Where do you see yourself in five years time?
It’s the interview question almost everyone hates, and most business owners don’t think enough about, but having defined goals can be if massive benefit in knowing if you are moving in the right direction.
If you want to succeed you will need to set goals, They will give you focus and direction and, even if that goal seems to be absolutely impossible, a goal that has been set, is measurable, as from that moment on, you can evaluate everything you do as either bringing you closer to your goal or moving you away from it.
To achieve any goal you will need to first know what it is, then create a plan to work towards it. By breaking it down into manageable steps you will be able to track your progress and it will also stop you from getting demotivated by a large goal.
Be SMART, Yes its another acronym, sorry, marketing is full of them. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Specific – you want to be as specific as possible, you want your goal to guide you so stating general goals like “I want to be successful” isn’t motivating enough.
Measurable – Once a goal is broken down into steps you will be able to track progress, If you set the amounts or percentages you want to achieve then you will know if you are on track and if not, what progress has been made.
Attainable – You need to believe that you can achieve the goals you set, if you only make £100/week set out to make £million next week, it’s unlikely that will happen. Setting unachievable goals will only erode your confidence and motivation.
NOTE – avoid giving yourself too many quick wins or setting very easy goals, this can be equally as negative as they don’t feel like achievements and don’t give you any sense of satisfaction in achieving them.
Relevant – Goals should be in keeping with your vision, dividing your time between too many different subjects can reduce your focus and distract you from moving forward.
Time Bound – SET A DEADLINE, having a date that your goal will be achieved by will set a sense of urgency and will stop you from being side-tracked.
Create a Plan
Work backwards and create mini goals
Often time when we set a goal it’s so far off in the distance that we don’t really see it as real until it’s too late and we have a stressful rush to get it done. By working backwards, we can set mini goals that will keep us on track and allow enough time to get everything done.
If your main goal is A, think about what you need in place to achieve it, then call putting whatever you need in place, goal B, then work backwards again, what do you need in place to achieve B? that can be goal C. and continue on until you have all the perceivable measure in place, then you can be more specific about each goal and its times scales and when it needs to be completed by.
Break down all of the mini goals
Make sure that you are robust in setting all of the mini goals as well as the large main goal. These are the steps that will help you accomplish your main goal so they also need to be done properly to ensure your main goal is laid on solid foundations.
Allow for FLEXIBILITY
If your main goal is 5 years away, the market may change in that time, you may need to reconsider as you go what steps are necessary and your approach to achieving them.
IDENTIFY ANY OUTSIDE FACTORS
Lack of knowledge/skill would require some additional learning, lack of time might require some outsourcing, and too many expenses may require some streamlining. If you can identify any problems early on you can mitigate them at the earliest opportunity rather than finding yourself in a stressful situation with a deadline fast approaching
It can be easy to get distracted as things progress so it’s worthwhile setting aside designated amounts of time to work on the current goal. Set reminders or meetings with your team as deadlines for progress reports.
Working towards a long term plan can be tough, if you have little celebrations to celebrate your progress its more motivating to move on to the next stage.
Set goals that motivate you – The steps towards a goal should also be fun and give you a sense of personal achievement.
Commit to the goal – know why it’s important to you and you will be more invested in its success
Write it all down – If you have a tangible piece of paper to refer back to, it makes it more real.
Be positive – Use language like “I will” rather than “I’d like to”
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true” Greg Reid