Confession time: I love goal setting.
Maybe it’s the Enneagram 3 in me, but I just want ALL of the gold stars, all of the time. My husband even jokes he’s going to create a chore chart for our house because he knows what motivates me 😂
There’s nothing I love more than dreaming up what’s next and mapping out the plan to get there. I geek out overtaking a big vision and figuring out how to build funnels and implement the tech to make it all happen.
But if I’m being honest, when I first started my business, it was way easier for me to help my clients hit goals than to stick to my own.
It felt like I had a million ideas every day and so we were constantly pivoting our business. I’m all for trying new things, but I’m not gonna lie – all that change makes goal setting a wee bit difficult!
I used to see other entrepreneurs who had their whole year’s marketing plan mapped out ahead of time and think, “Well that’s nice for them, but I have no idea what we’ll be doing in six months! How can I set goals for that far ahead?!”
Daily Tasks are NOT Goals
I’m all for planning out your day and knowing which tasks you want to tackle… but I think goal setting is VERY different than task management.
For far too long I ran my business by my to-do list. Which meant I was only focusing on the urgent tasks on my list, instead of looking forward to bigger goals.
I was spending each day worrying about what was URGENT – but usually not important.
Aka my business was being run by either distractions or crises. The Goals & Planning quadrant seemed idealistic but impossible. I was just always so busy working IN my business that I never had time to work ON my business.
That’s when I stopped setting daily goals (which honestly were just tasks disguised as “goals”).
I realized that if I wanted to grow our business the right way, I needed to be more forward-thinking, and I needed to prioritize what’s IMPORTANT over just urgent.
For us, this meant two big changes:
- Setting time aside to actively work ON our business
- Setting quarterly business goals (instead of daily or on the fly)
The Power of Setting 90 Day Goals
Writing down your goals is NOT the same as just “thinking” about your goals.
I repeat: it’s not enough to just set goals in your head. You need to WRITE THEM DOWN.
Need a little convincing? There is a ton of research showing the power of both writing your goals down and why 90-day goals are important.
A recent Harvard Business Study found that only 3% of MBA graduates were writing their goals down. Shocking, I know.
What’s crazier is that 3% of graduates went on to make TEN TIMES MORE than the other 97%.
Just doing a quick google search will show you study after study about why you need to write down your goals. So why the 90 days?
90 days is long enough and short enough, meaning you have the flexibility to change and grow, but you have a long enough time to actually work towards and accomplish it.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve found setting 90-day goals – or quarterly goals – to be a game-changer. For big launches and marketing plans, this means if you set ONE big goal per quarter, that’s 4 launches each year.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean you need to reinvent your business or try new things each and every quarter. But this DOES help you to simplify and prioritize your services, ideas, offerings, and launches. Instead of trying to do ALL of the things, setting quarterly goals will allow you to really focus on what’s most important to you and how you can serve your audience best.
Quarterly goals, especially when it comes to launches, also helps to ensure we’re actually SERVING our audience all year – instead of just reaching out to them when we want to launch something.
Think of it this way: if you know that you’re going to launch a new course at the end of Q2, then you can work backward and figure out how you can build and nurture your audience leading up to that launch. That way, when a launch does come, you’ve primed them that you’re the expert on this topic, you’ve proven that you know what you’re talking about, and they’re excited and ready to learn more from you (aka buy your course!).
How to Get Started Setting Quarterly Goals
Now that I have you all jazzed up about setting quarterly goals – let’s chat about how you can actually start doing this in your own life and business.
There are a ton of different ways to set goals. So while I could probably write a ton of blog posts about this one topic, I want to give you a few tangible ways to get started today.
Here are 5 simple steps to help you start setting quarterly goals:
1 – Reflect + Review
Before you ever set a new goal, I highly recommend looking back at your previous goals. Were you able to achieve them? Why or why not?
It’s also incredibly important to reflect on the different areas of your life and business and ask yourself what’s working and what’s not. Maybe business is going great, but your personal life is suffering. Maybe you’re as healthy as you’ve ever been, but your business feels stagnant.
This is actually a big reason why I love my Powersheets. They help me reflect on and set intentional goals for so many different areas of my life (ex: Work, Family, Spiritual, Health, etc).
Related Post: What are Powersheets (& how I use them to set goals as an entrepreneur)
2 – Set Personal AND Professional Goals
I’m a big believer in balance. Not that your life and work will always be equal in terms of what you’re working towards or achieving, but that you value both areas of your life in a way that aligns with your priorities.
It’s so easy as entrepreneurs to focus on setting (and achieving) kick-butt business goals, yet we fail to set personal goals.
Again, this is a big reason why I love using Powersheets to set my goals! It makes sure that my recovering-workaholic self remembers to balance my goals across my personal and professional life.
3 – Set SMART Goals
You’ve likely heard this before, but you don’t want to just set lofty, arbitrary goals. The goals that get achieved are SMART Goals, meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely.
Personally, I found that when I transitioned to setting quarterly goals, instead of those on-the-fly ones, setting SMART goals became a lot easier.
I wasn’t just “trying to grow my business.” I was setting a goal to launch a new Facebook Ads course by the end of Q1 that had at least 20 new students at $497 by the end of the first month.
I wasn’t just “trying to get back in shape.” I was setting a goal to attend 2 Orangetheory classes a week and practice intermittent fasting during the weekdays.
Do you see the difference?
4 – Break it down
Once you set a big quarterly goal, you can then break it down with specific tasks, action items, and deadlines. This is where a project management system like Asana comes in!
It allows you to take the goal of launching a course and break it down into all of the smaller steps you need to take to actually hit that goal (ex: outlining the course, creating the content, building your email list, creating a webinar, setting up all of the tech, building your funnels, mapping out your launch plan, etc, etc)
Again, I’m going to sound like a fangirl here (which I totally am), but this is another area that Powersheets helps me with! Each month’s tending list has sections for monthly, weekly, and daily action items and habits so that you can intentionally work towards your bigger goals.
5 – Track your progress
Last but certainly not least: there’s no point in setting goals if you’re not going to work on actually achieving them right? Yet, this is one of the most skipped over steps.
There are a ton of different ways to track your progress (Powersheets, Asana, a good ole whiteboard). This is where setting SMART goals makes it a lot easier to track because you know how to measure your progress!
Another way to stay on track towards your goals is to have accountability. Whether that’s a coach, a friend, or a spouse, I highly recommend finding an accountability partner!
And don’t just check in on the fly either – set times to connect and hold each other accountable!
For example, every morning my friend Laura and I call each other to touch base on our goals and share what we’re going to work on that day. We also have longer brainstorming sessions to help us plan out our bigger goals (because remember: daily tasks are NOT the goals themselves, they just help us achieve those goals).
Speaking of accountability, I’d love to hear what YOUR goals are!
Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re working on this quarter & this year!
Related: you can see my goals and progress on my monthly powersheets posts!
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