The more specific your goals are, the better chance you have of achieving them.

By Beate Chelette

One of the best arguments I know for setting goals could be an ad for a Global Positioning System (or GPS). Unless you know where you want to go, you can’t figure out a way to get there. It’s true for all aspects of our lives, personal, family and career. Even so, just having goals without defining them, in very specific terms, is a useless exercise.

More or less we all want the same things. Health, a great relationship, intimacy, family, wealth and an exciting career. You may have a general idea of wanting to make more money, of getting a better job or being in a relationship, but you are lacking the clear detail. When you say a great relationship, what does that really look like? Who is she or he and what are the core values you want that relationship to have? What are your must-haves, your deal breakers and your negotiables? Maybe must-haves include communication, humor, intelligence and financial stability. Your deal breakers should include poor behavior, putting you down, substance abuse, and violence. Your negotiables may be where they are in their career or how much money they make or the religion they belong to.

Now let’s focus and look at your career goals. What does it mean when you say you want a fulfilling job that supports you financially? Are you saying that you want to be around a lot of people all day or do you prefer to work in a quiet environment, preferably by yourself? Do you excel at teamwork, do you want to be the boss? How many people work with and for you? Take a look at What Successful People Do Differently and notice how clearly defined goals fit in.

Another example I’d like to bring up is your financial compensation. How much money do you need or want to support your lifestyle?

When you think about how your work should financially support you, what does that mean? Is that $50,000 or $500,000? If you want to make $500,000, then how many days of work would that be and at what rate so that you can get to that number? Sure we all would like to be millionaires, but to get there you should know what targets you need to hit.

Detail is key to your achievement. You need to set clear and achievable goals first before you even start. The more you think about exactly what you want, chances are higher that you’ll achieve it. Why? The more effort you put into the details the clearer the vision becomes. Because now you know what it looks like, feels like, even how it smells. Think about these three words and answer each one: What, When, Where. Now you defined what you want to achieve, you have set a time schedule and a location along with it.

Let’s Talk Money

Many people dislike running their numbers and often the reason is simply that it’s hard to get excited about numbers when they’re not very good. When I launched a new product line, I sat down and ran the numbers with my controller. We realized that we would need to take away time and income from our existing main product line. We ran the numbers first from an outflow perspective. We knew then what the costs would be. Next we projected our income. How many units did we need to move to break even and by when? At what point would we be profitable?

When the numbers work, it’s like magic. It is very gratifying to have created a plan—a goal– that you implemented and that was supported by your detailed vision of it!

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