5 Steps to Setting & Achieving Your Business Goals

Do you set goals but then struggle to achieve them or, worse, forget about them?

Yup. Me too. Been there, done that. 

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? And it makes me wonder… How are we supposed to achieve our dreams if we can’t effectively set and achieve our goals?

Here’s what I know: 

When we fail to reach our goals, it’s not because they aren’t achievable. And it’s not because setting goals doesn’t work.

The problem is in the process.

If we want to make our dreams a reality, we need to set goals and then use them in a way that keeps us on track and moving forward.

Most of the time, we just name our goals. And that's where the problem is. Setting goals isn’t just about naming them. That’s just the beginning.

There are key steps we need to take in order to achieve the goals we set. 

When we don’t take these steps, we don’t achieve our goals, and then we either decide that goal-setting doesn’t work for us or we blame ourselves for being bad at it.

It’s important to note that we are not the problem! We’re all totally capable of achieving the goals we set for ourselves! We just need to go about it in a constructive way.

Below are 5 challenges that stop us from achieving our goals and steps you can take to overcome them. 

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Challenge #1: Your goal is vague.

If you don’t know exactly what your goal is, you won’t know when you’ve achieved it.

The answer here is to get specific. 

When your goal is specific, the steps to achieve it become clear.

How do you know if you’re being specific enough? Think in terms of numbers.

Ask questions that drive specificity, like:

  • What does that look like?
  • How many?
  • By when?

Here are some examples, which I’ll draw on later in this article:

Vague goal: I want to make more money than last year

  • What does that look like? Add new 1:1 coaching clients
  • How many? 20% more revenue than last year by adding 4 new coaching clients
  • By when? Dec 31st

Vague goal: I want to open a new membership

  • What does that look like? Doors open by the end of February
  • How many? 100 members
  • By when? Dec 31st

The more specific you get, the more likely you’ll reach your goal.

Challenge #2: Your not sure if your goal is feasible.

To clarify, feasible means “to do easily or conveniently.” With that in mind, this one can go either way — it’s too easy or too hard.

If it’s too easy and you don’t feel challenged, the goal you set may not be worth the trouble.

If it’s too hard or you’re too intimidated, you’ll fail before you’ve even begun. 

The answer here is to set a range of goals.

I like using 3 goals:

  • Minimum acceptable (I did it! 🙌)
  • Stretch goal (Ooooh yeeeah! 🎉🎉)
  • BHAG or big hairy-ass goal (Holy shit! 💃💃💃)

Your minimum acceptable goal should be fairly doable.

The stretch goal should be a significant reach beyond that.

And your BHAG should be mind-blowing… but still achievable.

For an example here, I want to draw from the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC), a bicycle ride across Massachusetts that raises money to fight cancer. I’ve done this ride six times. The fundraising goals are really high and much more intimidating than training to ride 182 hilly miles in 2 days. I think it serves as a great example of goal-setting.

Minimum acceptable goal - The fundraising minimum for the PMC is $6,000

Stretch goal - They call this the “Heavy Hitter” and this year it’s $10,000 (I’ve hit that 3 times!)

BHAG - For the PMC, this is the top 10%, which will be $16,500. I’ve never even tried for it, but I know people who get it every year!

Setting specific goals can be really difficult because we aren’t sure what’s going to happen that will either help us or hurt us. We can only control so much! I like setting a range of goals with 3 numbers because it creates some useful flexibility. 

Challenge #3: You don’t know your “why”.

When you don't know why this is important, it's easy to wonder away. You won't care about it and as soon as the going gets tough, you're out of there.

The answer here is to get clear on why this goal matters to you.

Knowing why you want to achieve your goal can help cement your commitment. You aren’t achieving it simply for the sake of doing so. This isn’t a mountain that you’re climbing “because it’s there”. That won’t keep you moving during the hard times.

What’s in it for you?

What will it give you?

What will it give the people you serve?

Going back to our earlier examples:

Goal: Make 20% more than last year

Why?

  • So I can hire an assistant
  • Help more people
  • Feel like this business is thriving

Goal: Open membership and have 100 members by Dec 31st

Why?

