How To Set Goals The Right Way

As a Business Coach, Consultant, & Mindset Coach. I'm on a mission to help you reach your level of success (whatever that means for you) easier and faster than I did.

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Goal Setting the Right Way

Let’s talk about goals. In terms of personal development, goal setting is critical. And I’ll be the first to admit – some of us struggle with goal setting and some of us have it down to a science. Hello, James Clear!

Unless you’re goal setting the RIGHT way, you’re wasting your time. Yep, I said it. To set a goal is pointless and a waste of energy if you’re not going to put in the work towards that goal. If we just put something out there, and we’re not willing to do the work – and not willing to understand what that goal will look like when we achieve it – it’s a completely pointless goal. Putting it out there without a way to measure it or without figuring out how it aligns with where we want to go in our business? Then you can bet we won’t achieve it. That’s setting goals on paper, but that’s not the act of goal setting. 

Let’s talk about the origin of goals before we get too deep into goal setting. Goals are born of people who want to grow: people want to enhance what they have, they want more of something, and sometimes, they want to change something. Some people set goals because they hear that’s what they’re supposed to do in their business. DON’T BE THAT PERSON. Don’t just set goals because you heard you’re supposed to set goals that are intentional. Learn how to set goals properly and learn how to measure them.

Setting Goals

The idea of setting goals is pointless unless you do it properly and you bring all the pieces together. Some of the reasons people fall short of their goals then? They don’t go in-depth enough on their goals. While in mindset coaching, this was a big revelation for me. We should be asking (when we set goals), what do we need to UNCOVER about our goals? What does that say about us? So many people fall short because they haven’t done enough research about their goal. 

These business owners haven’t really looked at, what does this look like when I achieve it? What is this goal going to change about my situation? Those entreps who don’t track their goals…they’re not in it for the long haul.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear states that you shouldn’t create goals first. You should create habits first. People fall short because they’re not willing to take the action and create new habits. New habits change how people work, how they show up, and how they can achieve those goals.  

So, ask yourself, what do I need to do to be successful in terms of goal setting? The first thing is to make sure you’re setting goals that are in line with your vision, can be created through habit-forming, and align with where you want to go in your business. You want to set goals that you can measure, then you want to be prepared for your goals to be a long game, right? Because of this, it will take lots and lots of tiny tweaks and marginal gains to get to that goal. It’s like learning a new language – you’re not going to have it perfect immediately. Instead, it takes practice and patience (and often someone to converse with!). That’s why I created the UpLevel Lounge – to connect you with other business owners talking about their own business challenges and goals. 

Changes Seem Small But Are Huge Over Time

Something to know about changes, they happen at the atomic level. They’re small, but they’re incremental and you’ve got to trust the process. You have to be willing to be all in and not give up because you’re not visibly seeming something immediately. It might be percolating under the surface. So, setting goals is a big commitment. Don’t waste your time unless you’re going to set them the right way. 

You want to make sure you’ve done enough research to see what this process will look like. You’ll need to figure out what you need to do in order to make your goals happen. The pieces of that need are: you have to be consistent in terms of the actions you’re taking, but also, you need to track that goal, so you can mind the gap.  You can look back and say, oh, I’ve actually made 3% progress over the last month. Even if it’s small, it does not discount that as a gain. Efforts are so important, and I hate when others say, it’s not about the effort. It’s about the future. That’s just not true. It’s totally about the effort. It’s totally about how much you’re willing to put in there and what you’re willing to do.

Consistency is Key

Then, the next piece of that is being consistent. It’s about creating new habits. If we could achieve our goals easily, we wouldn’t need habits. But something has to be changed or enhanced. We have to put in the work to be able to get that goal. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a goal; we would be living it and realizing it already. So, we have to create and build new habits in everything we do. Maybe that’s in how we show up for our clients. Maybe that’s how much effort we’re putting into our CEO time in our business. Maybe it’s how much time we’re spending marketing each day. Whatever it is, it’s creating new habits. A lot of times, this weaves so tightly with mindset. 

It weaves into mindset because, with many goals, it’s a long game. It doesn’t mean that if I just put down on paper that in 90 days, I’m going to do X. There’s a whole lot of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and so on that comes in. Maybe it’ll even take more than 90 days. Just because you put a goal on paper doesn’t mean you can’t modify it either. You just need to be able to be realistic with yourself. Set realistic expectations, then adjust as needed while you’re on the journey. If you’re working hard and changing those habits (while still being consistent!), you might find it will still take longer than expected. That is okay, because you’re still working on reaching it. It can actually be a good thing if you have to put your goal out further. 

