By Arthur Menard, co-founder and CEO of SPARTAN.
"Shoot for the moon," or "Set high goals for yourself," is advice you have probably heard dozens of times already. Yet every new year the same cycle repeats itself: "This year I will go to the gym every day," "I will stop smoking this year," and "I'm going to launch my own business" are many of the resolutions most people ignore by the end of January.
Setting a goal is easy. The challenging part is the journey that happens between setting an objective and making it a reality. The higher your goal is, the more time and effort it will take to achieve.
So how do you stay motivated throughout this long period of time and strive to produce the best out of yourself? How can you make sure not to quit on your big ambitions? Below is the proven strategy I have learned over my career as an entrepreneur that has produced incredible changes and results for me, both in starting successful businesses and in transforming my personal life.
Transform Your Goals Into Systems
Goals are powerful long-term motivation tools, but they are not doing much good on a day-to-day basis. Say you want to lose 50 pounds in the next six months, yet on a busy day, you find yourself falling for a burger because of a shortened lunch break on a deadline. Or as much as you want to create your own business, you might think "I'll work on it tomorrow," when coming back late and tired from your day job.
A goal leaves too much room for failure. Instead of working on your goals, transform these goals into systems. Block scheduled periods of time in your calendar to work daily on what will matter in the long run and you will remove the option of losing.
Is your goal to run a marathon? Put your shoes in front of your bedroom door and go running every morning. Do you want to write a book? Wake up one hour earlier than you currently do and write one page per day. Do you dream of launching your business? Every Saturday, send sales emails to prospective clients or start to build your product. Do you want to change your diet and lose weight? Create a food program for the next few months and cook your meals in advance.
It is that simple. By focusing on creating and refining a good system, you will deliver results over time and work toward your goal. It also becomes much easier to follow a system than it is to find motivation in a larger task.
Break Down Your Big Goal Into Smaller Wins
You might have an ambitious goal that will take years to achieve. To ensure proper motivation over time, break it down into smaller wins. A great way to do this is to regularly create short-term SMART objectives. SMART objectives are:
- Specific: What do you want to accomplish specifically? Be as precise as possible.
- Measurable: Having a measurable goal (how many, how many) helps you track your progress and know once you've accomplished your goal.
- Achievable: Your goal should be realistically achievable.
- Relevant: Is this objective relevant to your big goal or long-term vision? Is the time or effort worth it?
- Time-Bound: What is the deadline for reaching this objective? This will help you prioritize, stay motivated and feel the excitement of the target date approaching.
Refine your system as you go in order to match your current SMART objectives that will take you to your big vision. For instance, if you are planning on finishing an IRONMAN in the next two years, running a half-marathon in three months is a good first win that will help you stay motivated and make it easier to see the next step. In the same fashion, getting to a minimum viable product or convincing a world-class developer to join the team will help you to create the next unicorn you've been dreaming of.
Celebrate your small wins, trust your system as you go and keep the big picture in mind.
Arthur Menard is co-founder and CEO of SPARTAN, pioneering the fashion tech world and working on the underwear of the future.