Why Yearly Goals are Terrible

I published this in June, where we’re just on the other side of the time of year that most people have stopped looking at their goals. They made some awesome New Year’s resolutions which have now fallen by the wayside. It was all good intentions and little follow through.

That’s because yearly goals suck. Over the course of the next few weeks we’re going to look at how you can revamp your goal setting. I’ll even show you how I integrate tracking that in my Bullet Journal so I don’t fall behind on the actions.

A Year is Too Long for Goals

The first issue with yearly goals is that a year is way to long a timeframe. They leave way too much room for “future you” to get stuck with all the work. It’s easy to assume that at some fabled point in the future things will change and you’ll start doing the actions that are needed to reach your goals.

You won’t. The greatest predictor of your future success, is the actions you’re taking right now. If your lead indicator (we’ll talk about those in a bit) is to call 3 prospects and you’re only talking to one a week, you’re behind and you’re going to notice that in sales.

We see failed annual thinking every year in February at gyms across the world. Those overfull bastions of January are now empty and the regulars are back doing what they did before.

A year is way to long to stay focused. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can.

Yearly Goals Never Focus on Daily Actions

A second big issue with yearly goals is that they don’t focus on actions. Specifically on lead indicators. They look at some end of year income goal, and hope beyond hope that it will happen.

Hope is not a strategy. It’s a wish and there is no fairy godmother waiting to make your business dreams come true. There is only you and the actions you’re taking today to push your business forward.

Yearly goals, rarely focus on weekly and daily actions. Even when they do, you don’t know what’s going to be happening in your industry next month, let alone 12 months away. The actions that are working right now may not be working in 3 months.

When you’re focusing on the same set of actions for 12 months, you don’t have built in stopping points to check in with your actions to make sure that they’re still pointing you in the right direction. The only stopping point is 12 months away and you’re probably never going to check in anyway.

You need quarterly larger planning sessions to dig deep into your actions and make sure that they’re still taking you down the right path.

Why Do You Get So Much Done Before Vacation?

We’ve all experienced getting two weeks worth of work done in the four days before we go on vacation. The big question is, why did the work take two weeks in the first place? Clearly we did it in four days.

That only leaves one conclusion, we’re freaking lazy the rest of the time. We’re not focused and we let distractions in. We don’t do the vital few things that matter in our work with focus. We waffle around in our days and call it work.

By focusing quarterly, we can bring more urgency to our projects. By measuring our actions weekly, we can push that urgency and bring a work ethic that’s much closer to pre-vacation you to bear on your work.

We Like to Stick With Comfort

An average person who develops the habit of setting clear priorities and getting important tasks completed quickly will run circles around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans but who gets very little done. – Eat That Frog

It’s a myth that you need to be a genius to break out and “win”. You need to focus relentlessly on your goals. You need to make those actions happen day in day out for months or years.

Then you get “overnight” success.

But we’re lazy. The number of people I talk to that say they have no time to read like me and tell me about all the other things they do, like spend a bunch of time on their social media of choice, is maddening. They have time but they don’t want to read. They just want to sound like someone that reads, so they talk about it in some wistful tone.

We all have the same 168 hours in the week. Some of you are lazy about it and some of you aren’t. That’s most of the difference between you and the successful person you idolize. They aren’t lazy like you.

Is there some element of luck involved? Yes, but as Ryan Holiday says in Perennial Seller1 “The more you do, the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.”

Setting quarterly goals and focusing on the actions needed to hit the goals will mean, you’re going to get luckier.

Over the course of these next weeks I’ll be showing you an alternate path to goals because, yearly goals suck. We’ll look at how I start a new notebook to help my stay framed on what matters to me. We’ll talk about understanding the problems you have so you can solve them and we’ll look at what it looks like as I brainstorm my goals for the quarter.

Photo by: 59263516@N08

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