Gains, Losses, and Results

Now, another component of goal setting is digging deep and looking at potential gains and losses as a result of your goal. So, ask yourself, what’s it going to look like when I achieve this goal? Hopefully, it’s all positive things. Sometimes that’s growth in terms of money, that’s more clients, that’s less time spent in your business. But also, what are you giving up? What is going to change as a result of that goal. There are two sides to a goal.

If I launch a new Mastermind program, and I can fill it with 10 women, and I can change the impact that I’m making in 10 other lives, what else comes with that goal? Do I cut out another program that I offer? Does this new program mean less time with my family? Does that mean I can’t take Friday off? It can be whatever. But there’s always another side. Sometimes that’s a great thing. You’re adding more clients to your roster, or you’re impacting someone else’s business. But you want to really make sure that it’s the right fit client that you’re adding to your roster, because that’s one less space you can fill, right? 

There’s something that’s going to change in the equation, and it’s not always negative, but you have to be mindful of what that is. Sometimes we forget and we just say, Oh my gosh, I want to be at this level, or I just want to make this happen. And then it does, and sometimes you’re not expecting those types of results. 

Tips for Successful Goal Setting

So, to recap, goals aren’t pointless but the act of goal setting is pointless if you don’t do the discovery and forethought. If you’re told to set goals, but you put them arbitrarily out there, they won’t go anywhere. You may even find that you need a coach or accountability person that can help you set those goals. That’s okay. Sometimes goals don’t come naturally, and the right person can help you with that. But, make sure they’re asking you the right questions. They need to uncover, why do you want to meet this goal? What is going to change for you? What is this going to allow?

 1. Asking Questions

As entrepreneurs, we all hear it: as CEOs of our business, we need to set goals (90-day, annual, 3-year, and 5-year). But, what does that really mean? I even experience it with my 6 and 7-figure clients – they set goals, but they’re just kind of not sure what they’re doing. They kind of just throw something out there. And so, I think that really once we start digging deep, and saying, what’s important to you? What is that going to change in terms of your personal and business owners? What freedoms will it bring? What will change negatively in your business? 

Asking yourself these questions can be really enlightening. Hopefully, this is where you get support in group programs. I know we’re digging through this a lot in my group coaching, especially as those entrepreneurs are gaining more and more skills around this and understanding the importance of going so deep in goal setting. 

2. Being Okay with Incremental Change

These questions are something you can apply when you’re doing your 90-day planning. When you’re doing your strategy sessions for yourself or your clients. When they say, these are my goals, you – as an OBM – can help them uncover what that goal really means. What does that look like to the business owner? What happens if we achieve this? What is success going to look and feel like? How are we going to measure this? Because those are all parts we need to put in place to be able to set a goal. Understanding all the layers of it, and even if you use the ice cube melting example by James Clear (we’re not seeing it but it’s still happening), it’ll hit the tipping point and something will change. Until we can see the tipping point, that can be an uncomfortable space for people. Especially when it comes to clients that are paying us. 

3. Being Clear and Intentional As Much as Possible

So, you want to be careful when you’re setting goals with clients that you’re not just saying, Oh that sounds great. Let’s do it. Instead you’re saying, That sounds great, we should consider XY and Z. Because you are the expert in the service you offer to your client. So, make sure you’re the accountability person. You might even say, Let’s dig a little deeper here. I want to make sure that I truly understand. Is this really the goal you want to set? Because I’m hearing this vs this. That’s part of taking a coaching approach with clients too.

I’m not saying you have to go down a dark rabbit hole. But make sure you’re uncovering someone’s true goal.  How can I make sure that myself as a service provider is supporting the progress to reach that goal for you, client? 

This is About You

This conversation, although we’ve discussed clients, really is about how you set goals for yourself. How you can properly support your clients and set goals. It can come up a lot of ways. It’s enlightening because goal-setting has become a sort of buzzword. Like, oh have you set your goals. But what does that mean? What does it mean if you just put a goal out there if you aren’t actually taking the proper action to prepare the right goal and then achieve it with the right steps? If there’s something that you know intrigues you and excites you, this is definitely something that we work on coaching – 1:1 or group coaching – we really, really get tailored in terms of your personal goals and then the accountability piece. That’s what’s beautiful about group coaching, it’s built-in. You have accountability, you talk about your goals and people are checking up on you. 

With 1:1 coaching client goals, I’m checking up to see how it’s going. It’s pointless if I have them set goals and then they’re just out there by themselves. My job as a coach is to also provide that support and accountability for them to work towards achieving their goals. We can always tweak along the way. 

