remember your goals when you find that beautifully designed sheet in your notebook 6 months later and reflect on how excited you had been.
So how do you set goals for the unknown AND set about achieving them?
The answer is by being intentional with not only what you set out to achieve, but in the way you go about achieving it.
Traditionally, goal setting to me was always focused on an outcome, so ‘Achieve X by X’.
In education the goals were always focused on the grades, same at university and this method followed through my adult life into the workplace.
Achieve 3 x A grades. Get a promotion. Earn an extra £5k per year.
The problem with these goals is – they are not within your power to achieve.
You don’t award yourself grades – a teacher, lecturer or independent authority mark exams and course work and award you a grade.
You alone cannot get a promotion – the position needs to be available or created and then your employer needs to award that to you and process all the legal bits.
Your income is facilitated by others – it is down to clients, employers and many other factors that will contribute directly to that cash coming to you.
When I started my business, I continued with this goal setting pattern. I repeatedly set goals focusing around the outcome. I wanted to work with more clients, earn a certain amount each month and work a set number of hours. All of these are obtainable but as goals I often found myself disappointed and demotivated because if I didn’t achieve them, I felt like it was my fault.
Which it kind of was in that I wasn’t setting myself up for success. The goals were too big or distant, and I didn’t have a clear way of achieving them that felt within my power. It lead to me feeling disconnected and only seeing these goals as words not as a possible future.
So, what’s the alternative?
In December 2018 I attended an event where I heard Chloe Slade from Vibe & Flow speak, and finally, my goal setting dilemma made sense.
Instead of setting outcome focused goals that were out of your control, she encouraged the process of setting actionable goals. Goals that you can specifically achieve, control and influence towards your desired outcome.
This felt like a puzzle piece sliding into place for me, and I hope it does for you too.
Let’s work through some examples, (because your girl loves context)…
Outcome focused goal – Earn £5k
Actionable goal – Introduce two new income streams in the next 3 months
The intention for both goals is the same – to increase income, but with the second approach it has a very specific, and achievable action that can be measured, tracked and is fully within my control as a business owner.
Let’s try another:
Outcome focus goal – Work with 15 clients
Actionable goal – Dedicate 1 hour a day to lead gen and relationship building in my social channels
In this example, you can see how the actionable goal is a method of achieving the outcome goal. By spending that time building relationships and growing my channels, it is likely to lead to an increase in clients.
So why is it helpful to reframe it in this way when the intention is the same?
Because when you set yourself goals that are outside of your control, you are not taking full responsibility for it becoming a reality. Your leaving your future up to someone else, fate, chance or hope. By setting goals that ooze intention and are steps you can take, you can more easily measure and track the success and keep yourself on the right path and accountable. Instead of being an outcome somewhere in the future, it’s a regular activity or defined action – no more forgetting about your goals for the next 6 months.
Another key reason for setting intentional goals in this way, is that it helps you to develop habits that will see you well past your current goals. Aiming for X number of clients is great and all, but getting into the habit of consistent lead generation (as in this example), will serve you long beyond your current goals and has apositive impact on your overall business.
We often don’t achieve our goals because our behaviour doesn’t align with the action needed for success. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. Something needs to change in order for new things to happen.
By setting goals focused on intention, action and behavioural change – you are more likely to achieve what you set out to and feel more motivated while doing it. You have clear purpose, measurable steps and most importantly – you’re taking responsibility within your business instead of leaving it to chance.
Your goals help you to define the path you want your business to take. Giving yourself as much chance of success as you possibly can is a no-brainer. Its why all my programmes start with goal setting. If you don’t know here you’re heading, you’ll remain lost or bumbling along.
That may have served you well in the past but if you’re ready to have a business that fully supports the lifestyle you want to have without feeling overwhelmed, you need those goals to be clear and actionable.
Struggling with setting goals in your business? Book a call with me here.
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