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plan-goalsLet’s pretend.  You’re going to build a house.  A big house.  Your dream house.  What’s the first thing you do?  Start digging the foundations?  Order the bricks?  Paint the walls?  No, the first thing you do is work out exactly what it’s going to look like when it’s finished and you write (or draw) the plans for how to achieve that.  Can you imagine what your house would look like if you simply started building without knowing exactly what you wanted it to be like when it was finished?  If you dug the footings and poured the foundation slab without mapping out the layout first?

It amazes me the number of people who run their business without clear-cut, written down goals.  They generally start with a vague notion of what it is they want to do – the dream house – but they never plan the specifics.  Setting goals for your business is one the most important things you can ever do in order to succeed.

Goals and visions are about what you want to BE, DO and HAVE. It’s who you are, what you do, and what you have – both tangible and intangible.

“If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will get you there”

Plan to spend at least an hour, or more, on setting your goals. Take yourself away somewhere where you’ll be undisturbed and when you’re not trying to look after kids or be distracted by something else that’s going on around you.

Take a largish sheet of paper and do a huge brain dump. Write down everything you want to achieve in your life, both business-wise and personal. You should have around 50+ things written down before you stop. EVERYTHING you ever wanted to be, do or have.

Take another sheet of paper and divide it into four columns. Write the headings up the top: Either 6 month, 1 year, 3 year and Longer, or alternatively 1 year, 3 year, 8-10 year and Longer.

Now take every item you wrote on the first piece of paper and transfer it to the second under one of your headings. Every item should be classified under one of the time frames you’ve listed.

When you’ve finished that, choose the most important 3-5 items from each list. They’ll be the things that leap out at you, that you feel you MUST achieve.

Put your sheet of paper aside for a few days. Look at it occasionally and consider if those things you’re chosen are truly the most important for you. Think about why they’re important, and what they will do for you when you achieve them.

After you’ve considered your goals for a few days and are certain that the one’s you’ve chose are the most important for you, we need to write them in a way that is meaningful and motivational.

Take the paper with your final goals written on it, and a new sheet of paper. We’re going to write out a paragraph for each time frame.

Remember the previous post where we talked about the SMARTIE format? Just to remind you, SMARTIE stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Timed

Inspirational

Emotional

So if I were writing out three goals for the next year, (they’re not my real goals by the way) I could write:

“It’s December 2010 and I’m earning $80,000 a year from my business. I’m loving helping work at home mums grow their business and it’s fantastic to see how happy my clients are when they see their great results. I have well over 2,000 subscribers on my email list and they buy from me regularly. We’re flying out in January for a month’s holiday in Fiji to relax and have fun as a family. I feel happy and fulfilled, knowing that as well as the business I’m strengthening my own family’s unity.”

There are the three goals in there, the earnings, the subscribers and the family holiday. I’ve included all the components of the SMARTIE goals, the paragraph tells me how I feel, what the benefits of these goals are. Family is VERY important to me, so the last sentence is a huge emotional motivator for me.

Your goals and how you write them will be different. You may have read that paragraph and said “So what?” That’s fine. Write your own goals out so they motivate and encourage you. Note that the holiday is still in the future, after the date at the beginning, however it has it’s own time on it.

Write a paragraph for all three time periods, the 1 yr, 3yr and 10yr goals (or 6 month, 1 yr and 3 yr). Rewrite them until they motivate you and make you want to have it RIGHT NOW (you can plant a tree later to replace all the paper you’re using). You should be smiling and feel great when you read them. If you’re not, then add in more emotion and more inspiration. It’s all about ‘why’ you want this goal, what it’s going to do for you.

These goals should be incorporated into your Business Plan.  They provide the basis for what action you take in the future – “Will doing xyz help me reach my goal or not?”  If not, don’t do it.  Ensure your actions support your goals.

Next week we’re going to be looking at how to keep these goals in the front of your mind and how to use your subconscious to work on autopilot to achieve them.

A New Appointment

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve just been appointed President-Elect for the Canberra Chapter of the International Coach Federation (ICF). I’ve been a member of the ICF for about five years and have been on the Leadership Team for the Canberra Chapter as Events Leader and Membership Leader for the past year.

This appointment was a huge surprise to me, and is a real honour. I’ve got a fantastic group of people in the Leadership Team to work with, and a great President to understudy and learn from.

My learning curve at present is pretty much vertical, which is exciting, challenging and a little scary all at the same time. Good fun!