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goal

How much mud do you have to throw?

If you throw enough mud, some of it will stick

I have no idea who first said that, but like all clichés and sayings it contains a lot of truth – and can also distract from the truth.

Mud sticking to a wall

Even when you hit the wall, some mud just slides off…

Businesses throwing mud

I am reading a book on freelancing at the moment. The author, Kris Emery, writes about her early days as a translation and transcription freelancer by saying her approach was to throw a lot of mud.

However, she ‘threw a lot of mud, but just not in any particular direction… [she] didn’t have the big picture really figured out’.

I don’t think Kris is alone in not setting plans or specific goals for her business – I know I haven’t always had clear goals, either, and that it can be easy to get caught in all the everyday details and forget to keep a direction and goal in mind.

A direction and goal also helps keep the motivation and passion up so it’s important.

Do you have clear goals and ideals for your business?

How often do you review them?

Aiming your mud throwing

Kris went on to write ‘If I’d had just one focus, one goal to focus on, it would have been a heck of a lot easier. Cutting my losses was empowering and helped me gain that focus.’

Everyone is busy these days, and often being busy can get in the way of creating and following a strategy.

But how much of that is just busy-work and unimportant? How much is perhaps important but not targetted at heading towards the right goals?

By setting a focus in one direction, it is easier to aim that mud so some of it really will stick and easier to walk away from those tasks (and clients) that are busy work or distracting us.

I know that I got some focus back from attending PB Event and have dedicated more time to backend tasks that had been added to a list of things to do ‘as soon as I get time’. It is possible to make time when you have priorities set – simply stop wasting time on the non essentials (ie cut your losses) and accept small pockets of time add up to mean a lot.

What sorts of things help you regain some focus and motivation?

Do you think you are aiming your business’ mud or just hoping for the best as you throw?

 

*Image courtesy of BigStockPhotos

Working on goals

Do you have some big goals that you’re struggling with?

I just read a great blog post about goals – well, Julien specifically wrote about the goal of reading a book a week but I like some of his points for general goal following.

Side track – a goal of reading a book a week is great, especially if reading is not something that comes naturally to you. I admit my biggest issue with reading a book a week is that I love long books and with 4 kids, one a week is a challenge! With literacy week here this week, though, maybe it’s a challenge you may want to consider…

The best points Julien made about reaching goals…

  1. break it down into reasonable steps so it’s less overwhelming. For instance, based on books of 250 – 300 words, read 40 pages a day to reach 52 books a year. To get 100 blog or facebook subscribers in 6 months, aim for 4 a week. To finish the Tour de France, start riding your bike for an hour a day and build it up to 6 hours a day!
  2. set up a routine  – it’s much easier to follow steps when they are habit and you don’t have to think about it
  3. keep up to date or ahead – letting yourself fall behind (especially early on in a goal) can be disheartening and makes it less likely to be achieved. Don’t accept excuses – do build up some credit to cover issues later.
  4. Cheat a little occasionally to stay on track and interested. Surprised by that one? By cheat a little I don’t mean lie to yourself but just take the easy option occasionally. So if you’re reading is falling behind a book a week, deliberately choose a short book you can finish off fast. If training for the Tour, ride your exercise bike instead of hitting the streets in a storm. Building a blog readership – post a really short post or a summary of old posts instead of sweating a long post. Cheating like this is much better than stopping your actions altogether.
  5. You don’t have to be linear all the time. It depends on your goal, but sometimes allow yourself to go a – b – c- f – e – d- t- g- h- k instead of following a straight line. This will keep you moving if one step hits a delay and can provide some variety if you’re loosing momentum and interest.
    What does this mean in a practical sense? Going back to our earlier examples, if you can’t get into book 4, put it aside while you read books 5 and 6; instead of riding an hour uphill every day put in the occasional day of two hours on the flat; skip a post on your blog and submit a guest post somewhere else.

So what do you think – will these tips help you reach your next big goal? Share your goal here and the impact of these tips, too, if you like.

Goal setting process

I have previously posted about SMARTY goals and rewarding yourself when you achieve goals, so I thought I would add a little about the process of setting goals.

There are a number of ways of setting goals (brainstorming, asking a coach/mentor/friend for help, breaking down bigger goals, adding onto previous achievements, doing workshops or workbooks or just following the SMARTY acronym for example.)

I have found some recent examples of goal setting processes which you may enjoy reading:

Belinda Lindhart has recently gone through the process of setting business, artistic and personal goals for 2009. She has posted about her process in her blog and I think it is a great process that she is sharing.

Chris Brogan has a very different goal setting technique – he uses three specific words to keep him on track for the year.  It is actually a very challenging thing to do, but has a lot of potential – I think I will try this one myself! I also love the words equip and armies that Chris has set for himself – he probably wouldn’ t mind if I copied them as it is my aim to equip people with clear communications (through my tips and own writing) and environmental consciousness, and I would love armies of people to push for clear communications and more respect for our planet. However, I will sit down and see what words I come up with myself.

Ali reminds us that goals should be fulfilling as they happen, not just for some mythical future happiness. While not every step of a goal will be fun, it will ideally have some reward for you along the way – and certainly be something you want rather than what you ‘should’ do.

“A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” said Confucius. Apparently, the Japanese system of kaizen has a similar meaning and I agree with Emma that taking baby steps is the way to achieve anything – and I loved reading that she used this system for breaking a habit like smoking as it is exactly how I think such habits can be broken!

Some years I ago I used a list of questions (out of a book originally but I can’t remember it’s title or author now) to review the previous year and start the new one. The questions were things like ‘what did you learn this year? what was your biggest achievement? which goals did you reach? which people influenced you this year? what was your biggest challenge this year?’ and then repeat them for the upcoming year (so what do you want to learn next year? what do you want to achieve next year? how will you overcome/avoid those challenges? which old goals need refining?) It was an effective exercise in choosing a direction and goals which I could then write out.

So what process do you use, or will you now use, to set 2009 up as your best year so far?