Post By: Dannie Fountain
(The Guest Blogging Series: While Natalie is recovering from surgery, her friends have offered to share with you their incredible content. Learn more about the author of this post at the end and be sure to leave some love.)
With 2018 right around the corner, what better time than now to talk about goal setting? If you’ve tried Googling goal setting and perused through the 15.7M results that pop up, you know firsthand just how overwhelming planning for a new year can be.
I totally get it. I was right there with you, stuck between this tool and that, trying to figure out what the right next thing to do was. It’s hard! From this frustration, and a few late night conversations with Reina Pomeroy, a project was born. We’ve spent the past year researching different goal setting methods and interviewing the experts that brought us many of our favorite goal setting tools. Along the way, we uncovered a lot of myths about goal setting and endeavored to set the record straight.
As you head into 2018, consider these five ways to shake up your own goal setting systems!
1. Consider what you really need.
Many entrepreneurs dive right into goal setting, building out amazing plans for their business growth and success, without stopping to consider what they need as a human being. What do they want out of life in this next year? What do they want to see, to do, to get lost in?
2. Practice setting aside the past.
A lot of us (myself included) want to do ALL THE THINGS. When those things don’t happen…we have a tendency to shut down a bit. Many people feel that “Your Past Determines Your Future” when it comes to goal setting but this simply isn’t true. While reflection is an important part of the overall goal setting process, your new goals don’t necessarily need to pick up where the old ones left off.
3. Try stretching a little.
It feels good to hit a goal, right? As such, many people gravitate towards setting goals that they know they can achieve. But there’s not a ton of growth in that! Goal researchers have documented a powerful, direct connection between the difficulty of our goals and our performance, satisfaction, enthusiasm, and happiness. Safe goals just aren’t compelling. If we want to win, we need to get beyond our natural urge to play it safe, step outside our comfort zones, and set big, difficult, challenging goals.
4. Quit seeing “falling short” as failure.
If we’re going to be brave enough to set big goals, we must also be brave enough to redefine failure. Often we think that missing the benchmark means we’ve lost. But that’s only true if we’re measuring the gap. If we measure the gain, however, we can see how far we’ve come and what we’ve already won. When measuring your goals, it’s important to look at progress – a 200% growth over last year is still AMAZING even if it wasn’t the 300% growth goal you had set. Analyzing why you missed the goal is important too. When we dig in, we often find ways of improving. But recognizing our progress is also important. And it can keep us motivated to stay on task.
5. Don’t write your goals in concrete.
Wait, what? Weird analogy, I know. But here’s the thing – so many of us believe that we can’t change our goals once we write them down. This simply isn’t true. Give yourself permission to stop and say “hey, this isn’t quite what I wanted to be and I want to try something else.” That’s really powerful and it teaches you a lot about yourself. It doesn’t take away any of the hard work that you spent trying to move to the next process. Goal setting is inherently an exploratory process. Instead of thinking about goal setting and achieving in black and white – identify some possible gray areas. Prepare to make shifts, take breaks and to re-assess along the way.
In our creative space, there are many different ways to “write down” your goals – paper planners, goal setting planners, goal setting guides, and so much more! Whether you use one of these guides or planners or do the work on your own in a regular old notebook, there are a few key pieces that you need to assign to each goal.
This deadline encourages you to focus on the goal and actually accomplish it.
Don’t just set goals to set goals. Make sure you understand the reason you’re setting them so that when you start to doubt or feel stressed, you can re-center yourself.
The best goals have more than just a few-word statement on what you want to accomplish. You’ll create time to dedicate to this plan. When you sit down, you’ll know exactly what you need to be working on.
Goal setting is a crucial element of business planning, but know this – it doesn’t matter how you choose to set goals, only that you’re taking the time to do it! The more you do it, the more you learn about yourself and you’re able to make predictions that work for how you like to work.
Dannie Lynn Fountain is a marketing strategist and whip-smart whiskey drinker. Currently working at Google, Dannie honed her skills working in marketing for brands such as Whirlpool and H&R Block. She has a combined 9 years experience as an entrepreneur and strategist. Today, she works with entrepreneurs and corporate clients alike to brainstorm, strategize, and implement strategic marketing processes to better their business and increase their sales. Beyond strategy, Dannie is the author of four books on entrepreneurship and a regular speaker on strategy worldwide. Her work has been submitted to and recognized by Cannes Lions, the Effies, and more.