A Simple 4-Step Process to Set More Effective Goals

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Salespeople and small business owners are tasked daily with setting goals and accomplishing them in a timely manner. Yet for some it can be difficult and challenging.

Let’s face it -- there are 101 reasons why people struggle when it comes to setting goals. Some are fearful of committing to goals, while others may hate having to hold themselves accountable. These are both valid feelings and reasons for people to have. But what if there was more to it than that?

There is a mental and psychological aspect that may surprise you when it comes to setting goals -- how we feel inside when we are unable to accomplish them. Anger, disappointment, and shame are just a few of the reactions we experience when we fall short of our goals.

When that happens, we beat ourselves up and become our own worst enemy with statements we say to ourselves like, “I told you were a lazy bum!” and “You are a failure, once again!” These are obviously negative stories we tell ourselves that play into our thoughts.

But why do we fail to achieve the goals we set for ourselves? Many times it has to do with our thought process itself and the goals our subconscious feels are more important that override our best intentions.

The key to overcoming these obstacles and accomplishing your goals is to learn what in your mind holds you back. Is there something that you’re avoiding doing that your mind screams, “This must be done first”?

Here's a four-step process you can follow to help eliminate the frustrations and challenges that hinder your way of processing and obtaining goals:

  1. Divide a sheet of paper into 2 columns. Label one “Need” and the other “Want”. Under “Need,” list all the goals you need to accomplish. Walk away for five minutes to clear your head. Then, in the “Want” column, list the goals you really want to accomplish -- both personal and professional. Is the list longer in the “Want” column longer?
  2. If the “Want” list is longer, take a moment to see if those are things that you have been putting off while taking care of other tasks for yourself or someone. If so, then create a separate list of goals and title it “Benchmarks.” Benchmarks are the things you aspire to do and can be completed in any amount of time you see fit.
  3. Assign your benchmarks different timeframes: 30 days, 90 days, six months, or one year. Breaking them up in order of priority and assigning them a timeline will help release the strain and stress of constantly carrying them around in the back of your mind. You can add, delete and review your benchmarks whenever you want to.
  4. Review your “Need” column and decide if the goals you have set out to accomplish will get you closer to your desired sales results and are productive. From there, organize them and determine what has priority and must get done and what can be delayed.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and challenged, try discussing your goals with a trusted advisor, consultant, mentor, or sales coach to help you understand your process on a deeper level and work through the challenges that are holding you back.

Listen to what they tell you, and resolve to get the pressing priorities out of your way. Leaving a long list of unaccomplished goals may leave you constantly battling to set and achieve goals for the foreseeable future, and will only create frustration.

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