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Setting Realistic Goals for Success

Setting Realistic Goals for Success by Ellen Jackson
Copyright 2002 Offbeat Marketing.

Are you one of those people who starts the week off with a list of "Things to do" or "Goals for the week"? Are there things that have been hanging around your "to do" list for months? At the end of the week, do you find that a lot of things on your list didn't get accomplished? Can you even FIND your list???

Setting unrealistic goals is frustrating and a waste of time. Setting realistic goals helps to keep you on track and focused. If you want get everything crossed off your list by Friday for a sense of real accomplishment, try these goal setting techniques:

Make your goals measurable -------------------------- If you can't measure it, how will you know when to cross it off your list? Instead of saying, "Build my opt-in list", try "Do one activity every day which will help build my opt-in list."

Make your goals specific ------------------------ If they're not specific enough, you might leave out important details which really need to be accomplished. Instead of saying, "Work on the newsletter", say "Finish Issue #12 and get all my notes together for Issue 13. Set aside one hour to clean out the subscriber list."

Make your goals achievable -------------------------- Impossible goals are self-defeating. They hang around your to-do lists forever, and you skip over them every time you come to them. Break down challenging goals into do-able parts. Instead of saying "Get more traffic", try "Choose one search engine and make a list of what I need to do in order to optimize my website for that service."

Make your goals meaningful -------------------------- Do you really need to alphabetize your receipts this week, or do you have more important things to do? Save non-critical tasks for slower times. Keep a list of "administrivia" that needs to get done sooner or later, and set aside one day a month (or whatever works for you) to accomplish these things. Ask yourself, "What serious problems will I encounter if I don't get this done for a while?" If you can't come up with a good answer, you've got better things to do.

Make your goals personal ------------------------ Why are you in the business you're in? To have more time for friends and family? To have the freedom to call your time your own? To learn new and interesting things? Make sure your goals reflect what you really want in life, not just how much money you'll make next month. If you're in this to have more time to spend with those you love, make sure that's included in your goals each and every week. Make sure YOU are in charge of your BUSINESS, not the other way around.

Stay on track
Keep a list of long term goals in front of you, and make sure your weekly goals and activities are in line with your "bigger picture". It's easy to get side tracked on the Internet. If you're like me, you get five new ideas from every one that you pursue, and it's sometimes hard to stick with the list.

I keep a spiral notebook on my desk. When I get entranced by some new idea that's not on my list, I jot it down and move on. I have more notes to myself in that notebook than I can pursue in the next year. But they're down on paper where I can go back to them. Every once in a while I include "Spend one hour with the notebook" on my list of goals for the day.

Keep your list of short term goals posted in a prominent place near your desk. Right beside it, post a list of your longer term goals. Spend no more and no less than five minutes a day reviewing them. This will help you stay on track of your smaller goals and keep the bigger picture in mind. At the very least, you won't lose your lists!

A handy and very affordable desktop tool for goal setting, networking, and down-to-business motivation is The Promote-Ivator.

Ellen Jackson is the publisher of Offbeat News and the owner/webmaster of Offbeat Marketing.

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