It doesn’t ever feel good to make goals, work hard towards them, and miss them. A lot of people like to use the “miss the moon, fall amongst the stars” analogy to describe missing your goals, but the fact is, most of the time, it hurts. However, sometimes missing your goal can be a great thing. It opens your creativity. It forces you to look at your path, planning, and approach. Missing and reaching goals teaches a valuable lesson in every attempt and every victory. And with the right perspective, you will see that in your efforts you either meet your goal or learn something that changes you.
Why We Need Goals
First of all, goals tell us our desires. Goals help us to separate the wishes and dreams from the thing we are willing to work towards. Without goals, we can’t channel our ambitions. And goals are often tangible, so we can stay motivated through the progress, as we reach different milestones on the path to the ultimate achievement we want to attain.
If you aren’t in the habit of setting goals, I encourage you to do so. Start small if you like. A financial goal. A project goal. An increase in followers. More people visiting your website. Pick one to get started. One of my favorite sayings is, “if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
How Do We Set Goals?
I don’t align myself with the “SMART” goal strategy exactly. That approach requires all goals be “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound.” I have no problems with the specific and measurable parts of this style because progress is motivating. I think if we talk “achievable” too narrowly, people won’t undertake a “stretch” goal, one that is just outside the obvious reach and forces us to work a little harder or be a little more creative to hit.
Personally, I start from the end state of what I am going to do and backwards plan, putting steps on the calendar and wherever else. I do give myself a deadline, but in reality, I have realized that rigorous time limits can stifle creativity and the ability to add a valuable step or process into the mix. My approach isn’t always great for very time specific goals. I’ve become a little “soft” on deadlines as I’ve spent more time as an entrepreneur. If I am not striving for a project goal, I would rather work in “windows” of time. I am padding the calendar at times to leave room for those sparks of inspiration.
Once the goal is set, however, it must become non-negotiable. I recently started reading, “The Audacity to Be Queen” by Gina DeVee, and she explains it as, “being unavailable for anything else.” When you have your goals set by your desires rather than working from a position of “I wish, I want” we start from “it’s happening, this is what I am doing.” We commit to taking each action step with unwavering determination and belief. And then start moving.
When we miss goals
There are people who believe that if you don’t hit a goal, you didn’t want it badly enough. Maybe. I think if you don’t hit a goal, any number of things could have happened. Have you ever gotten halfway to a goal and then lost your passion for the result? How about external forces that interfered? Ever have a goal that you reach at another time? How about something that needed to be tweaked- something you will correct for the next round?
Whatever we discover our reasons to be aside, when we don’t hit our goals, it cannot be the end of the world. Because we made the goal non-negotiable and we are unavailable for anything else. Any perceived “miss” is a timing issue. Or an approach issue. We need to find the lesson. We need to evaluate what went well, what didn’t work, and we need to be willing to make adjustments and to continue moving forward. And we need to replace any disappointment with a celebration of our progress. A genuine celebration. Happy Entrepreneuring!