“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”

For any business to succeed, you need to have very specific plans and goals that you want to achieve. Of course, these should be open to revision, but you need to start somewhere.

SMART goals

Goals need to be:

Specific

Measurable

Action-oriented

Realistic

Time-bound

SMART goals allow you to plan for your goals better.

Type of goals

I find it best to categorize your goals into three types:

Long term goals: These are 5 or 10-year goals. These could be “Buy a house in Calgary” or “Make a million dollars”.

Short term goals: These are half to 1-year goals. E.g. if you want to buy that house in Calgary, how much money should you earn this year, should you sell some property this year, and/ or should you and your spouse look for some income on the side?

Immediate goals: These are daily and weekly goals. What are you going to achieve this week or today? Maybe you start a fixed deposit to save for that house in Calgary.

Planning backwards

To get from your long term goals to your immediate goals, you need to plan backwards, i.e. from the end goal to the immediate tasks at hand. Break down the goal into various tasks, then break them up again, and again until you reach the smallest task to perform.

Now put all tasks in various levels (as you broke them down) and prioritize tasks at each level. Which ones are absolute must haves? Which ones need to be completed first? Use a mindmap or Microsoft Word SmartArt to create your tasks.

Your chart should look something like this. I used SmartArt to create this. Yours could be using a mindmap or simply on paper.

Set deadlines for each task. If you miss a deadline, see how it impacts your goal and reassess whether you are still going to be able to achieve this goal. Make changes if necessary.

Planning backwards allows you to create easy, doable tasks to achieve your long term goals. Start making them today!

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