achieving goalsYou’re going on vacation but haven’t settled on a destination.

Should you fill up the car with gas or make airline reservations? Hard to say.  Depends on where you’re going.  Should you pack swimsuits or sweaters? Who knows — until you know where you’re going. Can you make it a long weekend or should you plan on 7-10 days. Tough to determine that until you know how much time you’ll be spending getting to and from your destination.

It’s impossible to get to your destination and be prepared – if you don’t know where you’re going.

Business is like that, too. One reason people don’t reach their goals is that they don’t know exactly what their goal is and therefore don’t do the right steps to make it happen.

It’s easy to spend every day in a flurry of business activity and yet still not get any closer to your destination, if you don’t know what your destination is.

Being vague is a bad as having no idea. “Serve more customers” is vague. “Create an online self-study product that solves the problem of getting the right things done” is specific. The latter destination allows for the development of specific tasks to be done to realize the outcome. (That’s a destination I’m working on, so stay tuned.)

Business and life are moving so fast that what’s suffering is time to think about what you want to achieve in very specific terms.

Carve out some time in your schedule — and commit to it – when you’ll sit quietly and assess where you’re going. Do you want to be going where you’re going now or is this a default destination? Give it some focused thought.

Make a one-year or three-year plan, or both, that includes specifics. Then, make monthly and weekly commitments around the tasks you need to do to achieve the goals in your one- and three-year plans. Revisit those monthly and weekly commitments to make certain you’re on track, spending your time doing the right things.  The monthly and weekly specifics will morph over time, so don’t get bogged down worrying that you can’t get started because you don’t know all the tasks.

The two tough parts of this process are: 1) sitting quietly and thinking it through, and 2) making choices about what you’ll focus on and letting other ideas go.

You simply can’t do it ALL so don’t try. Choose the high impact projects and commit to do the tasks required to achieve those goals one step at a time. Narrow your focus, stay on track and do the right work.