Key to success

smart goals do it right now

Smart Goals: How to turn goal setting into goal DOING

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Tired of setting goals only to watch them roll by — undone — week after week? A goal that doesn’t get done isn’t really a goal, it’s just a wish. Success doesn’t happen by wishes. Success is defined by goals that get done — Smart Goals. Why am I an expert at setting Smart Goals? Because I’m a professional procrastinator at heart. It got so bad I was basically self-abusing, using my goals as the ammo. As a solopreneur, I had to overcome that habit. I did it with Smart Goals.

You may not be abusing yourself with your goal setting process. But if you’re feeling defeated or anxious about your growing list of undone to-do’s, this article is for you!

What are Smart Goals?

Smart Goals are goals that get done because they’re backed up by a smart strategy. There is a quote I remember from my childhood. It came from a notepad, it said: “Do it…right…now.” Worded this way it had obvious multiple meanings. I’ll break it down to make setting Smart Goals fast and easy for you.

1) Do it.

Most importantly, Make up your mind. Don’t set a goal you know you’re not going to do. In fact, don’t set a goal unless you have made up your mind to do it. If you haven’t made up your mind, don’t set the goal. You’ll just end up beating yourself up for not doing it. Let it stay a wish.

Schedule the goal. Give it a date and a time.

  • Set a time you know you’ll be in the mood to do it. You know yourself. If you’re frumpy in the mornings and jazzed up in the afternoons, set important goals for the afternoon.
  • Schedule a time when the smart goals themselves will have a good chance of getting done. For instance, if your goal is to eat breakfast, don’t schedule it for dinner time.

2) Do it right.

The number one most important lesson I learned in college came from a quote by Vince Lombardi: “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” You see, I studied music in college. Before that I was mostly self-taught, by ear. In college I had to learn by sheet music. I struggled. Not only to read the music but to learn it right. I would figure a piece out by ear before I could actually play it.

Impatient as I was, I would play the piece too fast, and I would play it wrong. Again, and again, and again. It took me forever to learn a piece right — because I was practicing it wrong.

As soon as I started practicing perfectly (i.e. a step at a time), I started learning some of the most difficult pieces ever written — IN NO TIME. I mean it. In literally 2 or 3 weeks I would be playing pieces I thought were impossible. It floored me. Astounded. Astonished.

The moral of the story?

Set DOABLE goals. If you can’t do your goal, break it down into smaller goals. If a goal is too big it’s more likely to be put off. Break goals down into baby steps, bite-sized chunks. If you can do the goal, great! Do it. But if you can only take a step, today — take it.

3) Do it right now.

Here’s how I overcame procrastinating and putting off goals day after day after day: I did them first. If a goal is really, truly a priority:

Do it first.

As a business owner it’s way too easy to get caught up being bizzy. ‘Bizziness’ jumps right on top of us and before we know it the day is over and goal setting suddenly becomes goal-wishing again. You want to know a little secret about bizzy work? It always manages to get done. The little bit of time you take to check off your important to-do’s will not put a crick in your busy work. Do a major goal a day, and do it first.

Since you can’t do ALL your goals “right now”, prioritize them. Keep an organized list. Hit the top of the list each day and do the most important goal first.

One last thing…

Smart Goals should feel good when accomplished. Goals will always be replaced by new goals, so remember to congratulate yourself on a job done and done well. I keep a list of all my accomplishments so I can see, YES, I am accomplishing things. It feels good — especially during times when I feel down — to know I’ve been productive, and to see how far I’ve come.

Do you have some secrets for how to set goals and accomplish them? Share in the comments below.

Ask about our Business Strategy Consulting services and how we can help you set Smart Goals and a solid plan of action for your business.

Photo credits: Cam Adams

key to success: never give up never surrender

The Most Important Key to Success

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If you’re starting a business you’re probably searching for the the key to success. You have this bright shiny vision, you’re excited about making your dreams come true, and you’re looking for some magical secret to success that will get you from here to there with lightning speed. Sound familiar at all?

I’ve been working for myself for about a decade now and there is just one key to success that I’ve found. Okay, I’ve found many important success factors, and the point of this Category of posts is to share what I’ve learned. There is one key to success that rules them all, so it seemed fitting to share it first. Without further ado, it is:

“Never give up… Never surrender!”

This quote is from one of my all-time favorite movies, Galaxy Quest. It is Commander Taggart’s catchphrase, tagged (pun intended) onto every motivational speech he gives the crew. Now, you might be rolling your eyes that this is some motivational, pump-you-up cliché. Well, it’s not. That is not my style. It’s more like a

Hold on to your bum, Bright Eyes, and brace for the roller-coaster ride of your life!

…kinda speech. You see, starting, owning and running a business is exactly what you think it is. And more. It’s the MORE part that catches people by surprise, and stops many dead in their tracks. It’s the MORE part we never see coming. We don’t know how to deal with it and so many people give up on their dream. “Never give up” is not a cliché, it is the most important message you’ll need to hear throughout your career.

Why is it the most important key to success?

Because for 99.99% of people, starting a business is not going to go the way you imagine. Situations arise. Obstacles show up. Unforeseen hurdles pop out of nowhere to trip us up. People don’t act how we want. New clients don’t show up out of oblivion waving cash in our face. We may face times where we don’t think we can handle any more. In fact, the obstacles may even overwhelm us. Motivation may fail. Our dreams may not seem worth it anymore.

So, despite all the other success factors out there, this is why this key to success is the most important. Whatever struggles we face, “Never give up! Never surrender!” is the message that will kindle and inspire us. It will keep us going. My hope in building the Web Ninja Community is that we will be a group of intrepid spirits who can encourage each other through difficult times.

How do you define “failure”?

Thomas Edison said about inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” On the same subject, he said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

You see, Edison had a vision. A dream. It was bigger than just a light bulb. It was about lighting the world — literally. You have a dream. Your purpose in life and business is to light the world with your dream, your vision. You’ve got to give it all you’ve got. That means:

  • Learn what you need to learn
  • Adapt to new circumstances
  • Let go of the small stuff
  • Keep taking steps…

…and many more success factors. And we’re going to talk about those soon. For now, whatever stage you are at with your business, remember this all-important key to success.

I define failure as “giving up”. Your business idea might fail. Your whole business might go under. But it’s never failure until you’ve given up on your dream. Because until you do that — until you give up on your dream — you still have a chance. Once you give up, all your chances for success are gone. You see, it’s going for your dreams and giving it all you’ve got that I define as success. Even if you died never fully realizing your dream you are still a success! Because you gave it all you had.

Going for your dreams takes courage, heart. It takes faith in yourself and your purpose in life. And what is the point of being human, really, if we don’t take the giant leaps our heart desires. So, here is to your success. Here is to every lesson you learn. Here is to hanging in there when the odds are against you or when you feel like giving up.

More coming soon. And if you haven’t seen Galaxy Quest — do. It’s awesome 🙂

Here’s to your success!