Setting goals when you don’t know what yours are

advice | business

Can you tell goals are a big thing on my mind lately? This is my first year as a full-time self-employed type so I’m quite proud of myself for getting into this mindset about my business, at last. You see, when I ran my business part-time, it was never something particularly high on my agenda. Goal setting never has been. I joke about this but I have bumbled my way through life and it’s served me pretty well for almost 40 years. But I realise setting goals, especially when you run a business, is pretty damn important. But when you’ve never set goals before, how do you figure out what yours are? Here comes my attempt at a helpful post on how to set your goals for 2020 when you don’t know what yours are.

Brace yourself!

So, what are goals and why should you set them?

The word goal feels a bit corporate and business-y, doesn’t it? Ok, so why don’t we re-phrase that word and get off on a better foot with it?

Instead of thinking of them as goals, what about thinking of them as missions or ambitions? I could have gone with targets or objectives, but they felt even more corporate than that goal word. But think about it in football terms (the proper one, American friends!)… What is a goal? It’s an aim, the thing that scores points and makes the crowds cheer and has you running around with your shirt over your head, right? So, there you go then. That’s what you’re aiming for.

And why? Well, everyone knows getting cheered and scoring points (and running around with your shirt over your head) feels pretty good, doesn’t it? What happens when you score your goal? You feel a sense of achievement. You put your team into a winning position (hopefully). And, if you keep scoring goals, you get to win the cup and be thought of as the champion. 

Ok, I’m done with the football analogy now, mostly because I don’t want to get into dribbling and that pesky off-side rule. 

The point is, having goals for your business gives you focus. It gives you a starting point and a base from which to work. Figure out what goals you want to achieve over the next year and you’ll have a framework, a guide for what to do over the next 12 months. It’s pretty powerful stuff. From marketing to budgeting and spending your money, you’ll know what needs to be done and when because of the goals you’ve set.

So, let’s do this, shall we?

Where do you even start when it comes to deciding goals? 

This is a question I have asked myself a lot over the years. Look, I get it. I have always been the girl who hasn’t even decided what she’s having for dinner this evening. And when they ask me, in job interviews, where I see myself in a year, five years or even ten years down the road, I never know what to answer. 

But I’m realising that I’m doing myself a disservice. 

Someone asked me recently, “Don’t you ever dream?” It surprised me because I’m a huge dreamer. I daydream constantly (literally just lost 5 minutes staring out the window before I wrote that sentence). I have aspirations and hopes and ambitions as much as the next person. I wistfully look at the expensive houses on the internet and wonder if, one day, I might be able to afford one of them. I look at the travel blogs and wonder when I’ll get to visit those places. I see fellow business owners with their successful businesses and I wonder whether that will ever be me in the future. 

Which is when it hit me. Those dreams… are goals! 

It doesn’t matter that they might be “big things”. That’s kinda what goals generally are. Because if you’re not aiming for the big things, then what is the point? That being said, those aren’t the be-all and end-all of the goal-making factory. There are the little goals too. The ones that seem less important, insignificant even, but have their place just as much as the big dreams. 

Like, for example, one of my goals for 2020 is to go and see Alanis Morisette play on her world tour she has announced. It’s not a huge thing, especially if she announces a Vancouver date (fingers crossed!), but it’s something I want to aim towards next year. Here’s another… I want to read 20 books by the end of next year. Again, it’s not a massive thing, but it’s my thing and, if I achieve it, it’ll be 5 up from this year! 

Do you see where I’m going with this? 

Goals are any THING you want to achieve. Any THING you have to do some work to get to. Any THING that gives you a sense of achievement and reward for completing it!

So, if you’ve never thought about setting goals before or if you’ve always thought you don’t know any goals you’d like to set, I urge you to grab a pen and paper, or open up a word document and start writing. Get it all out, doesn’t matter how big or small, how significant or inconsequential it might seem. Get it all down on paper and let’s make next year your best one yet.

I’d love to hear one of your goals if you’re willing to share! Drop a comment below and let me know one thing on your list!