February 11

How to set goals you can actually achieve

Maura Marziano

“How to set goals you can actually achieve” is part of a continuing five-part series, titled “The Pull of Change” that shares some of my experiences implementing transformational change in my personal life as well as in the business I oversee.


This post discusses setting reasonable and ambitious goals. We’ve already covered “the tipping point” and recognizing the need for change.


How to set goals you can actually achieve

I want to assume that you have an idea of a goal if you’re reading this, but in my experience, most people avoid setting concrete goals. However, the first step in achieving a goal is naming one. People avoid setting goals because they’d rather achieve something small and call it a win. Don’t sell your vision short. Put that goal out there and formulate your plan to reach it.


Some people insist on SMART goals which feel a little gimmicky to me, but I get it. Yes, you should place a timeline on your goal and some type of measurement. As you arrive at those specifics, shoot for something that is challenging and demanding, but not setting you up for failure. Here are some values to adopt in formulating your own goals.


Declare an honest objective

Honesty is crucial and works immediately. Call it your “why”, call it your purpose, whatever gets you through the day. But be honest about why you want to make a change in your business and write it down. You don’t have to tell anybody but yourself but put it out into the ether. Getting closer to the truth of what you want will harness more of your fire and bring you closer to designing your tangible goals.


Be reasonable and relevant

One tip here is not to moon-shoot with your goals. My Fitness Pal gave me an option of losing one pound a week and netting 1200 calories a day or losing half a pound a week and netting 1500 per day. One pound a week was too aggressive for me realistically. I knew it would mean relying on a workout regimen that I would likely not keep. Despite my hastiness to make a change, I made an honest assessment of who I am and what I would likely accomplish on a consistent basis.


Choose a goal that challenges you but doesn’t set you up for failure and disappointment. Be kind to yourself without letting up on your ideals. Weight loss and business health are both marathons, not sprints. Push yourself but be reasonable about what you can achieve and forgive yourself for not being the superhuman who becomes perfect by tomorrow.


Having said that, create a basis of fact for your goals. If you want to make 12M this year, what does that growth look like month-to-month? Break down scenarios into readily understandable units. If revenue for you now averages around $300K/month, you would need to increase your revenue by 20% month over month to get to 12M at end of the year. If you look at the monthly revenue you would need by December and want to puke, consider loosening up.


Your goals should make you a bit uncomfortable, but excited. They should not make you feel like throwing in the towel before you begin.