Setting Life Goals for You and Your Business

Ten years is a long time. It was ten years ago that Trendsetters to Trendsetters published its first issue. Since then, Trendsetters to Trendsetters has worked to perfect the magazine, gaining a large following, and providing valuable and insightful information to its audience.

As we celebrate the magazine’s 10th anniversary, I want to focus this column on setting long-term business and personal goals – the kind of exercise that has helped Trendsetters to Trendsetters be the success it is today.

            As the recent election has shown us, the tide of events can change quickly: politics, economics, technology, and world events can change in the blink of an eye. Many changes that are not in our control have a direct effect on the course of our lives. In order to exercise some control in our lives, we have to plan for an uncertain future. A 10-year horizon is a good time frame to work with, as it allows us to set meaningful goals for starting and building, and for creating the basis of a life plan.

            The book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, concludes that it takes an average of 10,000 hours to master a talent. That number works out to 4.8 years of practice, given a 40-hour work week. Working at something for 10 years, it seems, would make us expert at our occupations and ventures.

            Setting goals requires a wide-angle view of the big picture, and determining where our focus should be for the next year, the next 5 years, and the next 10 years. 10-year goals will also be determined by what decade of life you are in: 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s, etc.

            Developing a plan for your life that covers 10 years can be daunting, no matter what decade of your life you are in; but, drafting a plan sets you on an actionable course that you may choose to discuss with a coach, mentor, or financial planner. The exercise of creating a plan has valuable implications for you and your future.

You should set S.M.A.R.T. goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. To start, establish a statement of purpose for you, personally, as well as for your business, that covers the next 10 years. Although you can do this exercise at any time, the ideal time to establish goals is at the end of the year; that way, you can start the new year actually implementing your goals.

Set specific goals in manageable increments such as 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, 5 year and then 10-year goals. These goals should build on each other. In addition, you will need to revise your goals periodically to adjust for changes in your life and in your business achievements. Revising goals allows you to adjust to circumstances that make certain goals either unnecessary or unachievable. Remember, your adjustments may make way for bigger goals, for more accomplishments, and for higher achievements than you had imagined you could achieve.

Make your goals measurable. A goal that cannot be measured is a wish. A goal that can be measured is easy to assess. For example, “To complete a course in how to use Excel,” or “To increase revenue by $XXX.00 per month.” Each of these goals is measurable – you can measure that they have been achieved.

Make your goals achievable. A goal that is not achievable is a wish. There is a difference between “I want to be famous,” vs. “I want to be the Number One real estate agent in Atlanta.”

Make your goals realistic. A goal that is not realistic is a wish. At 20, is it realistic to have the goal of being CEO of The Home Depot next year? Probably not. Is it a realistic goal to be a manager with significant responsibility by age 30? Probably yes.

Make your goals Time-based. A goal with no timetable is a wish, not a goal. Time boxing a goal puts some “teeth” into your plan. For example, “To complete a course in how to use Excel by the end of Q1 2017,” or “To increase revenue by $XXX.00 per month beginning in January 2017.”

            Each goal you set must support your overall plan. If personal goals do not dovetail with your professional goals, the disharmony is likely to cause one part of your life not to work. Creating your 10-year plan sets in motion the thought processes that allow you to script a successful life. When you complete your 10-year goals, like Trendsetters to Trendsetters, you should celebrate your 10-year anniversary and the success you have achieved. Then, you should plan your next decade of success.

            Happy Anniversary, Trendsetters to Trendsetters! Wishing you another successful decade of outstanding growth, and wishing all of our faithful T2T readers the same. Here’s looking forward to another 10 years of informative, helpful, and entertaining information disseminated and published by Trendsetters to Trendsetters.

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