The end of the financial year is around the corner. It’s a great time to think about plans for the next one and the rest half of the year. But do you really know how to set goals for your business? Which principles should you follow to make them happen?
First of all, you must remember that setting goals is not secret knowledge. It’s a skill you can and should learn.
In a frequently-cited study by Harvard University from 1979, graduates were asked how many of them had goals and action plans written on the piece of paper.
The results show that:
- 3% had clearly defined and written goals.
- 13% defined their goals but didn’t write them down.
- 84% did not have any specific goals.
Ten years later (in 1989), the group of college students who defined and wrote down their goals proved to be ten times more successful than the remaining 97 percent. This study shows how much impact setting and writing down goals has on our future and success.
Interesting results, don’t you think?
Below you will find five golden rules to help you set your goals for the upcoming new financial year.
RULE 1. Set goals that motivate you
Motivation is the key to achieving your goals. They should be important to you and include a promise that achieving them will give you specific benefits. Set goals that relate to the important values and principles guiding your life. Achieving a goal requires commitment and time, so don’t overestimate your capacity. Without the right motivation and time, you’ll quickly burn out, feel disappointed, and frustrated. It’s the opposite effect of the one intended.
Tip: To make sure your goals are motivating enough, answer and write down why they are so important. Ask yourself, “If I had to share my goals with others, what would I say to convince them that the goals are important and worthwhile?”
RULE 2. Set goals according to the SMART method
Setting goals and achieving them is a different story. Honestly, how many times did you set goals that you’ve never achieved? Yeah, I know, me too.
Among many factors determining the achievability of the goal, its form plays a significant role. The easiest way to do it properly is to use the popular SMART method. It will allow you to define goals in the right way.
- Specific – the goal must be definite. Specific goal answers questions:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What is the purpose of this goal?
- How do you want to achieve this?
- Measurable – you have to be able to measure your goal. Remember, you can’t achieve what you can’t measure.
- Attainable – the goal must be real and possible to achieve. If you set a goal that cannot be reached, you will become less confident and disturb your self-esteem. On the other hand, forming an easy goal might be discouraging.
- Relevant – the goal must be accurate. You should feel that the goal is a challenge to you. It cannot be too easy to achieve, but it cannot be too abstract either.
- Time-Bound – the goal must be defined in time. Specify the exact date when you want to achieve the goal.
RULE 3. Write down your goals
Writing down your goals significantly increases the probability of achieving them. Goals are no longer the abstract thoughts in your mind. They are becoming real, and you can’t use the excuse that you’ve forgotten them.
Tip: Look at your list of goals with a positive approach. They are challenges, not enemies. Put your goals in visible places to keep them in mind every day. Stick them on the walls, desk, computer, smartphone, calendar. When you write, use “will” instead of “I would like to”.
RULE 4. Prepare an action plan
This step is often overlooked in the process of goal-setting. With too much focus on the results, you can lose sight of all the activities that are needed to achieve the goal. Break down your ultimate goal into stages. It’s a simple trick helping to track if you’re making progress. This is especially important when your goal is demanding and long-term.
RULE 5. Stick to the plan
The roadmap created to achieve your goal may change. It’s natural. To protect yourself against the trap of never-ending changes and procrastination, always be convinced about the importance of the values behind your goal. In other words, you have to remember why this particular goal is so essential.
Examples of well-defined goals:
- I will sign five new contracts within six months.
- I will contact 30 companies in 2022.
- By the end of the year, I will take part in 5 team management training sessions.
- I will hire five customer advisers in September this year.
- I will increase the company’s income to 5 million USD in the next 12 months.