The first step to achieving a goal is to set it, preferably on paper.

One of the most profound moments for me on my journey to entrepreneurship was back when I was still in my 9-5. I had only recently discovered the world of online entrepreneurship, and as I read the stories from women my age about all they’d accomplished in the last year, I realized that I had been stagnant for over a year and a half.

I’d stopped writing goals, especially new year’s resolutions, back in high school because I never seemed to achieve them. (Getting good grades in school was a given for me, not a goal.) However, when I started my own business, I realized that I would need direction and goals are perfect for providing direction.

For the first several months of my journey as a full-time business owner, I couldn’t seem to reach 100% of any goal I’d set. I would make some initial progress, but then when I would only be 50% of the way there on the day I’d set for my deadline, I would move on to the next goal. I couldn’t seem to prevent myself from getting discouraged and losing motivation to just keep going from 50% to 100%.

After creating a system that utilizes my strengths to keep myself motivated and moving toward each goal I set on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, I felt as if I’d gained a lot of perspective on what wasn’t working for me. Some of the things that weren’t working for me may also be keeping you from reaching your goals.

Please read on to learn more and discover how you can create a system for your own goal achievement!

What’s Getting in Our Way

Setting the goal isn’t the problem. Intentionally walking the path toward reaching the goal is where a lot of entrepreneurs get lost. Making excuses for why the goal won’t work in the first place is usually where it starts. Excuses take so little effort. Action not only requires effort, but worthwhile action requires planning.

One of the most common mistakes we tend to make as entrepreneurs is taking action without a plan. We’re just so excited about what we want to create in the world, we can’t help ourselves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself “taking action,” and knowing the whole time that I wasn’t necessarily moving myself or my business forward. The excuse? “But I’m still taking action and putting in effort.”

Vague Goals Lead Us Nowhere

Setting vague, grandiose goals or goals that are too general often lead us nowhere at all. Most times, I find that we set ourselves up for failure when we set goals that aren’t specific enough because we are pursuing an idea rather than a plan. For example, we have the idea to lose weight but that’s not a plan. Will you go to the gym more? How often exactly? What about your diet? How are your eating habits going to change?

Creating a Cycle for Success

When I first decided that I was going to change the way I pursued my goals, I realized that I also needed to change the way I set my goals. The SMART goal setting system that most of us have probably come across was not working for me. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the SMART system was originally intended for teams! The system isn’t even supposed to be relevant when it comes to setting individual goals!

I began by looking up how successful individuals set their own personal goals. I noticed that while many of them describe their processes differently, the parameters in which they set their goals were incredibly similar. I identified these parameters and have described them below:

  1. CLARITY OF PURPOSE: Why is it that you want to achieve this goal in the first place? If your goal is to celebrate a $10K month in business, what is it that you desire this revenue for? I want to pause here and explain this parameter further. I’d recommend going deeper and exploring your underlying desire as it relates to your life in general. For instance, you could say “I want $10K this month so I can buy a new diamond bracelet.” But once you buy the bracelet, you’ll have to identify an entirely new purpose for the next month. Instead if you say “I want to uplevel my entire lifestyle and experience financial freedom,” you create an overarching purpose that will serve you for the long-term.

     

  2. BALANCE: Most entrepreneurs I meet strive for one thing above all-else–work-life balance. If all your goals are business related, you may find yourself sacrificing your personal life in the name of your success. Trust me, I’ve been there. One of the main reasons I started my own business was so I’d have more time for friends, family, and to pursue my other passions–including writing and history. Imagine my melancholy when I realized I hadn’t seen my friends, read a history book, or written a single page of my novel in months. I now balance my goals by using three categories: Business, Community, and Personal.

     

  3. TIMELINE VS. DEADLINE: This is where knowing yourself really comes in handy. There are two types of people in the world. Those who thrive on the excitement of reaching a deadline, and those who feel the pressure of a deadline looming over their heads to such an extent that they become paralyzed. If you fall into the latter category, as I’ve discovered I do when it comes to business, creating a timeline instead of a deadline may be the better option for you. Personally, I find having a timeline gives me flexibility and allows me to forgive myself more readily when it takes me longer than anticipated to reach a certain goal.

     

  4. ACCOUNTABILITY: There are three types of accountability I want to touch on. I’ll be going more in-depth on each one in future posts. The three types are self-accountability, accountability partnerships, and communal accountability. The first one should be somewhat self-explanatory, keeping yourself accountable will be key to your success. The second is dependent upon finding someone who truly shares your vision and is able to keep you on track. Ideally, this would be someone like a personal assistant, integrator, or Online Business Manager who is responsible for ensuring you stick to your business goals, plans, and strategies. The final type is based around having the support and combined brain-power of a community of like-minded individuals who understand your commitment to making your goals a reality.  

If you’re ready to keep yourself accountable, I encourage you to check out the Accountability Collective, a community of like-minded women entrepreneurs committed to making their dreams a reality: http://www.jackiekossoff.com/accountability-collective.

Comment below with your questions and let me know what other topics would like me to cover!