Do you have a “bucket list” of things you want to do or see during your lifetime? What about dreams for your hobbies or things you’d like to achieve in your practice? Everyone has goals, but not everyone reaches them. It’s so easy to let the years go by without doing any of the things you wanted to do. Writing down goals, however—specific, time-defined goals in every area of your life, including business and personal—is that first step to actually achieving any of them.

Writing Down the Things You Want to Achieve

Why bother setting in-depth goals and writing them down? It’s so easy to let the months and years drift by. You become so busy getting through the days that you end up not achieving anything. Goals help you structure your time and measure your progress as you move forward in every area of your life, professional and otherwise. You can’t just think of them, though. They have to be written down. They need to be on paper and in front of you regularly, so you can be constantly reminded of them. Otherwise you will simply forget and find yourself off track, failing to achieve the things you want for your life.

What Goal-Setting Can Do for You

Goal-setting is deceptively simple, but it requires a lot of thought. It forces you to consider what you value and what you’d like to achieve. It doesn’t just apply to your practice, either. The best, most effective goals encompass every area of your life—business, personal, financial, health, and fun—to help you stay balanced and achieve all your aims. There are three big ways actually writing down your goals helps you move forward:

Goals Focus You. Goal-setting is hard work. But if you actually go through with it—considering what you’d like to achieve, writing out what’s important to you in each area of your life—having your goals in front of you focuses your efforts. You know exactly what you are working towards and why you are working at all. You then make the decision every day, even every minute, for whether or not you’re going to work toward them or not.

Just as importantly, this allows you to say “no” to anything that wants your time and your attention but is not going to help you achieve your goals. These are projects, activities, or business ventures that aren’t in and of themselves bad; they will just distract you from what you actually want to achieve in life. Now you can say, “I wish I could help. Unfortunately, I can’t. That’s not in line with my goals. But I wish you luck!” This way, you avoid burning yourself out on extra things that don’t help you move forward.

Goals Inspire You. The weeks, months, and years go by fairly quickly, and typically with increasing speed. However, the average day is mundane, routine, and so filled with work that people often find themselves busy all the time and feeling frustrated that they aren’t accomplishing the things that need to get done. Written goals give you vision, hope, and inspiration for why you’re doing the day-to-day work. They remind you every time you see them exactly where you are headed. So even if you have a bad day, you can still say you know why you do what you do. It’s because you care about this list of things and where you are taking your life. You aren’t putting up with the daily grind “just because.”

Goals Reveal to You What You Actually Value. They act as a mirror, reflecting what you really value. If you value your marriage and family relationships with your children, you will want to make them a priority. Your goals will show you that. Your day-to-day working life may say the opposite, because it’s easy to get caught up at work, come home late, and feel stressed or frustrated all the time. But if you do value those areas, your goals will show you and allow you to focus on saying no to the things that prevent you from achieving those priorities. They will inspire you to make the changes your practice or anything needs to allow you to do the things you want—like getting home on time.

“Slow Down to Speed Up.”

Here at Top Practices, we have a system for developing and consistently reviewing and re-setting goals so our members keep moving forward. It’s all about slowing down to speed up. Slow down to focus on what you’d like to achieve. Slow down to cut out the extra stuff that gets in the way. Slow down to reorganize and restructure your life or your practice to allow you to focus on what you actually value. In the end, you’ll find this helps you speed up. You’re able to do more, grow more, and live more, because you’re rested, happy, and enjoying the things you want to do.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Where you start, though, is by writing down those goals. Top Practices has a six-week workshop for members that helps you figure out how to organize everything you’d like to achieve, and how to work towards it. Don’t be overwhelmed by the future. Let it focus, inspire, and challenge you to invest in the things you actually value. If you’d like more information about the goal-setting workshop or how the Top Practices Mastermind program can help you achieve your practice and personal goals, contact us by emailing [email protected] or calling (717) 725-2679.