Goal setting is hard. As a buyer’s agent, and as a sales representative before that, I have always struggled with creating solid goals that “stick” to help achieve the success I want. Of course, in both situations, I’ve had some work goals given to me by the team.
Over the years, I found myself writing many different goals down on paper, but achieving very few of them. I would lose focus on these goals in a short time and just continue to plow forward as best as I can.
This is a frustrating cycle! I was doing it “right;” making my goals “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) and posting reminders of them around my daily activities. Although I tried many other acronyms and systems, none seemed to work.
Finally two years ago, I found what was missing for me. I was getting very specific on my goals, but they always seemed to be missing one thing...why? Why are these goals important to me? Why do I want to work toward this long term goal today? I simply had no emotional connection the goals I was setting.
As I wrestled with my problem, I stumbled on a very basic question: what do I want? I sat with a yellow legal pad and spent more than an hour just answering that question. No judgments, just open thinking. When I reviewed what I’d written, I was surprised. I had written very few specific material items, and many overarching feelings.
I started going down the list and categorizing what I found. In the end, I came up with 5 statements that have become my foundation for goal planning. Here they are.
I want to:
Feel great about me.
Feel financially secure.
Do things I like to do.
Have a great family life.
Produce at work.
When I reviewed the list, I finally felt like I had a collection of values that meant something to me. Every single item I wrote fits into one of these five areas of my life. I looked at old lists of goals I’d made and realized that I had a hard time fitting many of the things I’d written into these categories. Even now, it’s been two years since I’ve written these down, and I still feel a deep connection when I read them.
Over time, I’ve used these basic “wants” to both craft goals and evaluate them daily. During planning periods, I use them for self examination that leads directly to goal creation. I ask myself “what doesn’t feel great about me?” then take that answer to craft goals to support a change in that area.
When goal planning for a specific time period (yearly, quarterly, etc.) I go down this list and create goals for each area I want to accomplish in that time frame. When I review my goals, I’m no longer indifferent to them, as I know why I’m choosing to pursue them.
On a daily basis, I use these statements to start my day off on the right track. Each morning, I journal how I can impact each area that day. I review my goals and how I’m feeling about each area that day and choose specific behaviors to move forward that day.
Here’s specifically how I use these 5 statements every morning.
Write down current goal - example: “Close 20 buyers by XXX date.”
Underneath the goal, answer “why is this important to me?”
Answer in 2 parts. First, write which “want” the goal answers. (It can be more than one)
Example: why? Produce at work & Feel financially secure
Next, specify the actions you will take that day to move closer to the goal.
Example: Complete all CRM activities by 1 p.m. and invite 2 past clients to lunch in the next week to discuss referrals.
Specifically, I’ve found this process works best for me within a “12 Week Year” structure. If you haven’t read the book by Brian Moran, it’s a good one to check out. It may not fit for everyone, but if you have trouble keeping something on track for an entire year (as I do), it may interest you.
Overall, you can see this isn’t a complex system. That’s key to the system’s success. Simplicity and emotional connection are the two keys for me to establish something as a habit, and this system gives me both.
To apply this system to your buyer business, the possibilities are endless. Your current goal could be “put 10 buyers under contract by 24 October 2017.” If your 5 success points are the same as mine, every morning you will be reminded that accomplishing that goal helps you feel financially secure and produce at work.
This highlights how critical it is that the success maxims you choose are carefully vetted as truly important to you. You should feel emotion and connection to your success statements every time you read them. Making that connection to your specific goals every morning triggers your internal drive to accomplish them.
If you’d like to start using this system, I’ve found an inexpensive journal at Office Depot that I really like. I use the hardback version, but you can get a similar product in a spiral bound as well. Both are less than $10 and very high quality.
If starting a completely new system is daunting to you, let me know. I’d be happy to help you determine what your success statements are and implement this system in your own life.
Download Your Free Goal Planning Guide
If you'd like to try the process from this post, I've created a simple tool that walks you through it. Just click the link below to receive a free PDF version of the guide direct to your inbox.