If you’ve compared any popular “Goals” books recently, you probably noticed some striking similarities between them – up to three hundred pages at a pop, with the general message of “Plan the Work, then Work the Plan,” while advising you to keep your goals manageable and motivating. Whether your day consists of building a backyard deck or building a company from the ground up, setting goals – and then working to achieve them – instantly improves your likelihood of success.
But setting goals (and then achieving them) gives you something else, too – something worth its weight in gold to sales leaders and entrepreneurs. Setting Goals gives you confidence.
Think about it. Confidence is defined as “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing”. When you’re confident in someone else, chances are they’ve earned the right to both your confidence, and your trust. Self-confidence is no different. You’ve got to earn it – and you earn it by doing.
It’s so simple, and yet, it’s not always easy. Sometimes, even the smallest task can seem daunting, particularly if we’re moving into new territory for ourselves or our business. But there are a few simple tips you can follow to help keep you on track with your goals.
-Know Your Goal. Clarify the type of goal you need to set for yourself – whether it’s business, personal, or financial. Then visualize its achievement. Having a clear vision for your goal’s outcome will help drive your passion for achieving it.
-Hold yourself accountable. Write down your goal where you can see it every day. Tell people about it, blog about it, etc. You want constant reminders of your goal, so that you always know what is truly important in your day. Tell your friends about it. They will ask questions about your progress and that will keep you motivated and make it harder for you to give up. Who wants to tell anyone that they quit?
-Give yourself a deadline. Even the most well-intentioned of leaders can procrastinate in the face of a difficult task. So don’t give yourself a chance to overthink your goal—set a date for its completion. Be realistic, but push yourself.
-Break out the goal into sub goals. This makes it much less intimidating. Subgoals should also follow the “SMART” rule: like any goal, they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. If you’ve set a goal that doesn’t qualify in one of these areas, you’re setting yourself up for failure
-Reward yourself. Remember that you’re a human being, not an automaton. The occasional “job well done” or pat on the back—especially if it’s your own back you’re patting!—can keep you motivated for the next big push.
-Re-evaluate periodically to see how you are doing. This is key. The best goals imaginable become useless if you are off track and headed in the wrong direction. Build in regular “status checks” on all of your key goals to ensure that you remain on your path to success.
The process is elegantly simple—but it still takes work to succeed. If you get discouraged, make a list of past goals you have achieved and don’t forget what others have achieved with odds stacked against them (Helen Keller, etc.).
When the U.S. became the first country to land a man on the moon and safely return him home, Robert Kennedy stated, “We chose to go to the moon not because it was easy, but because it was hard.” To me, that says it all. Accomplishing a goal should feel like a great achievement. Feel proud of yourself!