It’s said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. When you think about what you dream of for your company; whether its having a million uniques to your blog or just landing that one big account, goal setting should always start with dreaming. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?
Spend some time dreaming. Write each dream down on a Post-it and stick it up on the wall. No one needs to see these except you, so prioritize honesty with yourself. Don’t be afraid to be audacious. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to get there.
Next, write out your values. Look at your dreams and see which align deeply with your core values. Where you see these two lists intersect is where your dreams gain impetus; where they become essential, valued and worth the sacrifice. Keep motivated by choosing a goal that is deeply meaningful to your business values and strategic vision.
Now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of SMART goals (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented and Timely – if you need a refresher, try here). You may need to scale back the dream to set a realistic goal. Don’t say you’ll have a million new blog followers in a month, but maybe one hundred new signups is possible. Figure out how you’re going to make yourself accountable. What is going to indicate success? Failure?
Now, you need to make that valued dream into an actionable strategy (which is not easy). What habits do you have that are barriers to your dreams? What steps move you along that road to your goal? And most importantly, what do you need to do today to move you closer? And what do you need to do tomorrow?
The challenge in manifesting our goals is figuring out the next step. Maybe it’s committing to a daily blog post. Maybe it’s spending more time on social listening on Twitter. Maybe it’s setting a monthly meeting to review content strategy. We all have habits (often quite innocuous ones) that block us from achieving our goals. So when you write out a SMART goal, write out three things you can do that will take you one step closer. Do one of them today.
When setting goals, flow from dreams, to values, to goals, to tactics. Put your heart and head together to create action from your passions, and come 2016, you’ll have achievements, as well as dreams.