The Ultimate Guide to Crushing Your Goals in 2019
The new year is just on the horizon, and it's time to start figuring out how you'll make the most of it. Goal setting is vital for founders, their teams and the future of their venture. Goal setting has no special formula or hack; but there are a few things you can do to create goals you will actually accomplish. We've compiled some of the best resources from founders, reputable online sources and the Embarc Collective team to bring you The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide to Crush 2019.
"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it." — William Arthur Ward
Why Is Goal Setting Important?
At its core, goal setting simply allows us to visualize information. Neuroscientists have referred to this as the "generation effect".
"The generation effect refers to the finding that we typically remember information better when we have taken an active part in producing it, rather than having it provided to us by an external source." - DeWinstanley, Bjork, 2004
Students at Dominican University also found empirical evidence on the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals.
Writing your goals down, whether it's on paper, a notes app on your phone or sticky notes increases your chances of memorizing what you wrote. Any method of generating your goals visually will help you to remember them and stay accountable.
Ways to Visualize
Don't over think goal setting. It isn't a blocker intended to bring you down or a task required to actually make your start. And if approached the wrong way, goal setting can be more of a distraction than an opportunity. As you collect your supplies for goal setting, think about what's worked for you in the past. This isn't time to reinvent the wheel or try a process that you know won't work later down the line. Are you a pen and paper kind of person? Do you prefer to use Trello, OneNote or Evernote? Maybe you're not much of a writer and recording voice memos would work better. Whatever methods work best to help you generate your goals to revisit later - go with that.
Now that your supplies are ready, let's break goal setting DOWN.
10 Ways to Crush Your Goals
Here are a few tips to help you crush your goals in 2019 and beyond.
The most basic rule of goal setting is to set goals you'll actually stick to. However don't go easy on yourself. Your goals should be challenging. You have to push yourself, your team and startup to that next level. If you find yourself setting big goals think of the steps it takes to achieve that particular goal and from there create more manageable goals from those tasks.
Create specific goals that can be measured. As you set your goals, ask yourself if the goal you have in mind can be measured. If so, how? Are you looking for qualitative or quantitative results? If you're having a hard time answering these questions with your goals you've identified thus far, they may need to be reworked or scratched. It's essential to develop goals you can measure. Otherwise, how do you know you're actually crushing them?
Learn to delegate. As mentioned before you want to set goals you can accomplish. Some goals will require more hours than you have and that's where delegating your tasks comes in. Leverage your team or bring on extra help to cross that goal off your list.
Learn to say no. Not everything is a priority and it's okay to say no. Really it is. Reaching your goals requires discipline and mostly, time. Time that you have to spend carefully to make sure you get the best results out of this finite resource you have. Saying no will also allow you to balance the time you spend working, with family or caring for yourself.
Make goal setting a weekly task. Review your goals each week. Review what steps you took to get where you are now, don't forget to celebrate the small wins, and figure out what you have to do next. Your business and life constantly change and your goals will too. It's important to keep your goals flexible and ready to be changed entirely when new things come up.
Make your goals public. Sharing goals with family, friends, coworkers or even online will help you stay accountable. The pressure of "sticking to your word" will come into play here as you'll want to always report back to the public that you are indeed reaching your goals.
Learn something new. Reaching the next goal may require serious elbow grease and a new skill. Learning how to balance your own books, program your own product or design your own brand may be just what you need to get that goal checked off the list.
Join an organization or group. Surrounding yourself with like-minded professionals or peers can have a positive impact on reaching your goals. Share your goals with a community that can help you. The first tip we suggested to help you crush your goals was to delegate. Finding other founders or professionals to help you get tasks done is what's going to put you on top of your goals. Secondly, organizations are great places to share your goals for feedback on wins or failures. [Shameless plug for EC here?]
Drop what's not working and move on. This is hard to do at times, but the most effective when applied early. You might set a dud goal and sometimes that happens. It's important to constantly measure your progress - hence why you need goals you can track. If you identify something isn't working, drop it. Focus your time on the next goal and take the learning experiences to make the next steps better.
Make your wins real to you. This one is important. Celebrate the wins, milestones or benchmarks - no matter how small or big. As you cross things off your list, take time to appreciate your hard work and your team's hard work as well.
Business vs Personal Goals
As a founder, work-life balance becomes more like work-life integration; where your work and lifestyle complement each other, working in tandem to reach goals on both the professional and personal side. As you plan your business goals, you inevitably will define them by your personal goals and the lifestyle you want.
However, when goal setting, there has to be a difference between your business goals and personal goals. You may find that your startup demands more hours than you have available or that your personal life may impact the performance of your business goals. It's important to think of these as two lists and two separate ideas as you start to define the tasks to reach these goals.
