Goal setting. Necessary. Tricky.
Yep, goal setting is a tricky thing. Where do we start? How do we hold ourselves accountable? Unless it’s an obvious goal, like “I want a Ferrari someday”, how do we actually measure whether we’ve achieved a goal in a way that’s satisfactory to us?
Driving around in your new Ferrari – if that’s your kind of thing – is going to provide some satisfaction. But, if your goal is something like “being more positive”, how can you recognize your achievements and feel that same type of satisfaction? You certainly can’t buy a batch of positivity and go showing it around town, like that shiny new sports car.
Why are goals necessary? Because without them, we can easily find ourselves in a spiral of feeling overwhelmed, unproductive, and, in general, content to keep living the status quo. Now, if your life is perfect right now, go ahead and stop reading this, and go enjoy it.
For the rest of us, let’s get started. In this blog, we’re going to discuss goal setting and the common theme will be: THINK SMALL!
Why think small?
At first thought, the idea of a small goal doesn’t necessarily sound that interesting. For that reason, let’s clarify something – it’s important to keep in mind that I’m discussing small goals and not small steps.
A step is something you do along the way. On its own, without other steps, it’s not particularly a great achievement. No one celebrates a step.
A goal, however, whether large or small, is something to be proud of. It’s something that can stand on its own – you accomplished that goal! Sounds pretty great, huh?
Alright, so we’ve gotten that out of the way. Small goals are accomplishments. And you deserve to feel proud about any accomplishment. When we establish and achieve small goals on a regular basis, we experience this sense of accomplishment all the time – talk about some serious motivation, right?
Where do we start? Mini-goals.
Earlier in this blog, I used the subtitle, “Goal setting. Necessary. Tricky”. The first part, goal setting is necessary, is fairly straightforward – goals are necessary to progress as human members of society, and you need to set a goal to get you moving in your desired direction.
But what’s so tricky about goal setting?
Knowing where to start, for one.
The trick isn’t defining a larger, overarching goal, but rather establishing a set of “mini-goals” that you can accomplish along the way – and along with that accomplishments comes celebration. It’s important you recognize the importance of these “mini-goals”, so you stay motivated to keep setting more and more of them.
So, now that we’ve covered the difference between “steps” and “goals”, and the importance of establishing “mini-goals” along the path to our ultimate goal, let’s discuss how we can take a larger goal and break it into “mini-goals”.
Breaking up your goal into mini-goals.
Before I get started, it’s important to note that the time-frames I use, and the advice I give, is exactly that: advice. The beautiful thing about goals is that they are an extremely personal thing. Find the types of routines that work for you, and stick with them. It’s as simple as that.
Let’s go through the process of establishing a large goal, and then we’ll work to break that into some “mini-goals” that we can accomplish on a regular basis, motivating us to do more and more.
Our goal: I want to start a billion dollar business.
Now, where do we start? Do we just starting working harder? Read more? Ask lots of successful people how they did it? Meh.
Not only are those difficult things to measure, they are also far too broad. Personally, I wouldn’t even consider those goals. If anything, they are just examples of our ambitions. Our ambitions refer to our determination to reach a goal. A goal is a specific destination. So, while related, they are not the same.
For the purpose of this blog, let’s define a few things around our “mini-goals”:
We could realistically accomplish them within 5 days or less.
There are understood activities that move us towards accomplishing our “mini-goal”.
Finally, and most importantly, we must truly believe that we can accomplish it. This is much more likely if our goals are focused and attainable in a short(ish) period of time.
Mini-goals provide the motivation to accomplish your big goals.
They key to achieving most things is quite simple, but difficult to attain: motivation. In order to accomplish any goal, mini or huge, we need constant motivation.
This is exactly where the power of “mini-goals” lie. They are a constant source of ongoing motivation – the holy grail of personal accomplishment.
So, let’s think about our lofty goal of starting a billion dollar business.
What’s are some initial “mini-goals” we could establish?
Mini-Goal #1: Write down a 3-5 sentence description of a business you’re interested in starting. What and why?
You could accomplish this within a few days, right? It doesn’t need to be perfect. Just a few sentences to help get ideas out of your head and out into the world.
Mini-Goal #2: Have a 30 minute discussion with a business leader to present these 3-5 sentences about your business idea.
Again, something you can easily accomplish within a few days – maybe less. You aren’t developing a full-blown business plan here. Instead, you’re just gathering a first reaction from someone you respect as a business leader.
Mini-Goal #3: Ask that business leader if they would be willing to mentor you, say, once a month for an hour. This can be as something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee together.
Two birds with one stone here! When you’re presenting your initial idea, just ask then if you can have these type of meetings on a regular basis.
Mini-Goal #4: Write down the general specifications for your business idea. What would your first product / service do? Who would buy it? Why? What’s it compare to that’s currently in the market?
Spend an hour or two a day on this, for a few days, and I bet you’d be surprised with how much progress you’ve made.
So let’s step back and consider what you’ve accomplished by simply setting up a few “mini-goals”.
You began to define the top level view of our business. You presented these ideas to someone who’s been there, done that. You’ve developed an ongoing relationship with someone that can mentor you along the way. AND, you crafted a beginning draft of a business plan.
It’s quite possible you were able to accomplish all of this in a week or two. And at the end of each “mini-goal”, you’re going to feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation helping you feel confident to define more and more “mini-goals”.
Motivation. It’s not magic. But it feels that way.
There’s the magic word in our last paragraph: motivation.
Motivation: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
Well, damn. We just figured it all out. Stay self-aware. Understand yourself. Stay motivated. Your actions and behaviors will consistently be in your best benefit.
If only it were so simple.
Think of motivation like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger and more efficient it becomes. You don’t work out once and walk out with a six pack.
You also don’t set a goal of starting a billion dollar company and then…well, start a billion dollar company. There are hundreds, maybe thousands (or tens of thousands), of goals in between. And each and every one is just as important as the others.
Ok…maybe cashing a billion dollar check is a bigger deal. But you get the idea.
One of the main driving forces behind us creating the Thrive Platform is to provide individuals and groups with a better way to establish goals, track their progress, celebrate their achievements, and most importantly – keep doing this forever.
Your motivation muscle needs worked out every single day. Often more than once. Thrive helps. So contact us and let’s start a conversation. Before you know it, you’ll be depositing those billion dollars.
Until next time,
I recently came across an article from 2012: Leadership is a Conversation. https://hbr.org/2012/06/leadership-is-a-conversation It informed…