Want to increase your chances of achieving your goals by 40%?
It’s the start of a new year, which means most of us (if not already done) are setting goals for the next year or quarter. If you want really want to achieve the goals you’re setting, there’s one simple thing you need to do.
Write. Them. Down.
Studies have found that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. And many sources state that people who write down their goals are 40% more likely to achieve them.
Why? Well, writing down your goals helps to make them more concrete and real, rather than just being abstract ideas in your mind. It also allows you to break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps and track your progress. Additionally, it also serve as a reminder to keep you focused and motivated.
I’m sure you’ve heard it said, you buy a red car and all of a sudden you’re seeing red cars everywhere. This isn’t a crazy phenomenon – it’s simply because you’re brain is now more aware of red cars and is more likely to notice them.
Similarly, when you set and write down goals, your brain begins to notice the opportunities that will help you achieve those goals, that you previously wouldn’t have been attuned to.
But writing down your goals alone is not enough to achieve them. You also need to have a plan to achieve them, with clear and specific steps. And then you need to consistently work towards them.
Let’s break down the 2 steps needed to do this effectively:
Step 1: Set (and write down) SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Let’s break that down further:
- Specific: Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Clearly define your goals and objectives in a way that is easy to understand and communicate to others.
(Example: “Grow my business” is not specific. “Increase my revenue by X%” or “Hire my first employee” is specific.)
- Measurable: Make sure your goals are measurable. Determine how you will track progress and measure success, whether it is by revenue, market share, or customer satisfaction.
(Example: “Have a greater impact” is not really measurable, but “help 40 women through my online program” is. Similarly, “Increase my revenue” is somewhat measurable, but have you achieved your goal if you make one more dollar this year that last year? Instead make your goal “increase my revenue by X%.)
- Achievable: Ensure that your goals are achievable. Consider the resources and capabilities you have available to you when setting goals, and make sure they are realistic and achievable within the given timeframe.
Example: Setting unrealistic timeframes is one of the biggest mistakes I see (and I make!) when it comes to goal setting. In Step 2 you’ll be writing down all the tasks required to achieve your goals. Once everything is written out, check whether you’re being realistic about the timeframe in which you want to achieve your goals. If you know you don’t have the time, and don’t have resources to outsource, come back and revise your goal. Don’t set yourself up to fail from the start.
- Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant. Ensure that they align with your overall business strategy and goals.
Example: Make sure your goals are for you (or your business) and no one else. Shiny object syndrome is REAL in the online space (look it up if you don’t know what that means).
“Hit 6 figures” is a big goal for many entrepreneurs and service providers. But is that actually what you want? Or is it just the message you see again and again about what it is to be an ‘online success’, and you want to feel successful? You may have started your business with the goal to make $50k and have more time to spend with your kids. Work towards your own goals and your own definition of success, and no one else’s.
- Time-bound: Set a deadline for achieving your goals. Give yourself a clear timeframe to work towards and hold yourself accountable for achieving the goals within that timeframe.
Example: I like to have an overall goal for my business for the year, and then quarterly goals that will help me achieve the main goal. You may have a one-off project like launching a digital product that you want to complete in the next 30 days. So write down a (realistic) date you’d like to achieve your goal by.
Now that you have your SMART goal set, it’s time to make the plan to achieve it.
This is where a lot of people get stuck. They don’t know what to do or where to begin, so they just continue on and hope for the best. But not you!
Step 2: Make the plan
When you’re at the starting point, you need to be able to focus on just your next step, rather than the final destination which currently feels overwhelming and impossible. (How do you eat an elephant?) So we need to break down the goal into smaller pieces, and create a task list of everything that needs to be done to get there. You’re essentially creating your roadmap to achieving your goal, and at every point you’ll be able to come to your road map and look at the one next task that will help you get one step closer to achieving your goal. Achieving your goals doesn’t happen over night, it happens one step at a time.
Let’s break down the goal into bite-sized pieces.
- Make a list of the big-picture tasks. Write down all the things you need to do to achieve your goal.
Example: If your goal is to launch a digital product by the end of next month, your list might look like:
1. Do market research on what my audience really wants as it relates to my product
2. Create Digital Product
3. Set up way for people to purchase product
4. Create Email Sales Sequence
5. Launch on Socials
- Now that we know what we need to do to achieve our goal, we’re now going to break down these items into smaller tasks. Write out all the micro steps and to-do’s required to complete each individual task.
1. Do market research
a. Create a list of questions that will give me insight into my ideal customers pain points, desires, goals, etc. as it relates to my product idea.
b. Put these questions into a Google Form so I can capture the information
c. Reach out to my audience and ask them to complete the survey (possibly with an incentive)
2. Create Digital Product
a. Analyse results of survey and determine exactly what your product should be/information it should contain to be most beneficial to your audience (and wanted by your audience)
b. Write content for digital product
c. Create digital product PDF in Canva
d. Send the first draft to one or a handful of your ideal customers to get feedback
e. Refine the product and content according to feedback
f. Finalise digital product and save PDF
Continue until you have completed your list…
3. Assign deadlines. Once you’ve written your entire to-do list with all the tasks broken down, next to each task write down how long it will take you to complete. From there assign a date or timeline for when you will complete that task by.
In doing this, you’ll begin to see whether or not your initial timeframe is achievable, or if you need to adjust your timeframes and expectations or outsource any items if possible.
You can either enter all of these tasks into your calendar or just keep this list handy and ensure you set time in your schedule to work on your goal.
You’re ready to work on and achieve your goals!
Now any time you sit down to work on your goal, all you need to do is look at the one next step on your list, and work on that task. If you find yourself with a spare hour, look at your list and chip away at the next task. Bit by bit, you’ll find yourself working towards and achieving your goals, without constantly feeling overwhelmed.
If you complete this process, you are more likely to achieve your goals than most other people. Give yourself a pat on the back!