Find a balance that works for you when goal setting professionally and personally. Starting with your personal goals first may help you decide how you want to approach the demands of your startup. Once you've completed both lists, look at what's similar. What personal goals will help you achieve your business goals and vice versa? Making these correlations will help you identify when business and personal do mix in your goal plan and when they don't.
Words from the Wise
You've read all the things you can do when setting goals and here are a few things you don't want to do when goal setting.
Wait for the perfect time to start. While many believe the new year is the best time to set goals, you should set goals any time, all the time. There is no perfect moment to start your next venture. Create goals now and work up to it.
Fail to create measurable goals. We've said it earlier but to really drive it home you need data behind your efforts. Not only will it help save money but you can use this to make leaner decisions about what steps to take next.
Not working on your goals everyday. Now we're not saying to work yourself to the bone, but make a small effort each day to work towards your professional and personal goals. Small steps eventually turn into big tasks that accomplish that goal. This is how 10 year overnight successes happen, people!
Not being flexible. Life changes, market demands change, businesses change and as a result goals change too. Keep your goals flexible. If things don't go as planned rework your goals. Goals aren't made in stone and for good reason. They are meant to change.
What Are Others Doing?
Don't we always want to know? We've asked a few Tampa Bay Area founders and members from the Embarc Collective team to share their goal setting tips and advice.
Rachel Carpenter, CEO and Co-Founder of Intrinio
Be cautious - don't set too many goals, and really question whether or not you need them. If you need to waste time writing them all down and categorizing them, buying a pretty schedule or planner to color code them in, are you really just procrastinating? Are you in a job you really enjoy? Try to focus on executing - just get stuff done. If you hadn't hamstrung yourself into a strict plan - do you think you could have done twice as many things?
Bobby Quinn, CEO and Founder of Raven Spatial
Find a mentor you trust. Share this drawn-out plan with them. They’ll likely be impressed that you articulated your plan so well, and will be able to give you a lot of useful feedback for consideration.
Fabio DeSousa, Data Insights Manager of Embarc Collective
I keep a list of broad priorities (e.g. spending time with family, continuing to learn, and staying healthy) and, for the priorities that need it, a list of goals to aim for in the next few months. I've also been recently inspired by Make Time (link in the resources section), a book by ex-Google designers Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, which advocates for setting a single "highlight" for each day, choosing the tactics you'll use to focus on it, and reflecting on what worked and what didn't.
Check in to see what's working (or not) and adapt accordingly. Both you and your priorities will evolve over time, so I feel that how you set and pursue your goals should as well.
Allie Felix, Director of Programming & Partnerships of Embarc Collective
At the start of every year, I complete this simple goal setting process that should take you about 30 minutes to complete. While many of these questions seem obvious, take a moment to reflect. Identify what matters most to you, some of your stale patterns, and how to take actionable progress toward your “reach” goals.
While you must learn to be comfortable putting a stake in the ground for what goals you want to achieve, you have to be flexible and adaptive as you receive new information. Sometimes simply the journey of your goal will lead you to the greatest opportunities, albeit different than you first intended.
Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO of Embarc Collective
As we launch Embarc Collective, there are a million micro-tasks that ladder up to our macro goals. I am completely dependent on techniques that allow me to keep all the moving pieces straight and do my part to push closer to my goals. My most effective technique is using a bullet journal (daily since 2016!) to keep track of the micro-tasks - because failing on the small stuff has consequences as you move towards your larger goals.
Also, I rely on Blinkist to give me 15 minutes summaries of all the books you're supposed to read on goal-setting and productivity but never have time to pick up (it's my productivity hack for learning how to be more productive 🙂 ).
Below is a list of other great goal setting articles, tools/sources of information, and books to help you set better goals.
- Business Planning Basics
- 6 Tips for Goal-Setting That They Don't Teach You in College
- Effective Goal Setting for Tech Entrepreneurs
- Bullet Journal Basics
- Passion Planner Basics
- Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
- EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Tools/Sources of Information
Printables To Help You Get Started
We've developed these download-ready printables to help you kick start your goal setting. In your download you will find a:
- Brainstorm Sheet
- Yearly Goals Planning Sheet
- Monthly Goals Planning Sheet
- Weekly Goals Planning Sheet
- Goal Review Sheet
If you want to stay green, these forms can also be filled in digitally on your browser or preferred PDF reader. If you fill out your worksheets in your browser be sure to select the Print option and choose Save as PDF for the destination to save your answers. More on how to do that here.
2019 is YOUR YEAR! Crush it!
DOWNLOAD YOUR WORKSHEETS BELOW