When it comes to goal setting, look at what you shouldn`t be doing. This helps you avoid mistakes that can cost a significant amount of time and effort down the road. In order to make your goal setting as efficient as possible, here are five common mistakes you should try to avoid in your small business.
1. Waiting for the Perfect Time to Start
Goal setting can be very overwhelming if you don’t have any idea of what you want to accomplish. What you then tend to do is to procrastinate. The problem is, if you put off goal setting, waiting for a lot of free time, the perfect goal, or the perfect inspiration to start, you may end up wasting months or maybe even years.
The way to avoid this is to just start, today.
2. Failing to Check if Your Goals are Aligned with Your Business
If your goals are not aligned with your business, you may find that you’re chasing an impossible dream, something that’s not entirely feasible. You will feel scattered and will very quickly drop the idea of setting goals.
Make them “smart.” This is an acronym, as you probably know, and it is interpreted in various ways. When I refer to smart goals, I mean this. Goals must meet five criteria. They must be:
Specific—your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can master.
Measurable—as the old adage says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If possible, try to quantify the result. You want to know absolutely, positively whether or not you hit the goal.
Actionable—every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate) You get the idea.
Realistic—you have to be careful here. A good goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense.
Time-bound—every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that goal. It could be by year-end (December 31) or it could be more near-term (September 30). A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a by when date.
3. Writing Them and Shelving Them
Small business owners are notoriously busy with many different things, every single day. So while we may take the time to set goals, many of us set them and forget them. Goal setting and achievement is an organic process that requires constant attention and frequent adjustments.
Setting a goal at the start of a New Year and not looking at it again until July is not likely to result in success. Instead, create a goal, and then drill down into daily, weekly, and monthly actions you can take to achieve your goals.
4. Follow your Goals to A Fault
Structure and consistency are vital when it comes to goal setting, but too much can cause you to miss out on big opportunities. While you want to create an action-oriented system that helps you make forward-moving progress toward your goals every single day, you also need to remain open to changes that may make the end result even better than you imagined.
This kind of flexibility may present you with a new way to accomplish your goal that you never thought of, or maybe even change your goal into something even better. So work to stay structured, but be open to changes during the process.
5. Focusing on What Went Wrong
When we set goals, we tend to get so focused on the end result. We work very hard to get from point A to point B so it’s common to lose track of successes that happen in between. Set milestones and stop to celebrate each small success along the way. This will help you build momentum and will make the big finale that much sweeter because you will have tracked each success that helped you get there.
Making time to set your goals will help you save time in the long run. Once you are clear on your goals and work towards on what you previously perceived as impossible becomes possible.
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