4 Offbeat Ways to Set Goals

Feel like your website is a brochure lost in cyberspace? Scroll down for info re our October 20 Pay-Per-Click Marketing Seminar. In the meantime, here are a few goal-setting ideas to chew on….

4 Offbeat Ways to Set Goals

In life and business, it can be challenging to figure out your next move. Popular goal-setting programs urge us to set goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Great. But…your first question should really be…

What am I aiming for ?

The most important thing – but often the hardest – is knowing what you want in the first place. Many people would rather just stay busy. But without a clear vision of where you’re headed, it’s tough to set the clear goals that will actually propel you and your business forward. Vision boards and brainstorming sessions are a great start. But here are 4 useful ideas that take no effort at all.

1. Start with what you DON’T want.

When I’m really stuck in figuring out what I truly want in life or business, I divide a piece of paper in half. At the top of the left side, I write “Don’t Want”. At the top of the right side, I write “Want Instead”. Mind-numbingly simple – but it works.

This year, my list looked something like this:

Don’t want: Stuff I don’t care about. Stairs. A basement that keeps filling up with junk.
Want instead: A place that other people take care of, so I can focus on what I’m best at – people and ideas.

Long story short, we’ve downsized and moved into a condo. I don’t have a basement where stuff I don’t need can collect. I don’t have stairs. I do have more time and energy. I’m happy as a clam. When I get clear about what I DON’T want – I get clear about what I DO want.

So here’s the question: what don’t you like about what’s currently happening in your business or life? What do you want instead of that?

And don’t discount it either. Too often we start to imagine what we want different – then talk ourselves out of it. “We couldn’t possibly implement that idea”; “We can’t let him go, what if he sues us?”; “I’d love to go to the islands, but we’ll never be able to afford that…” “I couldn’t possibly do that at this age…” Stop judging your ideas and just write them down. But be careful what you write…because once recorded, your ideas are going to start happening.

2. Figure out your questions – before you go looking for answers.

What questions are floating around in your head right now? You know… the things you wonder about while you’re in the shower, driving your car, drifting off at a lecture? Everything from…
“Which target market would be best to pursue?”
“Which supplier should I choose?”
“What should my tagline be?”
“What colours should I paint my house?
“Which of these three guys should I date?”
“What should I do with my life?”

Too often we ignore or discount our questions. But listening and honouring them provides the key that can unlock the door to our next move.

In her excellent book “Write It Down, Make it Happen” Henriette Klauser has a cool idea. She cuts a piece of paper into strips, writes one question on each strip, puts the whole lot in an envelope, and sticks it in a drawer. Don’t knock it – it works. I’ve done it myself. One time I totally forgot about the envelope until a couple years later. And lo and behold – through events and people in my life, every single one of my questions had been answered.

So, what questions are currently on YOUR mind about your life, career or business? Write them down, and before you know it, your next move will start coming into focus.

3. Look backward before you look forward.

In this age where everything moves so quickly, this tip goes against the grain
. “If it’s not making me money, it’s a waste of time…”; “We should be pursuing the next big thing…”; “While we’re thinking, the competition will get ahead…” etc. etc.

But neglecting this step can lead to confusion and inefficiency.
We re-invent the wheel because we forget what we’ve already done. We overlook what we’ve accomplished, and feel like we’ve done nothing – when in fact we’ve actually made great progress.

One easy way to take stock is to is to start with a simple 3-column chart. I get my clients to do this exercise every 90 days. On the left, record areas that are important in your life and business, like big dreams, leadership, finances, etc. Beside each area, record the successes and progress you’ve had in that area. Once you’ve noted your progress, your next steps practically leap onto the page. “Okay, I’ve got this done – great! Now I need to do that…”. These next steps become your goals. It’s a painless way to get clear on your priorities for the next phase.

4. Get some fellow-travelers.

Hey, it’s just way more fun. Every year, I form a little mastermind group of whatever favourite helpful people there are in my life at the time, and we meet regularly to clarify our goals and hold each other accountable. Because one of the hardest things about goal-setting is keeping it fun and staying accountable. Let’s face it – we can have the best of intentions to do something new, but life intervenes, priorities change, and we drift off track. Our companions can help us stay motivated and focused.

So – who in your life would you like to stay accountable with? Set up a meeting and form your own group of fellow travelers who can help you “goal for the gusto”.

Speaking of fellow travelers…watch for details of our upcoming Anticipate 2012! 1-day Goal-Setting Workshop on December 2.

Upcoming Events:

October 20: Pay-Per-Click Marketing
8-10 a.m., Your Kitchener Market.
If your online business feels like a brochure lost in cyberspace, consider using low-cost pay-per-click marketing to boost visibility and sales.
Click here for details and registration.

December 2: ANTICIPATE 2012!
8:30 – 4 p.m. Location TBA.
This 1-Day workshop will help you organize your vision into a comprehensive growth plan for life and business in 2012. Plus it’s a great opportunity to network with lots of other interesting and motivated fellow travelers.
Click here for details and registration.

For helpful daily business growth links and tips, follow us on Twitter: @lois_ready2grow

Yours in growth & learning,


Lois Raats MEd CCC BCC
Ready2Grow Associates
t: 519.883.8838 | lois@ready2grow.com | www.ready2grow.com

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