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Does Goal Setting Feel Like Wishful Thinking?

Are you good at achieving your goals?

Chances are, if you answer yes to that question, you’ve got a system for goal setting and goal achieving.

Not too long ago, I was on the executive team of a growing startup.

A regular part of my week was spent discussing goals, KPIs, metrics, and roadmaps. We had several systems for setting goals, reviewing goals, and achieving goals, smoothly getting us through each week, month, and quarter.

It wasn’t always like that.

When I started, the team was reacting to things like last-minute PR hits and belatedly planning for holidays — as many early stage startups do. As we grew, we put several systems in place to make sure that we were being proactive instead.

When I left that job and started building my consulting business, all those systems I helped put in place? They didn’t just translate to my new life.

I found myself right back at square one, reacting to what was going on around me and trying to grab opportunities with no lead time. Chaotic. Hectic. Exhausting.

Feeling like I had to do all. the. things. All at the same time.

And I knew setting goals was important, but setting a goal felt a little bit like making a wish and blowing out the candles.

“Sign 5 new client contracts this month” = “I wish I had 5 signed client contracts this month.”

Maybe if I say it three times with my eyes closed, clicking the heels of my red sequined pumps together?

Setting goals makes absolutely no sense if you don’t have a system in place to achieve them.

So even though I work for myself now, I still love systems.

Systems are my jam.

It took me several months to figure out my own systems after leaving my job. Every business is different, and you have to experiment to figure out what works for you.

And now that I’m starting a new business, The Determined, we’re once again starting from scratch and experimenting with our systems.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-5-43-32-pmIf you’re feeling like your process of goal-setting is more like wishful thinking, you might get a kick out of this Q&A chat session I did with OWN IT on How to Create Morning Rituals + Set Goals.

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Here are a couple things I do regularly to help me move towards my goals:

1. Monthly review & goal setting

  • At the end of each month, I sit down with my notebook and a calendar, and go over what I wanted to get done last month — what worked, what didn’t?
  • What do I want to get done this month? What are my top goals for each of my big projects?
  • For each of the projects, I think of the top 1-3 results I’d like to see this month. These can be big or small. I write those down.
  • Move in any tasks from last month that I’m still working on, and add anything new that’s come up.
  • What major things are scheduled that I need to prepare for?
  • What small tasks need to get done so the major things go smoothly? — these are key!

2. Weekly planning

  • On Sunday nights, I like to plan my week ahead. I look at my online calendar to see what’s on the schedule, and I write it down in a notebook. It helps me to do the manual act of writing it down with a pen on paper.
  • I look at the week and see if there are any days more free than others — then I look at my month plan and see how I can translate some of the bigger goals to small tasks I can do during those free days in the week.

3. Daily planning

  • None of this works if you don’t look at it every day. Each morning, I look at what I need to do during the day and see if there’s any time to pull in some tasks from the weekly plan.
  • Every evening, I look over what I accomplished and what needs to move over to tomorrow. Then I plan out tomorrow.

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Does that sound like a system that might help you achieve your goals? If so, your next job is to download and print this 3 step system. Pin it up where you’ll see it often!

Get yourself a notebook if you don’t have one already, and get started.

It doesn’t have to be perfect — when you first started riding a bike, you were probably a bit wobbly. You figure it out as you go, but you don’t figure it out by reading about it. You figure it out by doing it!

Also, I’ve been experimenting with sharing these methods with the Pathless.club Facebook group. Join me there for sneak previews and motivational prompts!

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1 Comment

3 reasons why having a morning ritual is so important – Pathless.co

[…] It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something If I start the day checking things off my list, It’s highly likely that I’ll keep going on my lists. And that’s how goals get accomplished. […]


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