We are all remarkable human beings. There is no one goal-setting strategy that is perfect for everyone—but there are many goal-setting strategies that are perfect for just one person.
Here are five-one tried-and-true strategies: I challenge you to try each one at least once, to see which work best for you.
Brainstorm with Sticky Notes
The beauty of using sticky notes as a business planning aid is two-fold: You can create your own memory aid or category using different colors… and you can mix-and-match them. (Example: Moving them around a bulletin board as you brainstorm various approaches.)
Sticky notes are also less intimidating to many people, compared to writing things down in one static place. In fact, if you’re a perfectionist—the sort who has to completely print out a new Calendar page and redo it if you mess up one slot—it’s virtually guaranteed you’ll find sticky notes less intimidating for you.
And you can buy them very inexpensively at any local dollar store.
Create Your Elevator Goal
Almost everyone knows the famous “elevator speech” exercise, where you try to summarize your business in one sentence after being asked “what do you do for a living” by someone you meet on an elevator.
Try doing this when brainstorming your big goal for the month or year: Imagine you’re standing on an elevator, and either (a) someone you admire or (b) someone you hope will become a client or customer asks: “What’s your main business goal for this year, and how will you reach it?”
(Here’s a prompt, in case you are having trouble getting started):
I am going to ____________________ by __________________ for [date]
Use Affirmations To Reinforce Your Goal
How often has your goal disappeared from your mind while you grapple with the realities of daily life?
Keep your goal in your focus by using affirmations to cue and remind yourself daily. Here’s how:
- Set an ambitious goal for the month—one that is slightly out of your comfort zone
- Choose an affirmation that relates to that activity
- Print it out in large letters (make an infographic of it, if you are a visual thinker, using an appropriate and striking background or template)
- Pin it where it is right in your range of vision when you sit down at your desk
- Say it out loud to yourself, with conviction, every time your eye falls on it
- Mentally visualize achieving your goal while you do this
Many Olympic athletes know this secret—in fact, take it for granted: If you repeatedly visualize achieving a goal in complete detail, your muscles and neural pathways will develop as if you were actually performing those actions.
For example, the tennis player who visualizes performing a perfect serve over and over again; or the figure skater who visualizes her gold-medal Olympic performance, night after night, months before the Olympic games.
Do it by visualizing in absolute detail what it will feel like when you achieve a major goal you are working towards, for your business. For example, if you plan to create a successful webinar summit with eight guests, visualize what you will wear that day; what your guests are wearing; which questions people are going to ask; what you are going to answer; how you will introduce each guest.
Do this before bed or during a meditative break time every day.
Then make notes on actions your visualizations inspire you to take! (Example: “Send red dress to the cleaners and buy earrings to match.”)
Brainstorm with Friends
Try brainstorming methods of achieving goals with friends, fellow team members or peers.
Brainstorming is not planning: It’s just getting your creativity heated up—especially when it comes to taking things past the obvious ways.
Try setting a time limit and use a timer. Then challenge each other to come up with as many different ways to achieve your goal as possible within that time frame.
(And do record your brainstorming session—or keep notes!)