How To Get Back on Track When Goal Setting Goes Wrong

RL10-23-15Finding success in life isn’t about hitting every goal you set. Any entrepreneur can tell you that failure is just another step in the journey to success. What’s important is how you react to those failures.

First, realize that you’re not alone. A survey reported in Inc. magazine revealed that 77% of small business owners have yet to reach their vision for their companies.

Don’t waste valuable time beating yourself up over missed goals. According to a report by Psychology Today, this will lower your energy and feelings of self-worth, making it harder to get back on track.

To move forward, it’s important to analyze whether poor goal setting is what tripped you up. This is all too common, and according to The Globe and Mail Career Lab series, you’re more likely to succeed if you set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results Driven, Timely) goals.

Drill Down
According to an article by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, thousands of studies have shown the importance of narrowing your goals to specific, concrete targets.

So, rather than setting a broad goal, like “achieving better success at work,” set specific benchmarks that are measurable, such as reaching a certain position, or making a target salary or commission. To support this long-range goal, assign yourself medium-term steps, which you’ll need to accomplish to reach your target. Get feedback from your boss or mentor on what you’ll need to achieve to meet this goal, and which stumbling blocks you may have to overcome.

Keep It Real
If the only way to make your goal is to work a 70-hour work week for the next year, you are likely going to burn out. Inc. magazine notes that while a challenge is important, if you set goals that are too challenging, you will wind up exhausted and unable to maintain the personal relationships in your life. Fatigue and burnout often lead to mistakes that limit your abilities to achieve your goals.

Check Your Time
Once you have your goals in place, it’s essential to align time management with your future plan, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review. This will help you determine whether the way you spend your time now is going to allow you to reach your future goals. Look for things that bog you down, distract you or steal time from your objectives.

The idea is to find any areas of misalignment, and then adjust your workflow or the goal, as needed.

Don’t Go It Alone
It’s easier to meet any goal when you have sound advice and guidance from others. In fact, an article by life coach Lesley Knowles notes that accepting help and support from others is essential to success.

Friends and family can be your greatest cheerleaders and offer helpful encouragement. On the business side, your best bet is to find a mentor who is knowledgeable in your field. A good mentor can help you stay focused on your goals, suggest new strategies you may not have considered, and hold you accountable if you become distracted from your plan.

Better goal setting can make a real difference in your ability to overcome roadblocks on your path to success. Before you set your next round of goals, make sure you take a moment to enjoy your success. Celebrate with those who supported your journey. Then, consider which goal setting elements helped you get where you are, and use them to set your vision for the future.

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