How I Set Big Goals And Actually Achieve Them

Grow Your Business

When I decided to start my own business I sat down at my kitchen table and spent a week planning out my business goals. I lived off coffee and barely moved from my chair. I will admit that the first few days were a struggle. But once I started visualizing my business in a new way I was able to set some major business goals.

After that first week, I not only had a solid goal plan for my first year in business but a general vision for where I wanted to be in 5 years and in 10 years. Maybe that makes me an overachieving goal setter or maybe it makes me crazy but that vision of where I want my business to be and look like in 10 years is what drives me to work hard every single day. It’s my big goal.

And it’s working. I’m already crossing goals off my list.

Learn how to set big business goals and actually achieve them.

Why You Need To Set Business Goals

You might be reading this and thinking that your business is doing just fine and that sitting down and setting goals for your business at this stage in the game would be a big waste of your valuable time. Perhaps you’re just starting a new business and aren’t sure you have a clear enough vision of your business to really set goals. Either way no matter what stage you’re in, setting goals is one of the best investments you can make in your business.

Focus

One thing that will come from setting clear business goals is a better focus. You will know exactly what you should be working on to get closer to your business goals. You won’t have to guess from day to day what needs your attention because what needs your attention is what moves you forward and toward your goal.

Measure Your Progress

Without goals, you have no way to measure your progress as a business. Even something as simple as growing your Twitter following to 10k followers over the next year is a goal. Seeing your follower number increase month over month is a measure of your progress toward that goal. Without having a goal you have no way to know if your business is achieving the success you want it to.

Accountability

Setting business goals holds you accountable for your own success. Writing down what you need to do every day or every week to see your vision come to life is one sure fire way to make sure it gets done. There’s nothing I love more than seeing all my tasks have been marked off at the end of the week because that means I have moved that much closer to where I want to be.

Motivation

Goals are the best motivation. There are very few things in the world that are more gratifying than marking a goal down as accomplished. If you want to make $10,000 a month by the end of the year you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. That’s the motivational power of goals. If you want it bad enough you’ll do the work to get there.

Your Vision

Remember when I said I had business goals set for the next decade? It was a very true statement and it’s because I have a vision of where I want my business to be 10 years from now. It may sound like a lot of extra work but it’s really not.

I want you to do a little exercise for me. I want you to get out a piece of paper or print out the handy goal planner I created just for you and get something to write with. Now I want you to picture yourself 10 years from now and write down what you see.

If the picture is blurry and you can’t quite see yourself in clear focus try answering these questions.

  • When you get to work what does your office look like? Is it a big corner office with an executive desk or perhaps a small corner workspace is your home?
  • Is your business a hive of activity with employees sitting at their workstations or is it quiet and tranquil, just you and your creativity?
  • Do you have an assistant to help you?
  • What are you working on in your vision? Are you writing a book for a major publisher? Are you creating a new product or service? If so what are you creating and who are you creating it for?
  • How much revenue is your business bringing in every month?

Hopefully answering these questions has brought a vision of where you want to be. If 10 years is too far out, try focusing on 5 years in the future.

Once you know where you want to be, how much revenue you want your business to bring in, and what you want to spend your time on as a business owner you can start to make a plan to bring it to life.

Oh, and don’t worry about your vision changing in the future because it probably will. Goals aren’t set in stone. They can change as our priorities change. This initial vision of your future as a business owner is just your starting point and something to move toward. If it changes down the line then you just change your goals to match it.

Eating The Elephant

If you have written down what you want your business to be like in 5 or 10 years you’re probably looking at it and wondering how in the world you’re supposed to get there. As amazing as it would be in that future you might be daunted by it. Don’t be.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

You have long-term business goals now it’s time to break them down into manageable pieces and then bite-size pieces.

Manageable Pieces- The One Year Business Goal Plan

It doesn’t matter if you started with 5 or 10-year business goals or both like I did. Those goals will only be attainable if you know what you need to do in the next 12 months to get you closer to that vision. But how do you determine what needs to be done?

