5 Ways to Set Realistic Goals in 2018

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Defining Your Business Goals

As we begin the new year, it can easy to get bogged down by the endless goal setting rabbit hole and find ourselves picking a goal just to be able to write something down. However, when you make a goal for your business without actual thought and planning, the likelihood of achieving that goal drastically decreases and your motivation to see it through will only last you to February, at best.

Setting goals for your business is something that should be done with intention. If you’re not sure where to start or if the goal is right for you, ask yourself these five questions to bring more clarity and purpose, so you can knock those goals out of the park.

What can your past teach you?

Looking at your past experiences and goals has the ability to show you what works, what doesn’t and what you can change to succeed in the future. Sit down and reflect on your past year, or two, and write down your successes and failures. Being able to adequately and clearly define what your strengths and weaknesses are will help set you up for success when creating a new business goal.    

How does it align with your company’s mission?

When your company’s mission or ‘why’ is clearly defined, you’re able to establish a hard-and-fast rule on whether or not that goal is a good fit. For example, if you sell food products with a mission is to distribute to underserved and low-income communities, having a business goal of selling products to Whole Foods might not align well with your mission. Also, having a clear understanding of your ‘why’ will help keep you focused after your goals are set and you may find yourself lacking motivation or clarity. Being able to go back to your mission is a great way to gain momentum to reach your business goals.

Is it realistic?

When you’re thinking about your business goals for the next year or however long you want your goal length to be, the initial reaction is to shoot for the stars. There’s a fine line between having a stretch goal and picking something that is not feasible. Realistic business goals (even one that stretches out of your comfort zone) is great for motivation and growth. However, if you’re concerned that it’s too much of a stretch, look back at the last few years and make sure you’re on track with what you’ve been able to accomplish. That being said, we would encourage you to create a goal that might seem unrealistic at first because it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

What are the specific milestones to reach this goal?

Writing out your business goal is great, but to actually achieve it, you need to set small, actionable goals. Breaking the big one into smaller, bite-sized pieces will help stave off overwhelm, anxiety and unneeded stress. Having smaller goals will also help you stay motivated – when you’re able to see the finish line it’s a lot easier to keep going. If you only write down that one goal without a clear understanding of how to get there, you’re more likely to derail from the plan and focus on something else when you lose steam or don’t see results.

What will be the next goal once this is achieved?

The wonderful thing about goals is that once they’re achieved, there’s always another one waiting to be reached. Being able to look ahead and decide what your next step will be is a great tool for business growth. As a business owner, you’re never done. There is always more to do and having a clear understanding of where you’re going will help keep you focused.