If you recall, we have been using the analogy of a literal journey to discover the importance of setting goals in life and business. We have already established that on any particular journey our final destination can be seen as a long-term goal. In the previous article we assigned our mid term goals to various way-points on our journey.
Okay, so the journey we have been discussing over the last five articles may not have been a journey of *1000 miles but whatever the length of the journey, it will begin with either a physical step or an action of some sort.
Today we are looking at short term goals. How can we illustrate the importance of short-term goals by referring back to the idea of taking a literal journey?
Goal Setting = Journey Planning
Have you ever planned a journey using Google maps or a Sat-Nav system? If so you will remember that when you request directions you will be supplied with a list of instructions which will finally take you to your destination. Some of those instructions we can relate to mid term goals. For example you may be guided to take a particular course or road for many miles involving a long period of driving before you reach the next way-point. However some of the instructions may only take you a short distance before a change of direction or a point which you can use as a reference. These short distance instructions we can see as being similar to short-term goals. Some writers advocate, “keeping your eye or mindset on the long term goal” (or destination), and don’t bother with short term goals, but to me that’s a bit like saying, “Keep your eye on the distant landmark, don’t worry about the road immediately in front of you”, – surely a recipe for disaster!
When you are driving through a town or city you have to apply short distance instructions to successfully negotiate the traffic systems, possible hold-ups, traffic lights and temporary diversions etc. The more familiar you are with those instructions the easier it is to drive through that section of your journey. If you are relying on written directions, it helps of course if you are able to memorise them, which means in turn that they should be prominent in your mind.
Likewise as an entrepreneur, when working within your business you will probably find that you need to set a whole series of short-term goals in order to keep you on track, especially at times when you are busy, facing decisions, changing direction, tempted by diversions, held up by problems and contending with competition. The more thorough you are in setting your short term goals, that is, your essential day to day plans, and keeping them in mind, the easier it is move your business forward.
How to avoid getting sidetracked
Many people will think of goal setting as being the same as making a ‘to do’ list, but I have found this has limited value. In fact sometimes making a ‘not to do’ list is very effective because in today’s fast moving commercial world it is so easy to become distracted and do things which are not really helpful in pursuing our long-term goal. This is like ignoring the directions from Google or our GPS and wandering off down side streets or towards attractions or shopping areas – very interesting, but time consuming and certainly not helping us get to our destination at our projected ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival).
* “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu Today’s quote.
In the next article, discover why there is a better system than making your daily plans first thing in the morning!