  • Help more people more efficiently
  • Make more money while charging each person less
  • Work with the same group of people over the long term
  • Build relationships while helping them get further faster!

Quick note: It’s ok to be focused on yourself here! Ultimately, you’re doing it for yourself and those you love. What’s the “why” that really resonates deeply within you?

Challenge #4: You can’t tell how much progress you’ve made.

When we don’t know how much progress we’ve made or how far we still have to go… if it’s vague and hard to measure, it will drain our energy. It’s hard to push for the thing you want without this information.

This goes back to when we set our goals. We think of them as one step. It’s an automatic thing. We think: “I want to be there.” We can see it, feel it, even taste it.

But if our goal is big enough, it won’t be that simple. If it’s something you won’t be able to reach until many months have passed or even a whole year later, there are going to be a lot of steps involved. Here's the catch - looking at each and every step can be a huge emotional drag. There are so many, and each step has mini-steps within it. It can get really heavy and stop us before we even get started. 

The answer here is to lay out the milestones that you'll need to hit along the way.

Milestones are incredibly helpful because they show us both how far we’ve come and also what we have yet to do. They help us tune into our progress so that we can see the entire journey. They're positive and exciting, giving us smaller moments to look forward to en route to our destination. Laying them out and putting them in your calendar will help you stay on target and keep your progress moving forward.

Let’s go back to our examples one more time:

Vague goal: I want to make more money than last year

  • What does that look like? Add new 1:1 coaching clients
  • How many? 20% more revenue than last year by adding 4 new coaching clients
  • By when? Dec 31st
  • Milestones:
    • Add 1 new client each quarter

Vague goal: I want to open a new membership

  • What does that look like? Doors open by the end of February
  • How many? 100 members
  • By when? Dec 31st
  • Milestones:
    • Build program by Feb 15
    • Doors open by Feb 28
    • 10 new members every month from March - December

Do you see how adding milestones also clarifies the things that need to happen in order to achieve these goals? It lays out the path and introduces some useful focus points that will help you make progress step by step. 

It helps you identify what you need to do and when. It makes it feel achievable. And it dramatically increases the likelihood that you will achieve it.

Challenge #5: You aren’t committed.

Here’s the thing: If you aren’t committed to achieving your goal, all bets are off. There’s no way you’re going to achieve it!

You have to want it. You have to be willing to do the work to achieve it. You have to be ALL IN.

The answer here is to choose to commit, and to capture your commitment where you can see it regularly.

This is the mental aspect of goal setting. If you don’t find it intriguing, inspiring, or exciting, you won’t fight to achieve it. 

Perhaps this is the test. Is it a good goal for you? Is it a high quality goal that means something to you?

Because any good goal is worth fighting for.

Committing is powerful because this, above all, is what will drive you through when the chips are down. When you’re feeling tired, you’re frustrated, or you run into roadblocks, your commitment will keep you on target. If you fall off the path, your commitment will get you back on it.

While this is a mental challenge, you can take actions that will help you address it. 

First, write it down. Not just once. Write it many times in many places. Your planner, your calendar, a sticky note on your computer monitor and another on the bathroom mirror. 

Here’s why: When you write, you incorporate multiple senses. You hear it in your head while you feel it in your fingers, and you see the words. You’re embedding it into your psyche.

And then every time you see it, it's your opportunity to recommit.

Second, tell someone. You don’t have to tell everyone! But it can help to let at least one person know about your goal and intentions. If you want, invite them to check in on you or ask if you can check in with them. In addition to having someone you can talk with about it, you bring in the additional sense of hearing. You hear your own voice declaring your goal.

I also like to think that when you say it out loud, you can taste your goal. Does that sound weird? Maybe. But think about it… is that a sweet goal? Or spicy? A spicy goal can be very motivating! Ok, that might be weird. 😂 Moving on…

 

So those, my friend, are the 5 steps you need to walk through if you want to actually achieve your goals.

Download the guide here. It'll walk you through this whole process step by step so you can get focused and get moving!

Are you ready? Let’s go!

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