Goal-setting. We hear about it all the time as the way to move forward with business and life. It’s having those small steps that take us to where we want to go. But once we’ve set the goals we need to take action to accomplish them.
When you work for yourself, no boss or company is setting the goal for you. You’re not working towards another firm’s agenda or aspirations; you’re working towards your own.
Even as a freelancer or an employee, where you might be working to create something for someone else, you still need your own goals to achieve who you want to work for, how much you want to earn, and where you’d like to be in the future.
Having a goal stops us stagnating but how do we ensure we give it our best shot at achieving it?
There are building blocks we need to have in place to give us the best foundation for achieving the goals we set.
These could be enough time, the right help, the right mindset.
Setting down a vision can be exciting and equally daunting. How big do you make it, how wide in scope? How
I tend to see goals as the short-term, actionable steps, which work towards your vision. Some people prefer to see it more as ‘setting an intention’ because the goals can change.
As we take action, situations and circumstances change. We might find the ‘goal’ is no longer what we want or need to achieve.
By having a vision of where you want to be, it can be easier to establish what needs to be done, and it can take the stress out of decision-making when it comes to goal or intention setting.
For instance: within your vision you have a life where you work abroad, travel, see more of your family, get to swim every day, help thousands of your ideal customers, and work just three days a week.
So in order to achieve that, you can now start setting goals to get you there. Does it require earning a certain amount, moving to a different place, meeting new people, getting more customers or changing who you work with?
Your goal or intention might be to take on three new clients in order to earn a certain amount to achieve your dream lifestyle. Then you realise you can take on just one new client for a higher price to achieve the same. The goal changes but it still
Your goal might be to move to the coast in two years so you can get your swimming fix, but you then find a place near a lake, which allows you to do the same. The goals might change, but as long as you keep the vision in mind, you can shift and adapt and still end up where you want to be.
Connecting with your vision is also important so that you believe in the goals you set yourself.
Make the vision yours. Own it. Write it down, say it out loud, read it every day, meditate on it. Do what you need to do to feel that connection to it.
When you feel that it is your future and in your hands, setting a goal becomes easier and you’ll be more likely to put all your effort into making it work.
Your mission statement is there to help guide you and give you clarity.
It’s your reason ‘why’.
With a vision in mind, the mission statement can articulate why you’re doing what you do and be specific about what it is you’re hoping to achieve and who you’re helping.
This gives you a reference point when setting your goals. Similar to with your vision, you can check-in to see if the goal aligns with your overall mission and values. It can guide you at critical decision points.
In order to achieve goals, they need to at first be realistic. That doesn’t mean setting your sights low, but it does mean looking at what you can really achieve with the capacity you have.
A goal which pushes you but doesn’t break you will move you forwards without creating a lot of stress.
Making a goal measurable is one way to see if what you’re working towards is manageable.
If your goal is to have 50 thousand social media followers, make sure you’re giving yourself a realistic timeframe in which to achieve it.
If your goal is to take a month off for travel, look at when is best to do it or adjust it to be two separate two-week blocks.
Give yourself time
We can be so focused on achievement, that we forget to enjoy the process and cognitively process and reflect on what we learn as we go along.
When we enjoy something, we’re more likely to succeed because we want to work towards it.
Giving yourself time to absorb what you’re learning and being mindful about what you’re doing, is hugely beneficial and makes working towards your goal a joy, rather than a chore.
Give yourself permission
How often have you felt as if the vision you have is meant for someone else, or the goals you’re setting are what ‘other people’ aspire to or can achieve?
Often, especially women, we find ourselves undervaluing what we do and lowering our ambitions.
Once we tell ourselves that we can achieve it, we are worthy, and we deserve the dream in mind, we can work towards our goals with
There’s a freedom in believing you’re allowed to be successful and achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Give yourself a (gentle) kick… then a pat
Sometimes we do need to give ourselves a little tough love… A little kick up the proverbial.
So, as much as we need to be compassionate with ourselves, a little motivational pep talk can help us get out of the slump or the habits we’ve fallen into.
Not everything is easy and most of the time, nothing worth having comes by lying around waiting.
In fact, the only things I can think of getting by lying about waiting, are sores and boredom.
After a little talking to, make sure to reward yourself as well. Acknowledging positive action is a motivator itself.
A little treat for meeting a milestone, or, just showing up and working, even if it’s a long bath and your favourite book.
Ask for help
Not always easy and sometimes coupled with
Asking for help can take courage but can result in a better or quicker outcome.
It could be family help with children or as simple as asking for help with chores around the house. It could also be asking for help from a mentor or coach who can give you guidance and support around what you’re doing.
Often asking for help is a sensible option rather than a failing. Trying to do everything alone (and I have – many times) more quickly leads to stress and burnout.
It makes sense but if you want to succeed at something, then you’ve also got to want it. There’s no surer way to lose motivation and momentum by losing the desire for what you do.
Lack of want or desire is an interesting thing to explore. Does it mean giving up or is it a sign you need to change something else?
If it’s proving too difficult, it could be that one of the other areas needs to be addressed. Are you being realistic with yourself, are you giving yourself the time, are you getting the support you need?
When you really want something, setting goals and sticking to them becomes easy, and often enjoyable.
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About the author
Louise is an award-winning journalist and speaker who focuses on working from home, remote work and wellbeing. She is the founder of The Homeworker, which is dedicated to helping you thrive when you work from home. The Homeworker publishes articles that are designed to keep you healthy, happy, fulfilled, and more productive in work and life.