Okay, so, here’s what we learned. Or wow, that goal wasn’t big enough. 

Cierra Robbins, you can read her case study here, is a perfect example. She was one of my coaching clients, and she is a force. She created an OBM business while she was still in corporate and now is completely booked out. She pinged me this week to say, remember when I set that financial goal that you told me was way too small for this year? Yeah, I’ve blown it out of the water. 

When she set her goals, she said, here’s where I want to be revenue-wise. And I said, that’s too small. Think way bigger and here’s why. Let’s map this out. If you get X amount of clients at this rate, you’re going to hit that goal in 3 months. She still couldn’t quite believe herself, but she trusted me in the process to know that like, Okay, I need a bigger goal. And boom, just like I said, she has blown it out of the water. It’s not because you know, I had some special foresight, but it was really about breaking it down. That goal is too small for you, and where you show up for your clients, your goal should be higher. Here’s what your prices and packages are, let’s do the math on that. You’ll hit that goal by this time, not by the end of year. 

So, having that accountability piece and having people that can see what’s possible for you before you can see for yourself can be really valuable. 

Obviously, this is a high-level discussion. We dig much deeper in coaching. And we’ll probably do a whole series on this, But I wanted to talk about goals today because I know that everybody hears it. We’re all told to set goals, we’re told to do them for clients, but what does it really mean? And yes, it can be pointless unless you’re doing it properly. That’s my challenge to you. Look at the goals you’ve set for yourself and do they make sense and are you taking actions to actually meet them? 

Then, when you set goals with your clients, make sure you’re asking clarifying questions to make sure that those goals are the right ones and they’re not pointless. Make sure you can track them. How can you hold clients accountable? How are you going to stay in alignment and if things aren’t working, that you’re ready to adjust and pivot for the clients you serve

It Doesn’t Come That Easily to Some

For some, this doesn’t come naturally. Plenty of women I’ve spoken to say they get external help for this. That’s okay. I’ve been there, and I had to get the right tools – and constantly learn – and level up from others. 

I’m usually asking myself, how can I improve this? That’s part of the awareness and mindset piece, you don’t have to be good at everything, right? That’s the beauty in delegating. Delegating doesn’t always mean, I’m delegating my social media. It could be that you identify you’re not great at goal setting and you really need that piece in your business to step into your CEO mindset and really start owning your business the way it should be. Then, delegate it in terms of hiring a coach that can help with that. Find a business bestie. That’s delegation as well. Because you’re not leaving all of the onus on yourself. 

You’re saying, hey, I need help. I’m going to find an expert because this isn’t my zone of genius. If you’re not in your zone of genius, then give it away so that can stay in your zone of genius. I truly, truly try to embody that as much as I can in my own business, and I really coach my clients on that.  That’s the power of working with a coach, especially someone who has walked the walk and understands where you want to go in your business, like those lightbulb moments are powerful. When you have those revelations, it’s like, whoa. I hadn’t even thought of that. 

It’s crucial that you get an outside perspective. Don’t stay in a tunnel and think, I can do all this stuff on my own. Sure you can literally do that, but that’s not the smartest way to do business, especially if you want to grow. You need to get outside perspectives, whether that’s a coach or an accountability person, but either way, we’re going to be honest with you. We’re going to keep it real. Hold you accountable to get to that next level and challenge your goals. Saying, hold up, this sounds a little too safe. Play bigger. 

Levels and Complexity to Your Goals

Let’s say you’re setting goals for a launch, you’re going to ask yourself the good, better, and best goals to meet. Like this, X, is the minimum viable thing  I Need, this would be great. I would be super thrilled if I get Y. If you meet your best goal, that‘s a great problem to have. But I challenge you especially when it’s about money or anything measurable, in terms of quantity, that you have different levels.

They talk about this a lot in the OBM certification – but that’s not unique to that program. It’s just a part of how you can take that coaching approach as a client’s OBM. If it’s social media or bookkeeping, whatever it is, what are your goals by delegating this off to someone and getting out the ROI from that? What is the true gain from reaching your goal?

Hopefully, this blog was inspiring to help you reach your goal. It’s truly pointless if you don’t start breaking it down and you don’t do it properly. Some goals are ambiguous and ominous. Okay. It’s a goal, but what do I do with it? That’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough. It doesn’t do us any good if we just set goals and we’re not intentional. I know that each and every one of you can be intentional.

That’s my challenge to you. How can you be even more intentional about goal setting? 

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