How To Make Your Goals Stick From Someone Who’s Actually Done It

Why You Should Set A Goal For Any Thing, Any Size And How To Do It From Someone Who's Been There

You know what’s actually a really daunting thought? Trying to improve yourself, or even just shake up your life a bit. Because money and bills and stuff, you know. But I say screw it! If you’ve thought long and hard about setting a new goal then do it.

The key is to be realistic about the way in which you set it out. Giant leap? Kind of hard. Lots of steps? Very doable.

As a person who has achieved many goals, particularly in business, founder and CEO of Collective Hub and author of new book Risk & Resilience: Breaking And Remaking A Brand, Lisa Messenger answered a few questions about the goal-setting process for us.

Does It Have To A ‘Big’ Goal?

Ok, so we know if we want to change career or start a business, we should probably do a lot of planning ahead for that. But what if the goal is smaller. What if you just want to go on that overseas trip this year? Or brush up on a few skills for work? Or spend more time with family? Or save more money? Lisa reckons you should set specific goals for anything if you actually want to achieve it.

Every year I write down my goals for the next year under topics – friends, family, business, finance, travel, health etc,” she says, “I get as specific as possible (that’s the key) on dates, exact outcomes and more than anything how I want to feel.”

The trick is, no matter what size the ultimate goal is, just make sure it’s something you truly want. You’re not going to push through the hard times for something you don’t actually care about.

Why do you want it, by what date do you want it, how will it make you feel, what does it look like (do a vision board). This way you’re not just aiming for it for the sake of ego or because you think its what society dictates you should have – its because it truly resonates deeply with you.

A new career or improving your work prospects may be as simple as a short course rather than a new degree. Saving more money probably just requires a better budget to be put in place. Spending more time with family is all about putting them on your social calendar.

None of these things are particularly hard, but without setting them as goals with actionable steps, it won’t happen.

When Is A Goal Realistic?

Remember The Little Train That Could? No neither do I really, but I do remember him chugging up a hill saying ‘I think I can’. Wonderful display of self-assurance. Great way to approach life. And an attitude that Lisa believes turns barriers into hurdles that can be overcome.

I really believe in the old adage ‘if you believe it you can conceive it’.  Often we keep ourselves small by not harnessing a killer self-belief.  So its more about equipping yourself with the tools to cultivate a mindset,” she says, “The best entrepreneurs on the planet have mindset as number one.”

Do You Need Steps?

Here comes the breaking it down part. Think of the biggest most audacious goal you can and then work back from there. What would it take to achieve it?” reckons Lisa. But how do you break it down?

Think about who would potentially fund this. Who could I partner with?  Who could I collaborate with?…Think about all the people you could surround yourself with to help you achieve your goal.  And then JUST START!

So that’s a strong yes to breaking it down, but how high should your steps be? Whether your goal is kind of big like starting a new business, or something more personal like getting abs (I don’t know, it’s the first thing I thought of), you don’t want to take on more than you can chew in one hit and freak yourself out before you even get anywhere.

Break the steps into bite-sized, easily achievable pieces so that you don’t get overwhelmed,” Lisa suggests, “Your goal might be ‘I want to start a business’. Well put a specific end date on this – let’s say 31 December 2018.  Then you have a goal to work towards. Now work backward.

So smaller goals for Lisa’s example of starting a business? “Domain name, website build, logo development, team, accounting, insurance, marketing strategy, product development.” You get the idea. Start small, build upon it. Set yourself dates to keep yourself accountable.

Can The Goal Ever Change?

What if you discover things as you’re working along your steps, getting closer to your goal that makes you suddenly realise you’re after something a little different then you originally thought?

Can you reassess your endgame or do you have to wait until you’ve reached it to set a new goal?

“Absolutely. That’s the key,” says Lisa, “Start with the end in mind but don’t be too attached to it. When you start, more often than not the idea will evolve, you may pivot, the market may demand something different and you may change and grow as a person in the process.  So reassess every day.