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5 Steps (Back) to Get Ahead with Your Goals

When you're trying to reach your goals, start with "the end in mind"!

When you’re trying to reach your goals, start with “the end in mind”!

Now that you’ve set a goal for 2014, declared a New Year’s Resolution, have you taken your first step? You see, there are results goals (the outcome that we want), and then there are action goals (the action we will take to reach our desired outcome). And that’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s one thing to declare “I want to double my sales”, or “I am going to be more productive”, but when we define what action steps we will take to reach those outcomes we begin to see results (for more about results and action goals see here).

But knowing what those steps are can befuddle even the best in business. When a client is struggling to define the steps to reach their goal, I walk them through the process I’m about to share here.

Entrepreneurs are big thinkers – great at knowing where they want to end up. Defining the steps to reach that destination can feel mundane, cumbersome, and well…boring. Small business owners are fond of the expression “make it happen!” but without a large staff to “make it happen” those details often fall on your shoulders, the small business owner.

To easily define those action steps, and to take the most efficient path, here’s my remedy for detail-offended entrepreneurs:

  1.  Begin with the end result – feel it, believe it, know it.
  2. Once you can envision reaching that goal, ask what step you would have taken right before you reached the goal?
  3. What action would you have taken immediately before that?
  4. And before that?
  5. Continue backing up until you reach an action step that you can, and will, take today.

By starting at your goal, you include only those actions that produce results and that are the most effective and efficient. The best part is that once you’ve walked backwards to where you are today, you’ve defined a comprehensive action plan designed by you, in full detail, to your desired goal.

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Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.