Working Intentionally for Long-Term Results
- Writing down your goals increases the likelihood of achieving them
Today let’s talk a little bit about goal-setting. It’s a highly-regarded and fairly well-understood concept , yet it is not practiced often enough. We’re big believers in goal-setting here at Apparatus. Creating a goal inspires a mental picture of growth, forward movement, and ultimately, success. Goals are hard work, but they’re fun to chase. Few things can compare to the overflowing pride we experience when we realize, wow, we’ve done it! We really DID it.
So how do you set goals? Well, start by sitting down and thinking about all you or your company has achieved, what it’s on its way to achieving and what it could achieve. Write down some reasonable goals which you anticipate completing before the year’s over. Sprinkle in some long-term aspirations to over-arch those. By setting short-term goals alongside long-term ones, you’ll set yourself up for motivator moments throughout the year. These will boost your confidence and reinforce your faith in attaining those bigger picture visions.
Appreciate Your Progress
When you hit a goal marker, congratulate yourself. You created an important milestone in your company’s quest for improvement and you reached it. This is big. Think of how great it feels! It doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as organizing a long-ignored filing cabinet – you followed through! Follow through is one of the most crucial habits a business owner can acquire. We say acquire because it’s very much a learned trait. You’re on your way to possessing this skill every time you hit those smaller goals.
Sometimes our path toward reaching an objective can feel bittersweet, and almost exhausting. Why is this? It’s because we’re looking at how much further we must go, instead of seeing how far we’ve come.
Let’s say you’ve made your goal list, and that list says you’re to organize one filing cabinet every month for a year. You’ve set yourself up to achieve an organized office at a reasonable pace, which is great! January comes to an end, and you’re on track: one filing cabinet is totally organized and you’re able to find everything you need. Yet you immediately interrupt your fleeting moment of accomplishment. “Oh great, 11 more to go. I’ve barely even made a dent. This one filing cabinet is nothing! What’s the point?”
Think of how disappointed you feel with your progress now! You almost feel worse than before you even began. We have all experienced this, and so many business owners find themselves hitting that brick wall over and over due to this kind of behavioral response. So, what’s a well-intentioned contractor to do?
Change Your Behavior
Ignore the other 11 filing cabinets. Look at the one filing cabinet you’ve organized and think of how, for the rest of this year, you’ll never be stuck hunched over this cabinet again, scrounging around paperwork. It’s done. Wouldn’t you rather take 11 messy filing cabinets over 12 messy filing cabinets? Our perspective completely shifts when we start measuring our success in goal-chasing not on what still lies ahead, but on how far we’ve come since we began. Pretty powerful stuff, right?
As industry go-getters, many of us have higher expectations than we even realize. It’s easy to become complacent in a business that is stagnant and steady, yet unmoving. Once you start meeting some of the goals you know will ultimately push your business forward, you’re creating a higher standard. Now, you refuse to settle for less than that standard. When coupled with our counter-productive habit of measuring our progress against a future ideal instead of how far we have come from our starting point, we become frustrated at our progress.
Goal setting requires you to confront yourself and take inventory of what’s been working for you and what hasn’t. From there, assessing what changes can be made will leave you with a strategy for improvement. Write down your goals, congratulate yourself on wins, measure against your starting point, and maintain your high standards. Once you start moving your business forward, you might find yourself impossible to stop!
A great starting goal? Becoming a favored, hireable contractor!
Having trouble organizing your back office? We can help!