When many people set goals it’s a wish list. In order to accomplish them, you need to measure many more indicators besides the results. Results may come slow, and, in fact, when you start accomplishing your goals results may be negative. Your time and resources become stretched because you are devoting more resources to your goals and the rest of your life may suffer.
In the beginning of an endeavor, we are excited for all of the possibilities of our goals coming true. We imagine buying clothes that are two sizes below where we are now. We imagine making money, opening up a bank account and seeing dollar amount. We imagine opening up a company and not dealing with bosses or coworkers. However, the journey is bumpy and it’s filled with ups, downs, and twists. We must have other factors that we can measure rather than results. If we measure success by arbitrary dates, times or events, then we might not work on our goals as efficiently as we should.
Achieving your goals or achieving results might take weeks, years, or even decades. It takes at least a couple of weeks to lose a couple of pounds or having your clothes fit better or even having to buy new clothes. An entrepreneur might have a goal of building a company and selling it for seven figures. The ultimate goal may happen years or even decades down the road. The more measuring sticks that you have for your goals, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. Measuring sticks make your goals more tangible and more attainable.
It all starts out with a crystal-clear vision and a clear need or desire. Without clarity your goals will have less meaning. So often a goal is just a list of suggestions such as I would like to start my own company, I would like to lose a couple of pounds, wouldn’t it be nice to have more money or any desire.
There are several types of measuring sticks that are needed to achieve your goals. First, are milestones. After you clarify your goal, break your goal into clear milestones. A milestone is a chunk of the goal. For example, if your goal is to lose ten pounds, the first milestone to lose the first two pounds. If you want to have a five-million-dollar company, the first goal might be to make $100K this year. If you have a five-week goal, every week can be a milestone. It’s important not to have too many milestones because results may come slow. If you’re losing weight, you should not jump on the scale five times a day or even every week.
The second type of measuring stick is process oriented. Every goal has a process filled with routines, habits, actions, and behavior. Because results come slow, it’s important to measure your progress, not by your results, but rather by the actions that you take. If you are losing weight, focus on the exercise routine and your diet. When you are on a diet, there’s so much that you can measure. Examples of this are the number of calories you burn, the number of steps that you take, the number of calories you eat, the number of times you cheat, the hours of sleep that you get, the number of hours you exercise, and more. Every goal has so many factors that you measure. For every goal, identify the key processes and habits that are needed to fuel the progress. For business goals, this could be the number of sales calls you make, the number of leads that you have, the number of sales that you make, the number of people that are on your email list, or anything that you need to feel that you are moving towards your goal. For growing yourself as a person or as a professional this could be the number of pages that you read, the number of times that you meditate, the number of informational videos that you watch on YouTube.
The last activity that you should measure is where you fall short. For everything that goes into your goals, you need a benchmark, such as the number of sales calls that you make, the number of blog posts that you write, the number social media posts that you make, what not to eat, or anything that takes you one step back from your goals. The more that you don’t hit these behaviors, the farther away you are from your goals. Make sure that these measuring sticks don’t become suggestions. We all slip up. But, make sure these slip ups don’t become habits that take you further from your goal. In the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear, he has a concept called never miss twice. You will miss a workout. You will slip up on your diet. Something will come up when you can’t make as many sales calls as you would like. However, never miss twice. Once you fall off of the horse, get back on.
For long term goals, such as building a company or even saving money for a house, it is important to get others on the same page and set standards for behaviors and a standard way going about achieving the goals. In the book Traction, by Gino Wickman, he describes ninety-day rocks. These are goals set every ninety days and have weekly targets associated with them. The more you can measure, such as sales, leads, followers, email subscribers, number of cold calls, number of likes on social media, the more likely you are to hit your goals. It is also important to look at what metric is important and what metric just makes you feel good or is just feeding your ego.
In addition, most goals involve other people. Even if you want to go to the gym or work on a business plan or want to read more, the people around you must understand your goals even if it’s just giving you “me time.” Professional goals and bigger personal goals it’s important to clearly identify the expectations that you have for others. If you hire a sales person, you cannot just say, “hey, generate one million dollars by the end of the year,” or “hey, make me a star on social media”.
When you are working on your goals, the reason that having multiple measuring sticks is so important is because that you don’t want to rely on motivation and inspiration all the time. Motivation and inspiration ebb and flow. There will be days when you don’t want to exercise, make outbound calls, post on social media, or even activities that you like to do. When you have different measuring sticks, you are much clearer on what to do every day and even every hour. Your day gets filled up by actual tasks rather than feelings. You will be much more productive, much clearer, and you will give yourself direction.