Personal goal setting is especially important when you are operating your own business. Because your business will have an impact on every other area of your life, it is critical to consider how it affects your life and your own goals. Defining and aligning your business objectives and your personal goals in life will help you focus and set appropriate priorities. Some of the other benefits that can come from personal goal-setting are:
-Know, do and have more
-Use your mind and talents fully
-Have more purpose and direction in life
-Make better decisions
-Be more organized and effective
-Do more for yourself and others
-Have greater confidence and self-worth
-Feel more fulfilled
-Be more enthusiastic and motivated
-Accomplish uncommon projects
Setting goals can prevent you from getting caught up by the everyday activity of your life where time goes by, but you never seem to get anywhere. With goals you can find a sense of direction and accomplishment.
Choosing the right goals for you means doing some real soul searching about what is important to you. One way to "test" goals is to answer these questions about each of them:
- Is this really my goal? In other words, is this something you really want or something someone else says you should do?
- Does it fit with your value system?
- Are your short-term goals consistent with where you want to be in 20 years?
- Is this something you can really do in this time frame?
- Do you see how you are going to go about achieving this?
If you have answered "No" to even one of these questions, you may want to reconsider that goal. In the short-term it may appear to be right for you, but in the long run, you may exposing yourself to a lot of missed opportunities and frustration.
Set long-term goals as well as short-term ones. Long-range goals help you see where you want to be eventually, while the short-term ones can give you a sense of achievement along the way. That does not mean that your long-range goals are set in stone. You should revisit them at regular intervals because they may change with new information, knowledge or circumstances in your life.
Whether or not they ever reach the goals they have set, people who set long-range goals have been found to have higher self-confidence, higher self-esteem, and greater personal motivation. More than half the rewards and benefits achieved from goal-setting seem to come from actually taking your first step in that direction, no matter what the result.
Here is a simple process to help you set your goals. To be effective, the goal you choose should include these steps:
- Identify your goal by writing it down.
- Set a time frame for accomplishing it.
- List what you need to do to achieve the goal.
- Identify who and/or what you will need to work with to reach your goal.
- List the skills and knowledge required to reach your goal.
- Write down the steps you will follow.
As part of your goal setting you may also want to do a personal SWOT analysis. In a SWOT analysis you look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a way to determine what may be the best path for you to follow. It can also help to write down what your personal values are so that the goals that you set are consonant with what is really important to you in life.
Goal setting should not be an onerous task that you do because it is something you are "supposed" to do. Instead consider it a respite from your daily activities when you have an opportunity to reflect on your life and where you want it to go. Having this set of goals will help you set priorities on what you do on a daily basis. And, over time, the sense of accomplishment will be a reward far richer than the results you achieve from the goals themselves.