In the world of business and personal productivity, there’s one word that you’ll hear repeatedly – goals. It’s important to set goals because that’s your guideline for success. It’s your line in the sand. You can say, “When I achieve ____ I’ll be successful.” Goals are a necessary element of both short-term and long-term success. They help propel you forward, they can chunk down huge goals into smaller ones, etc.

However, it’s completely possible to have too many goals. You can have dozens of personal goals. You may want to drink more water, exercise more, meditate more, and get out with friends, save money and so on. These goals tend to naturally fall to the wayside and you find balance because you focus your attention on the goals that are priorities for you.

Business goals, on the other hand, have a tendency to stick around. If you sat down right now and made a list of all of your business goals, chances are you’d have a list of dozens of goals. For example, you may have daily productivity goals, monthly traffic and sales goals, and quarterly or annual growth goals. All of these goals can cause serious problems not only for your personal mindset and happiness but also for your business success.

When you have too many goals, you lose focus on the goals that matter. Instead of being able to put 100% effort into priority goals, each goal gets 10% of your attention. It shouldn’t’ be surprising then when you struggle to achieve your goals, right?

But you can’t let go of all of your goals and choose just one. A successful business is a series of strategic goals and action based on those goals. So how do you find balance?

1. Evaluate Progress and Results

Take a look at your goals and evaluate them based on which goals are actually working for you. There may be some goals that you’re working on that have very little return on investment. Consider setting those goals aside. You don’t have to let them go completely. However, you can put them aside and save them for a time when you can make them a priority.

2. Evaluate Based on Potential

Which goals have the potential to generate the biggest results for your business? For example, a goal of growing your email list may be more powerful than the goal to increase your search engine page ranking. Generally, qualified prospects are worth more attention than trying to find new prospects to market to. Set aside the goals that may not have the most potential right now. Remember, you can come back to them later.

3. Evaluate Based on Time and Resources

Do you really have the time, energy, and resources for a particular goal? Take a look at your existing business goals and determine the amount of time, money, and resources you need to achieve it. Is it a realistic goal to have right now? If not, set it aside.

By weeding out some goals, you’re able to make the most productive goals a priority. You can then devote your complete attention to achieving that goal. Most goal-setting experts recommend focusing on one goal at a time. You create a pattern of success by systematically achieving your goals. In business this isn’t always possible. But you can devote your attention to the goals that matter right now.

Now that you have your goals pared down, those that are either a priority, that have a good ROI, those that have potential to generate results, those that you can achieve based on time and resources – maybe you can prioritize based on those that you want to accomplish by the end of this year and the others are moved to the first quarter of next year – it’s time to write down your WHY.

This does a couple of things. First, thinking about why you want to reach that goal puts you in touch with your feeling around that goal, which ‘concretizes’ it. Yes, it’s a word I heard somewhere 🙂 Basically, it’s anchoring the feeling with the goal which may make the difference of achieving it or not.

Second, as Craig Harper explains in his article, Goal Setting – The WHY behind the WHAT, “sometimes when we explore our “why” (why we want to achieve a certain thing), we realise that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.”

For example, the business owner whose goal it is to make six figures in the belief that making that money will bring them happiness in their business. In this instance, their “what” is more money and their “why” is happiness. A year later they are making six figures (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re no happier. Maybe in trying to make all that money, it’s put a strain on your relationship. Or maybe your expenses went up in addition to the income, leaving little profit. I’m sort of going off on a tangent on this one – all I am saying is that it’s important to really get clear about they why.

I know that having more money affords me to do the things that I want, support the causes I care about, and so much more. But if my “why” was to buy more stuff, then it may not deliver the feeling I was seeking.

In Harper’s article, he says, “Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love. Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding. Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness. The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.”

This is so true! In this age of reality TV, curated social media, and keeping up with the Jones’ mentality, focusing on REAL success is definitely a goal we can attain.

What are your goals and what is your big why? WHY do you have that goal? Leave a comment below and tell me!

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