Business Focus Areas

Take a look at your business and you will see that it is made up of different parts that all work together to make it what it is and what it could be. These different parts of your business are your areas of focus.

For me, I chose the 7 areas I wanted to invest the most time on; my blog, products, services, email marketing, social media, systems and processes, and revenue. These are the 7 areas I need to grow this year to make my 10-year vision a reality.

Take those areas you want to focus your energy on in the coming 12 months and write them down. You will use those to build some pretty remarkable goals.

Setting Good Goals

I think every business owner has heard of SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. And I have found that the easiest way to set SMART business goals is to answer these 4 questions:

What? 

What outcome are you looking for in this area of your business?

Why?

Why is this outcome important to you?

How?

How will you make it happen? This needs to be a detailed action step plan on how to get the outcome you want.

When?

When is the deadline for this goal? Remember, if you give yourself one year to accomplish a goal it will take a year to accomplish it. If you give yourself 6 months to accomplish the same goal, guess what? You will accomplish it in 6 months. Give yourself some urgent goals.

Use these 4 questions for each focus area to set your one-year business goals. But these goals are just manageable and we want to have bite-size goals so we don’t feel overwhelmed.

Break It Down

Now it’s time to drill down those goals even further.

See your How section for each focus area? You see those action steps you created? Those are key to turning manageable yearly business goals into goals you can start marking off your list today.

Take your action steps for each focus area and start turning them into quarterly goals. Then turn those quarterly goals into monthly goals. And your monthly goals into weekly goals. Now you have goals you can really sink your teeth into and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by them.

Review And Reevaluate

I review my big goals daily. I don’t want to lose sight of where I am on the road to my dream life. But more than that I can evaluate my progress and revise as I need to.

The biggest advise I can give you is to do this process every 12 months. Yes, from the beginning because as your life changes your priorities may change and that corner office you saw yourself in 10 years from now may have changed to a quiet corner of your home where you can hear your children laughing and playing.

Setting goals for a business can be a daunting but it’s so rewarding when you get to start crossing things off your list. By using this method I have managed to have a clearer vision of where I want my business to go. Not only that but by investing my time in this process I have crossed off several of my quarterly goals just one month into my business. I’m more focused and motivated at the start of each day because I know everything I’m doing today is getting me closer to the life and business I want in the future.

I really hope you found this post helpful and I hope it motivates you to start setting some bigger goals for your business. Remember…

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” -Harvey Mackay

Let me see those Big Goals in the comments below.

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33 Comments

  1. Great tips! This year I have made big changes in how I set goals. Now I’ve got some new ideas!

    Reply
    • I tried to make the post easy to follow. I firmly believe “knowing where you’re going will determine how you get there.” And there’s nothing stopping any of us from taking out dreams and turning them into our realty.

      Reply
  2. Oh, I love how detailed this is. I have never made any goals, ever. But I’ve decided that I will sit down for them in 2018 and actually make my (business) dreams come true. I’m going to use this article to make sure I don’t miss a thing. Thank you!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! I’m glad it has sparked your imagination. Take what you want and break it down into small easy to accomplish tasks. Three’s no reason your dream cannot be your reality.

      Reply
  3. Wow, thanks for being so detailed! This is definitely something I need to do soon.

    Reply
    • Don’t let anything stop you from making those goals. I’m so glad it helped.

      Reply
  4. Good tips…it’s so easy to just do what is most pressing for the day rather than focus on the long-term impact of each micro decision we make.

    Reply
    • A wise woman once sat me down and told me the only thing that matters is the 80/20 rule. I have lived by that ever since. I put 80% of my focus on the 20% of my business that gets me closer to me goals.

      Reply
  5. Love this! Thank you for all these helpful tips. Definitely need to bookmark this 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you Carolin. I’m glad it will help you. I hope you keep me up to date on your goals how your crossing them off and reaching your vision.

