Unfortunately, not every goal is a good goal. Goal-setting is a skill which can be broken down into three easily defined, concrete steps:

Brainstorm your big objective.

What are you trying to accomplish professionally or personally? Create a new product line? Streamline a process? Outsource some of your tasks? At this step, we’re trying to get to your highest-level goal, so when you name something, ask yourself, “WHY?”

For instance, if you say, “I want to create a new information product,” then ask yourself, “Why?” You may answer, “So I can make money.” That may seem like a logical endpoint, but don’t stop there, go further.

Ask yourself “WHY” you want to make money and you’ll see that there are a variety of possible motivators. You may say you want to make more money so you can:

– Quit your day job.
– Take a vacation and pay cash.
– Pay off debt.
– Buy a new car.

Each one of these objectives is slightly different; and is going to result in a slightly different path to success. Knowing your “WHY” helps you determine your “HOW.”

Define your goal in specific language.

But that’s still not enough!  In order to set an excellent goal, you need to know EXACTLY how much money you want to make.

Use losing weight as an example. Instead of the vague “I want to lose weight so I feel better,” say, “I want to lose 20 pounds in six months so I can fit into my new bathing suit, jeans, etc. The more specific and detailed you make your goal, the easier it is to visualize and measure your progress.

Here’s another example. Let’s say your goal is to outsource as much of your business as you can. Your “Why” is to save you time so you have the ability to create new products, ultimately make more money and quit your day job.

You may state a simple goal like “I want to outsource 50% of my tasks.” Outsourcing is a worthy objective, but it’s not a good goal. Because your real goal is to save time, you want to define your goal in terms of hours. A better goal would be, “I want to outsource enough work so I save myself 4 hours a day.” This goal is much more defined and specific – and related to your higher-level objective!

Set a time-frame for your goal.

What if your goal was to make $10,000 to pay off your credit card debt? Do you want that money by next year, next month, or by the time you retire? Each of those scenarios will result in very different strategies.

Putting a time-frame to a goal gives it an inherent sense of urgency, and helps us better attain our goals.

Goal-setting isn’t a scary, overwhelming, or extremely difficult task. In fact, it’s pretty simple when you break it down into steps. But it is still possible to make mistakes when creating and defining your goals. In the coming weeks we’ll discuss mistakes in goal-setting, and what you can do to avoid them.

Jeannine Grich, owner of Accurate Business Services, a VA practice, is an author, writer, speaker, and VA Business Coach, specializing in providing professional business coaching to established and start-up virtual assistants (VA’s).  For her FREE article,  “What’s Holding Back my Business Success?” Visit:  http://www.VAbizcoach.com; or contact her at: http://vabizcoach.com/contact-us/.