goal setting how to set goalsBefore we talk specifically about goal setting , let’s indulge in some general background first. It has been said that there are only three ways to make REAL money.

Firstly, steal it. This is really not recommended, if you get caught, you go to jail. Have you seen the inside of a jail and some of the inhabitants? Not worth the risk!

Secondly, win it. Errr, the odds of winning the fast declining Lotto, is a whopping fourteen million to one, so that’s that one out of the window. Just for the record the chances of winning EuroMillions is about 35 million to one. Yes, I know the occasional £80-100 million jackpot is tempting but….

Start Your Own Business

That leaves number three – start your own business. It is the only way to make real money. You will never be rich working for someone else – fact. As long as you trade your time for money, you will only ever be a wage slave. The only way to make real money is to leverage time in your favour and that means your own business, ideally incorporating some sort of residual income (ie: money every time your product is sold).

Assuming you’ve already made the “quality” decision that you are indeed going to run our own business, I think you’ve probably already sussed that, but I felt it important just to make sure. So, what else do we need to know?

Moving on, the second hugely important lesson is know what your strategy is. It’s the age old saying, “if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?” O.K, I know it’s a bit trite, but it does illustrate the point (more later).

Do You Really Know What You Want?

Most people know they want more, but don’t know exactly what they want, so just by quantifying that and having a plan puts you ahead of 95% of potential small businesses. I had a friend who was heavily into his horse racing. He was working selling pensions in the City. Up at 5am every morning and out drinking with “clients” most nights he was killing himself earning £100,000. He knew he wanted more and he knew that if he didn’t do something quickly, he was in trouble.

It has to be said that the “more” doesn’t necessarily have to mean more money. In his case, initially, it was more time to be with his family and the release of the huge pressure he was under in the pensions industry. So, one Monday morning, he got on his usual 5.45am train and got off at Euston. As he went to go through the barrier for the Tube, he turned around and went back home. He’d has a flash of inspiration.

Having just been paid, he resigned and became a taxi driver in hiw local town. It took him 6 weeks to do his “knowledge” and then he was off earning again. This gained him the time he wanted to be with his family and also needed to put together a business.

We partnered on a successful online horse tipping service. I provided the technical and online “know-how” and he provided the tips and it provided us both with a busines that we used to love. He could only do that because he had a plan and he followed through on it.

You Must Take Action

And here is a vital point. You may have the best plan in the world, the best product, the best marketing and the best web site, BUT, unless YOU take ACTION it all comes to NOTHING!

Now, from that you’ve probably guessed what’s coming next! Yep, goal setting. Every book I’ve ever read on self-improvement expounds the virtues of goal setting, and everyone that demonstrates a positive attitude to life knows they should do it, but do they? Do they, hell! It is still a very sad fact of our supposedly enlightened lives that only 3% of the population has written goals.

And, here’s a real shocker, that 3% just happens to coincide with the most successful 3% of people – funny that. It’s one of those things isn’t it? Everybody knows about it, everybody should do it, they know they should, but very few people actually do.

It’s the old “can’t be bothered syndrome”, “takes took long”, “never works” etc, etc. EXCUSES! Take a leaf out of Nike’s book and “Just Do It”. Get it out of the way, then it’s done, but please, please, please make sure you have written down goals. It just takes a little discipline (more about that in part 4!) Perhaps people don’t write them because they know that having goals puts them “on the line” and that there is now a price to pay to achieve them, or perhaps it’s fear of change…..however…

…If you don’t set goals, you WILL fail – I guarantee it. If you don’t set goals, you won’t know where you’re going and if you don’t know where you’re going, how the hell will you know when you get there? (which you won’t anyway). It’s the Alice in Wonderland thing isn’t it? (Lewis Carroll was more insightful than we perhaps give him credit for).

“Which road shall I take today?” asks Alice.

“Where would you like to go?” asks the Mad Hatter.

