6 Steps to Use to Achieve Any Goal
If there’s any one trait that could be pinned on all entrepreneurs, it might be “goal driven.” Entrepreneurs are successful in a huge way due to their tenacity in setting goals and then achieving them.
Fortunately for business owners, reaching important goals isn’t quite as challenging as it might appear to be on the surface. Reaching any goal requires taking the same six steps, as originally outlined by author Nathan Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich.
The beauty of these six steps is in their simplicity—and their application. These steps go beyond business and career. They can be applied to any goal in any area of life. They help by forcing the goal setter to be very specific and clear—vital aspects of achieving any goal, as operating within truth and reality is the only way to plan properly and correctly.
Keep in mind, however, that each step, while simple, will take a good deal of thought and soul searching. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to make them real and clear will be an essential part of the process.
Here are the six steps to take to reach any goal, as well as explanations on how each step works.
Step 1: Define exactly what you want.
Let’s say you want to grow your income. Simply having a goal for “more income” is not good enough for this step. “More income” is much too vague to have any real ability to move you to reach that goal. You have to understand what you need to do to get to that goal, and just saying “more income” isn’t going to cut it.
Instead, get hyper-specific. First, what does “more income” look like? Is it an additional $5,000 a month? Is it $10,000? Is it $20,000? And how would that happen? What would actually bring in that amount of income?
So, let’s try again with that definition. Here’s the new goal, according to this first step: To secure three new projects, with each project pulling in a profit of no less than $10,000, for a total of $30,000 additional income.
Step 2: Determine what you will give in return.
After numerous discussions with various entrepreneurs of his time, Hill determined that if you to get something, you’re going to have to give something. It’s just the way the world turns. And if you have a goal, just putting it out there to the universe is not enough. You have to WORK toward it.
So, what are you going to do to get three more projects? For the sake of this example, let’s say you’ve decided to offer some sort of sale or discount to your potential or current clients—something they can feel they are getting for in return for their decision to use your company over someone else’s. Your discount is what you will give in return for someone to team up with your company on a project—thus, helping you to reach your goal.
Step 3: Establish a date to achieve the goal.
This step is uber-simple, and yet, it’s a game-changer that can get easy overlooked or forgotten. Decide when this goal is going to be fulfilled—a real, concrete date on a calendar. Keep the deadline realistic—setting yourself up for failure by picking a date you can’t possibly reach will only create fear and an avoidance of pursuing bigger and better goals in the future. So, make sure the date is achievable.
Now, revise your goal further with this date in mind. Continuing with the example being used, the goal would now be: To secure three new projects, with each project bringing in a profit of no less than $10,000, BY THE 30th OF NEXT MONTH.
In addition, you might want to revise what you are going to give in return, so that your gift is now sensitive to your goal’s deadline: The discount will only be valid if a client pays up front by the 30th of next month.
A note on why this step is so important: Have you ever heard the old adage, “Someday never comes”? When a goal date is nebulous, it becomes a fantasy. Like a physical ball that’s constantly rolling around, it’s hard to reach out and grab onto something that’s forever in motion—only in the case of reaching a goal, it’s mentally shifting around.
A great example of this is the expression “as soon as possible.” When a person is told to do something as soon as possible, that individual will prioritize more concrete deadlines first. Asking someone to do something ASAP doesn’t move an individual to do anything more quickly. If anything, that ASAP task instead falls to the bottom of the to-do list—probably the exact opposite of the intent of the person requesting that the action get done!
So don’t ASAP your goals. Create hard, concrete deadline dates that are doable.
Step 4: Create a plan to reach your goal, and start on it immediately.
As the saying rightly goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Think about it. You wouldn’t go to a town you’ve never been before without a map. You’d start out and never get there! You plan a trip, because that’s the only way that journey will go right.
For your goal, a plan needs to be devised. Create one that breaks down into small, bite-sized actions that you can do quickly and easily, continuing to move you forward. For this example, you might decide that the plan will be:
1) Decide on your discount today.
2) Email your current client contacts within three days and let them know of the discount.
3) Follow up with another email a week later.
4) Use the next week to call or meet potential clients in person and seal the deals.
Don’t procrastinate. Even if you don’t “feel ready,” begin working your plan. The truth is, we rarely feel ready to do anything. The pieces will fall into place soon enough, and you will learn ways to make the plan more effective and efficient as you move along toward your goal.
Step 5: Write a clear, concise statement of everything you’ve determined using the preceding steps.
There’s beauty in writing things down. Whether you type on a computer screen or write by hand on paper, getting words out of your head turns them from thoughts into hard facts. You can now take a step back and now see, in black and white, your plan—and its big picture.
In this case’s example, you would take your steps and write out everything you decided to do. Include in the statement you write your ultimate goal and your end date. Make it as clear as possible about what you will do to make your goal become a reality and exactly how you will do it.
You can also include in your statement an all-important “why” factor. Why do you want to make more income next month? Why is that important? What will that mean for you? What will that mean for your employees?
Step 6: Read that written goal statement twice a day.
Hill believed that making intentional affirmations of your goals and your plans to achieve them programs your mind to focus better on the necessary tasks to get them done.
In this case, you would take the goal statement that you wrote, and you’d review it, ideally, twice a day and even out loud. Hill recommended doing so once in the morning, shortly after waking up, and again at night, right before you go to bed. By doing so, you will immerse your brain and your thoughts in what you are trying to achieve.
With your goal statement in the forefront of your mind, you’ll make achieving your goals that much easier. Reading your goal statement also helps identify where you might have fallen off track or where the plan might need to be tweaked to be even more effective.
If you question any of these steps, the only way to really find out if they can work for you is to dive in and give them a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised how these simple yet well-defined actions can help you reach your goals—quicker and easier than ever before!