It’s possible to get through life without setting a single goal, but that’s unlikely to get you very far in your chosen profession – nor is it likely to get you very far in your personal life.
A life without goals is unguided, unfocused and likely to result in failures that could have easily been prevented.
More worrying, those failures will have likely been missed opportunities to grow, learn and become happier.
We all want to be happier, right? So, with that in mind, here’s why it’s important to set goals for your business as 2020 rapidly approaches.
Why is it important to set goals?
Setting goals might be something you’ve disregarded simply because people go on about it so much. After all, you’re reading yet another blog post on the subject.
Quite a lot, actually. Goal setting is incredibly important – that’s why it’s such a hotly discussed topic.
You’ve probably heard of the SMART principle:
It’s widely accepted that every goal you set should be SMART. If it isn’t specific, you won’t know what you’re aiming for. If you can’t measure it, you’ll never know how you’re getting on. If it’s not attainable – you’ll never reach it. No relevancy? Why bother? And, finally, if it isn’t timely, you’ve missed the boat – sorry.
Beyond acronyms, however, there are many more reasons as to why goal setting is so important:
- Goals incite behaviour. A clear goal that you want to achieve will make you do stuff, and that’s one of the keys to high levels of productivity.
- Goals place your focus. With so many distractions in modern-day society, a goal will safely guide your focus to the most productive stuff.
- Goals will keep momentum going. There’s nothing quite like seeing your progress towards a goal – it’s addictive.
- Goals align actions with results. When you do something and it results in a tangible step forward towards your goal, it’s a good feeling, right?
- Goals build character. The more achievable goals you set and meet, the more you’ll grow as a person.
How to set goals
There’s no silver bullet here, unfortunately – setting goals is different for every individual. What works for you might not work for a colleague.
There are, however, some commonalities for goal setting that we can all adhere to:
- Decide what the goal is, no matter how lofty of seemingly inconsequential.
- Write it down – that way, you can’t lose it and seeing it on paper can be inspiring.
- Tell someone else about the goal – get their feedback on it (but don’t be put off if they tell you it’s impossible).
- Break the goal down into smaller chunks.
- Plan those chunks out, roughly, on a calendar.
- Start work on the first step.
- Take breaks when the going gets tough, but don’t stop overall.
- When you reach the goal – celebrate.
It’s pretty straightforward when you look at it like that, but that’s the beauty about goal setting – anyone can do it.
If there’s one step above that’s the most important, it’s number 4. By breaking down your goal into manageable chunks, you’ll stand a far better chance of achieving it.
Why is it important to set short term and long term goals?
Goals come in two main forms – short and long term. Both are really important, and it makes sense to have a good balance between each type.
Short term goals are sometimes immediately achievable. It might be to schedule a tweet for this afternoon, or to finally purchase a new overhead projector for the board room. It may even be to start running each evening in an effort to slowly build up your fitness levels.
Often, short term goals are directly linked to long term goals. As noted in the previous section, breaking up big goals into smaller chunks will help you get there, and those chunks are goals in themselves.
Long term goals are the big things we want to achieve. Breaking into a new market, building a new habit, launching a new product, achieving a specific qualification; they’re not achievable today, tomorrow or even next week, but you know you can smash them at some stage.
How to measure progress
If you don’t measure goals, you’ll never really know if you met them or, if you did, how efficiently you did so. And that means you’ll learn very little about what the goal taught you.
Measuring goals is easier than you might think – it just needs a consistent approach and constant reminder of why measuring is so important.
There are apps on the market to help with this, but sometimes the old-fashioned methods work best.
Try maintaining a calendar that enables you to check off your long and short term goals. Marry it with a daily journal which details your experiences each day from attacking the goals and you’ll have a record which can be checked as often as you need to.
Just don’t break the chain – keep the calendar and journal going, safe in the knowledge that you’re accurately documenting your goal progress.
Importance of goal setting in business
Goal setting is important throughout life, but nowhere is this truer than in the business realm.
Businesses without goals may be momentarily successful or enjoy long periods of stability, but they won’t grow or be ultimately sustainable. They probably won’t be much fun to run or work for, either.
If your business has SMART short and long term goals, it will know which products and services it needs to work on next, the additional markets it can tackle and how to capitalise on the competition’s mistakes.
Why is it important to set goals in life?
Goal setting is just as important in your personal life as it is at work. If you’ve always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro or learn to play the piano, you’ll never get there if you don’t set some goals.
Once again, you can quite easily get through life without goals, but humans are curious animals that thrive on learning and development, and a human without goals is being starved of one of life’s greatest pleasures.
What are some of the main advantages of setting goals in life?
We think there are three main advantages of setting goals in your life, be it for personal or business reasons:
- You’ll gain motivation. We all need motivation in life – it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
- You’ll have a sense of direction. Where are you going next? Do you have a clear path ahead?
- You can hold yourself accountable. Goal setting and completion is entirely down to you – no one else. And that’s empowering.
- You can track progress. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing your own progression through your personal and business goals.
The good news? You’ve got plenty of time to set your short and long term goals for 2020 – if you get started now.