“I don’t much care”, comes the reply.

“In that case it does not matter!”

Make It Fun

The first point I would like to make on goal setting is that it only takes a matter of a few minutes to do. I also find it fun to sit down and think about what might be in my life to come, so make it fun and you’ll find it much easier to do.

It is also a truism that people who are striving towards written goals are much more balanced and happy in their lives. If you think about it, with a purpose driving you forward, you’re bound to be happier. Well, it’s obvious to me! It’s even been proven that people who have written goals and then forgotten about them, on finding them, sometimes months later, have found that items on the list have been achieved. Now if that is not an example of the power of goal setting I don’t know what is.

So, did you achieve what you wanted over the last 12 months? Ouch, that’s a tough question isn’t it? Well, did you? My bet is no you didn’t. Let’s ask another question shall we? Did you set out to achieve ANYTHING in the last 12 months? Eek, double ouch. O.K, I know they’re tough questions, but I’m sure you get the point. High performance people, the winners in life SET GOALS, plain and simple, they do it, because they know it will ensure they achieve what they want.

Now, I’m going to ask you to do something, and you know what it is. This is your call to action.

It’s time to sit down and write your goals down. So, get yourself a piece of A4 paper and a pen. Now, at this point I know it’s so awfully easy to just sit there and keep on reading (and yes I’ve done that many times too), but you do need to do this. So go on, off you go and get the pen and paper.

There, wasn’t too difficult was it?

The way I did this was to set myself ten goals. Five of my goals were long term, five short-term. The first goal was something that (at the time) I didn’t think I could possibly complete in my lifetime, but the idea was to make me think about exactly what I wanted from my life long-term. For example, I want every person in the whole world to have purchased a product from APD Marketing.

The second goal was the exact amount of money I wanted from my life, for example one day I will have a net worth of £10 million, bear in mind a goal like this comes with a massive price tag. It might be better to set I want to develop an online residual income of £1,000 / week.

These goals being so long-term in nature help you overcome any short-term setbacks.

The other eight goals should range in “term” from the long and medium-term “life” type goals to the very short term referring to, for example, what you need to do in your business tomorrow or in the garden at the weekend.

Having done that, then look at your financial goal and add one thing that you can do RIGHT NOW to help that goal along. This has an amazing empowering effect in that you do something towards your goal achievement immediately and that gives the psyche a massive boost and helps you go on to achieve your other goals.

Here are just a few points to bear in mind when setting goals:-

Take Action Once You Have Set Your Goals

To make them happen does require ACTION.

Don’t worry about what tense they’re in, it’s just important to get them written down.

If you can, write them down on credit card sized cards and keep them in one of those little credit card wallets. I’ve found I refer to them much more regularly when I carry them around.

On the big life goal, try your best to uncover the underlying NEED, this will tell you a lot about your reasons why! You may need to think about this, but…engaging the grey matter in such an exercise is not only good for the brain, but also hugely beneficial for you. Once you have found the NEED or the reason why, you will have all the motivation you need.

Your goals should also be…

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Relevant (to what you want)
  • T – Timed (set against a specific timescale)

Now, that brings us nicely to the end of this part. I know that was only a quick “potted” version of goal setting. If you’re serious, do get Stuarts stuff on goal setting, in my opinion he’s the best, but there are lots of good books available.

So, here we are at the end of part three, in part four, we’re going to look at the reasons why you want to run a business and what character traits you need to help succeed once you’ve written down and accepted your goals, until then, good luck.

I’ll do a lot more on goal setting and how to set effective goals very soon – this is really just a quick introduction.

Some of the resources I have used on goal setting…

I Can Make You Rich – Paul McKenna

4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris

Quantum Learning – Bobbi DePorter and Mick Hernacki (if you find this book, let me know, I lent my copy and never got it back! I can’t find it anywhere now)!

Update 2013 – I found it and even did a couple of posts on some of the subject matter…you can find them here and here.