      Reply
  6. Already bookmarked this, because I will probably have to read that again 😉 Thank you for these great tips.

    Reply
  7. Using the SMART way is so important! It will really keep you on track with setting and achieving big goals!

    Reply
    • Yes, it really does. It makes goals clear and concise and so much easier to achieve.

      Reply
  8. This is so helpful! Makes goal setting so much less daunting by “eating the elephant” one bite at a time. Thanks for this! Really needed the encouragement today!

    xo, Taylor (www.tayloramead.com)

    Reply
    • Taylor, I am so happy you found it helpful and encouraging. My husband struggles with “eating the elephant”… he gets too impatient sometimes, but he’s learning.

      Reply
  9. So so good! I have realized this past year how important it is to have focus be apart of things. Whew! Without focus I am just drifting about in my goals.

    Reply
    • This comment made my heart sing. Focus is so important. Especially when you’re running your own business. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  10. Excellent tips on setting SMART goals! This is just what I needed as I’m setting my own blog/business goals for the New year!

    Reply
    • I figured this post would be best this time of year as we start reviewing 2017 and moving into 2018. I want to see us all succeed in 2018 and having those clear goals are important to our success.

      Reply
  11. When setting long term goals I’m rather hazy! Also sometimes I can
    get a bit testy about putting it into bite size pieces. Thanks for
    the “actionable” reminder. Being more organized works wonders 🙂

    Reply
    • Organization is very helpful!! No point in writing goals if you cannot find where you put them. I hope this post helped, because I think it’s important that our goals get broken down into manageable pieces so we have a greater chance to reach them.

      Reply
  12. These are such great, detailed tips! I think they will help me out. Thank you!

    Reply
    • You’re so very welcome Melanie. These are the exact steps I take to set my goals. It helps so much to be able to see not just the big picture but all the steps I need to take to get there.

      Reply
  13. Great motivational post for me! I usually get tripped on the eating the “elephant part”. I always take on too much and try to do it all at once.

    Reply
    • I used to do the same thing, but since I started breaking my goals down into smaller pieces I have found it’s so much easier to cross them off my list and actually achieve the big goal.

      Reply
  14. Great article, I am in the process of dog my this right now actually. it is so exciting to feel details coming together but so much to figure out too.

    Reply
    • Just start with the big picture and write down every step you need to do to get there. Whether it’s yearly goals or decade-long goals. Thre is a process to get you there. Just break it down into smaller goals then even smaller tasks till it’s not daunting or overwhelming. Then add those tasks to your calendar. You’d be amazed how effective it is.

      Reply
  15. These are all great tips! I work off SMART style goals and try to focus in particular on metrics and accountability. I struggle with planning long-term goals though because I feel like my long-term goals are constantly evolving. I’ll have to work through the questions you had for long-term planning and see if I can find some clarity that way 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m so happy you enjoyed it Liz. Using the SMART method is the best way to plan actionable goals. Planning long-term goals is hard for a lot of people because you’re right, the goal can evolve over time. We have to be flexible as life changes. But if you dig really deep inside you you’ll find some desires and goals you can work toward, and if they change then plan changes. But everything you are doing now should be getting you toward the life and business you want to.

      Reply
  16. Great tips! Thank you from a fellow blogger!

    Reply
    • You’re very welcome Amy. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  17. Thanks for the detailed motivational post! It reminds me of the fact we need to have a vision of the future if we want to truly succeed, and as you said, that requires having tangible, bite-size chunks or baby steps of objectives we can measure and achieve. Love the SMART goals acronym, and actually have it printed out in front of me right now! Determining and writing down goals is one thing- it’s another to implement them and make them happen!

    Reply
    • Yes!! Every dream can become a reality if you take the step to make it happen. Goals are just dreams with a plan ( I think I saw this somewhere). And every business needs a vision which is just one big goal to work toward.

      Reply

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