9 Tips to Set Actionable Goals
Every one of us has goals, but how often do we reach them? Are we just wishing they would knock on our front door? Achieving your actionable goals might be harder than you think, depending on how big or small they are, but if you take the time to sit down and think about your goals and what steps you can take to attain them, then you are one step closer to that actionable goal!
Tip #1 — Set definable, concrete, and clear goals. Set goals that are clear and definite, don’t be vague. Be specific. We need ask and think about each and every one of the following to help us define our goals:
- What: this should identify the “meat” of your goal. What you want to accomplish?
- Where: location, if applicable (like getting a job in your local area or moving to a new area).
- How: you may have a preference as to “how” events will unfold (this may not always be within your control, but a having a general expectation is good).
- Whom: if your goals involve others, you’ll want to highlight your expectations.
- When: a general timeline for the fulfillment of your goals.
- Why: your reasons for wanting to achieve your goals.
Tip #2 — Use leverage to help define your actionable goal. We have the power of our mindset to leverage a set of positive and negative emotions or outcomes. “You can focus on the wonderful things you’ll experience if you complete your goal (i.e. happiness, personal freedom, finding the love of your life). Or you can focus on the awful things that might happen if you don’t (i.e. loneliness, a heart attack, or the death of a loved one).” The main question is, “What massive reason can you find to make your goal a must?” Whatever the emotion is behind it, use it to set you on your path to attain it.
Tip #3 — Break down your goal into smaller parts. You have an actionable goal and have defined it. Now it’s time to break that goal into smaller chunks. These are the baby steps that are going to help you get to your big goal. Take time to write out what these look like for you personally. Whether it’s 5 steps or 15, write them down.
Tip #4 — Put steps on a calendar. Take out your calendar/planner and start writing down what you want to achieve by the end of a month. Be bold, but also be realistic. For example, if you’re moving, traveling, or have family coming into town in June, then make sure your goal for that month takes the amount of time you’ll have into account. Don’t overload yourself or set yourself up for added stress.
Tip #5 — Keep deadlines realistic. When we set out on a goal, we usually have very high expectations of what we are going to have completed by a certain time. However, it’s easy to over-commit when our excitement around starting something new is high. There is nothing wrong at all with setting goals that require you to push yourself. The problems can arise when you set the goal too high for where you are currently at. That’s not an invitation to set them too low, you’ll get bored and not be motivated. Just remember, your goals should be out of reach, but not out of sight. Focus on your action instead of the result and don’t become emotionally attached to your timeline. Things will happen beyond your control and all you’ll need to do is remember your action towards your goal for that time.
Tip #6 — Become accountable to your actionable goals. Find an accountability partner to help you with your goals, whether they are big or small. Give him/her a list of your goals, your baby steps towards that goal, and your calendar with your monthly (or weekly) goals attached so he can also keep track with you.
Tip #7 — Take Action. You have defined your goals, written out your plan of action, placed them on a calendar, and have an accountability partner. But your goals are going to sit on the paper or on your computer until you take some sort of step. So, it’s time to be bold and start taking action. What does this look like? Is it researching? Networking? Starting a new hobby or class? Printing business cards? Whatever it is, make it a reality.
Tip #8 — Routinely review your progress. Try to pick a day and time to review your progress. Reviewing your progress helps you see your goals become reality, each small step at a time. Look over your weekly goals at the start and end of each week and then your monthly goals at the end of the month. Be proud of yourself when you conquer a baby step and are ready to move upwards on your goal ladder! By reviewing your progress weekly, you keep your dreams and ideas alive instead of being passive on paper.
Tip #9 — Reward yourself. Celebrate every victory when you’ve accomplished a step! Take time to bask in what you have done and made reality. Go out and have a bite to eat or have some fun. Make time to celebrate once a month and plan the event according to how big or small your accomplishment is. Finished a baby step? Go and get some ice cream. Accomplished a goal? Have a party and be sure to invite your accountability partner! After your celebration time, start working towards another goal and celebrate all the baby steps with that one too.
By putting these tips into practice, actionable goals will be within reach and your dreams will come alive! You’ll be more organized, productive and motivated too. So start thinking, planning, doing and creating those actionable goals!
For more goal setting ideas or help with a business struggle, contact me today. Helping small business owners succeed is what I do!