In fact, my husband (or my team) might even tell you I’m a little bit obsessed with them.
And so, the other day, as I often do, I got to thinking about goals. But, surprisingly, instead of thinking about the goals I have achieved, I started thinking about the goals I haven’t achieved.
And believe me — there are lots of them.
Now, a lot of people think that not hitting every goal we set for ourselves means we’ve failed. But I don’t subscribe to that train of thought.
The way I see it, it’s important that we always go as hard as we can in working towards our goals. But it’s not about blindly pushing forward to achieve our goals at any cost. We have to consistently evaluate and reevaluate our goals to make sure they’re still in line with where we want to go.
Because there will be goals we set for ourselves that, as we push towards the goal, turn out not to be the right fit.
And that’s okay! We’re in a constant state of change — as humans, as bloggers, as business owners. And it’s okay if our priorities shift and a goal we were working towards just doesn’t make sense for us anymore. It’s okay to let those goals go. It’s not sign of failure!
Now, don’t get me wrong — there’s a difference between letting go of a goal because it’s no longer in alignment with what we want and letting go of a goal because it’s too hard. I’m not advocating giving up when things get tough. What I’m saying is, we don’t need to be unconditionally dedicated to every single goal we set for ourselves. As long as we’re headed in the direction we want to go — and working towards the big goal — it’s okay to adjust the course along the way.
Think about it like this: say you’re on a flight from Seattle to New York. Your pilot sets the course and has a game plan for how to get you and the rest of the passengers from west to east. But as they’re flying, it’s impossible to stay on course 100% of the time. They’re constantly making micro-adjustments to get the plane back on track. So the pilot gets you from Seattle to New York, but it’s only because they were flexible and adjusting the course accordingly along the way.
It’s the same thing with goals. We all have our big goal — let’s call that our destination. In order to reach our destination, we set smaller goals along the way. And throughout the journey, just like the pilot, we make adjustments and tweaks to those smaller goals to make sure we stay on course and ultimately end up at our destination. Sometimes those adjustments and tweaks will be minor and our course will look pretty much as we’d imagined. Other times, those adjustments and tweaks will take us completely off course on a journey we never even considered. But as long as we end up at our destination, it’s all good!
Today, let’s take a deep dive into goals: how to set them, how to keep them, and how to adjust them to make sure we stay on the right path.
Why We Need Goals
Just like the plane flying from Seattle to New York, we need a destination. If we don’t know which direction to go, we’ll get lost. And that’s what goals provide — they give us a direction so we can gauge if the steps we’re taking on a daily basis are moving us towards our destination.
Without goals, we end up going in circles, doing things on our blogs and in our business without any idea of where they’re taking us and whether it’s a place we want to go. With goals, we’re constantly moving forward. Even if the goal ends up not being the right fit, there are lessons we can learn that will help us on the path to where we want to go.
Bottom line: think of goals as the compasses of our businesses. Without them, we have no idea in which direction we’re going, and it’s really easy to get lost.
Goal Setting for Bloggers
“Never give up” is a great attitude to have towards goals, but it’s not exactly specific. So let’s take a look at exactly how to set the right goals for our businesses.
Start With the Big Goals
I like to start with the big goals and then work my way back. Every year, my team and I sit down and hash out our big goals for the year. Where do we want to be 12 months from now? What do we want to accomplish?
Break the Big Goals Down Into Smaller Goals
Then it’s time to break the big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals. We look at our yearly goals and break them down by quarter. What do we need to accomplish each quarter to make sure we’re on track to hit our big goals? Then we create a quarterly plan so we know what to work on and when.
Reevaluate Along the Way
As we work towards the big goals, we consistently look at what we’re doing and where we’re headed, and ask ourselves, “Is this still the right path for us? Are we still on course to our final destination?”
Sometimes the answer is yes. But sometimes the answer is no, and we need to make adjustments to get back on course. Sometimes the answer is no, and we need to pick an entirely new destination.
And all of that is a-okay. Even when we pick the wrong path, there’s always learning opportunities hidden in the obstacles.
Don’t call the wrong path a failure. Call it a lesson. And then get right back up and find the right path — the path that will take you towards your ultimate goal.
How to Keep Goals
People often wonder if there’s a secret to successfully keeping goals. I believe there is.
The secret to keeping our goals is to work at them every. Single. Day. No ifs, ands, or buts.
If we want to keep our goals, we need to make them a priority. Life is a busy place. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the little things that fight for our attention — our jobs, our families, social media, email, the million and one things we need to do to keep our businesses running — and then all of a sudden we realize the day is gone and we haven’t done a single thing to work towards our goals.
That’s why I find working towards my big goals first thing in the morning (before anything else has the chance to get in the way) is super helpful. Making goals a priority and putting them before everything else will help to make sure we’re taking steps towards where we want to go every single day — no exceptions.
If we want to hit our goals, we need to be diligent about working on them. We need to block out the time to work on what’s most important (and work on it before something else grabs our time and attention). If we make this a non-negotiable — to work towards our goals every single morning, no questions asked — we will keep them.
We Won’t Hit Every Goal — And That’s Okay
Now, I touched on this before, but it’s so important I want to repeat it — we won’t hit every goal we set for ourselves. I know I sure don’t! And that’s totally okay.
I know it can be discouraging when we set goals and “fail” to achieve them. But in those moments, we don’t need to beat ourselves up. We need to brush ourselves off and keep going! The key to success — in blogging and in life — is what Chet Holmes calls “stubborn pigheaded discipline and determination.” It’s about getting up no matter how many times we fall down and pushing forward no matter how many obstacles get in our way.
History is full of examples of people who never gave up — and achieved greatness as a result. Thomas Edison failed 9,999 times before perfecting his prize invention: the light bulb. Michael Jordan missed over 9,000 shots from the goal — which is more shots than most NBA players even take over the course of their career. The Wright Brothers crashed and burned two gliders before achieving flight.
The reason these people (and other people like them) succeeded is that they knew “failing” to hit their goal wasn’t a failure at all. It was just an opportunity to try again.
Having goals gives us the direction we need to move forward in our business — to move towards where we want to go. Without them, we’re lost.
What goals are you working on in your business? How do you keep moving towards your goals when things get hard? What are some tricks you use to help keep yourself on track and moving in the right direction? Leave your answers in the comments below!