Goals are great, in fact they are paramount to actual success. Every single successful business in the history of time started with a goal, achieved it, and went from there. The only problem is, why do they take so long? Here's a very simple, two-part process that will help you rocket to the finish line.
Part 1: Understanding the Path
- Declare the goal. The best definition of a goal is a dream with a deadline. So declare not only the dream, but the deadline as well. What do you want to do and when do you want to do it by? These two very simple questions can help you to measure progress along the way and to know when you're winning.
- Create the path. The major difference between most goals and dreams is that a goal not only has a deadline, but it has a plan. What's your plan? How do you intend on reaching that finish line and achieving that goal? Do you have everything you need to get you there? Have you anticipated roadblocks and pitfalls along the way? Do you have a plan to sidestep the landmines that you won't see until the last minute?
- Set mini-goals. Be sure you have measurable milestones--mini-goals along the path to let you know that you're on the right road. The most important part is that they are three things: applicable, measurable, and attainable.
- Define winning. The mini-goals and the major goal have to be tangible, specific. Again...measurable.
- Bad example: "I want to grow my business."
- Good example: "I want to become the number one provider of services in my area." Also, understand that while you should celebrate the mini victories, they are not the goal. Think of them as points on the scoreboard that will help you come out on top when the buzzer rings.
5. Review, re-route, and recommit. Along the path, you'll need to check the map again and review the plan often to insure you're headed the right way. You might stray and that's okay, just re-route the plan and recommit yourself to it.
Set the path, stick to the path, and keep the goal in sight. These are all time-tested, tried and true steps. Admittedly, this is Day 1 stuff. That being said, it never hurts to refresh this list yourself and with your team.
Now, the second part is what will take you out of 101 and into graduate school!
Part 2: The Shortcuts
These are three steps that will help accelerate your plan and get you up close and personal with your goal faster than you ever imagined.
- Prune your trees. Every gardener will tell you that to get the tallest and best plants and trees means you have to prune slow growth limbs. While it can be difficult to trim where there is still some growth, but if you want to get the fastest growth you have trim slower growth, not just failures.
- Add more people. They don't have to be employees, they could be supporters. You are looking for people who bring access, insight, or resources
- Challenge your deadlines. This works especially well for mini-goals. Push your team (and yourself) to hit specific goals faster than what you initially set as your deadline. Expedite the process one goal at a time and before you know it, the major goal is in sight and reachable.
At that point, grab onto it and begin the process of defining the next goal. Winning once is great, but sustained success is what makes you a winner.