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Published on January 14, 2019

What Are Measurable Goals and Why You Need Them For Success

What Are Measurable Goals and Why You Need Them For Success

Daydreams can be delightful. We are mesmerized by the idea of things that are new, exciting, that change our lives and prospects. This is the basis for state lottery systems. They sell one-dollar daydream machines.

There is nothing wrong with a good daydream, unless they keep you from working toward a goal, and goals are only vaguely related to daydreams. A goal is specific and obtainable through planning and diligence. Daydreams can be turned into goals, but this requires work. Since some people are immune to work, they continue to daydream instead. They will not endeavor to do the Tough Things First that are the initial steps toward achieving goals.

Why Measurement Matters

One of my marketing director’s favorite lines is “If it cannot be expressed in numbers, then it is not a fact, just an opinion.” This is true. Likewise, a desired outcome that cannot be measured is a daydream, not a goal.

It is defining outcomes, then establishing how they will be measured, that creates a goal.

On my journey to becoming Silicon Valley’s longest serving CEO, I set many goals, and had some set for me. Each had a specific and numeric mode for measuring if the goals were reached. I went into business for myself because I never wanted to work for anyone else, ever again.

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I succeeded in that goal, and it was a simple enough measurement – 37 years without a boss. Well, at least not at the office – home is a different matter.

I also had a goal of not enabling anyone to take over operational control of my semiconductor company. In Silicon Valley, this meant not taking venture capital money because VCs manhandle startup CEOs, often kicking them to the curb if rapid growth is not achieved. My alternative was to borrow a lot of money from banks, who normally do not lend to startups like mine.

In my process of twisting banker’s arms until they lent me the money to start my company, they added many very specific success measurements. My debt to equity ratio target became one-to-one. Three profitable quarters in each year was required. Each was a goal unto itself, and measurable with math. Each of these smaller goals, added to my own business goals, then became the checkpoints for knowing if I was to achieve the big goal of being boss-free for the rest of my days.

Now, imagine doing any of this – earning a salary without a boss, convincing bankers to lend you money, running a successful enterprise – without goals. You likely came to the quick realization that an unmeasurable goal has no end nor a real start. It is a daydream and nothing more.

What Are Measurable Goals

Goals must be realistic. Realism is goal setting gold.

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You might have the daydream of flapping your arms and soaring with the eagles, but that is not realistic. However, a goal of increasing your sales closing rate by 5% is realistic and in no small part because you have a valid measurement.

Similarly, you can daydream about losing some weight (vague) or you can define a weight loss goal of 10 pounds before your high school reunion (specific, numeric and time constrained). The specificity of your goal is the first step to success. This gives you an endpoint and makes it tangible. It also provides you the terms for measuring your success.

One realistic goal, well defined, is very likely to come true. One unrealistic goal is likely to fail. A realistic goal with lousy definition is impossible to achieve, for there is no actual goal. And 100 goals will all fail because no human can chase that many objectives.

These are the reasons most New Year resolutions die quick deaths.

When making New Years goals, people tend to be vague. Scanning social media for common New Year’s resolutions people have posted, I see way too many entries like “start a new hobby”, “travel” and “read more books”. If I indulged in wagering, I’d bet a lot of cash that none of those goals came true because none were specific.

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However, if they were restated as “build a table-top size HO train model”, “spend a week exploring Thailand” and “read three leadership books starting with Tough Things First”, then most of these goals would be met. Each is realistic. Each is measurable. Each can easily have an action plan built around it.

If you want a real-world example, let’s talk about a friend of mine. On the side he is a semi-pro musician and songwriter. But aside from an occasional gig at a local saloon, he was not doing much with the songs he had written. A year ago, he set a goal of producing his first solo album, and that it had to have at least 10 songs on it. Clear goals. He had no band, no deep recording experience, and really no money for studio time. But nine months later, he released his first album.

One reason he was able to achieve this was that he temporarily shoved aside his other passions. This was, in effect, reducing the number of goals he was working toward. Remember, I said that a small number of realistic and well-defined goals is doable. This is precisely what he did.

This begs an interesting question, namely “How many goals can, or should I pursue at one time?” Though the number varies depending on the person and their daily circumstances, the proper range is less than five and for most folks maybe three.

Sundry studies have shown that people max-out at remembering or prioritizing three things. It stands to reason that they could not likely handle more than three significant goals simultaneously. More than three begs dividing limited time, resources and attention to doing your best at any one of them.

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Since there is little or no value to only partially achieving a goal, why risk doing poorly on five goals when doing really well at three, or two, or one really important goal is more satisfying?

The Bottom Line

All this said, one thing really helps in succeeding at reaching a goal. If it is personal to you – deeply, movingly personal – you will have the drive and the stamina to work past the tiny frustrations that often accompany pursuit of a goal. Self-improvement goals tend to be the most personal since they involve making a better you.

Want a great New Year. Simple. Set two well-defined, personal improvement goals that can be measured. Odds are you will succeed, and the glow of success makes it that much easier to repeat the process again, and again, and again.

More Resources About Achieving Goals

Featured photo credit: Green Chameleon via unsplash.com

More by this author

Ray Zinn

Ray Zinn is an inventor, entrepreneur, investor, angel, bestselling author and the longest serving CEO of a publicly traded company in Silicon Valley.

The Secret of Success: 10 Tough Things to Do First Achieve Career Success at Any Age: 17 Things to Keep in Mind 18 Ways to Have Effective Communication in the Workplace What Are Measurable Goals and Why You Need Them For Success 4 Effective Ways to Motivate Employees During the Busy Holiday Season

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Published on June 19, 2019

Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back

Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back
Pause for a moment and think about how you would describe success.

If your description is dominated by money or status, then your image of success is faulty.

For example, there are countless people who have these assets but don’t feel successful. Some of these people have enormous amounts of disposable income, but work so many hours during the day that they have no life beyond their work.

Would you regard these people as successful?

At first glance, I likely wouldn’t.

And, then there are the endless celebrities who go from fame to failure (think bankruptcy, addictions and worse).

Are they successful?

Probably not.

In truth, success is about happiness and fulfillment in life.

But, there is more than one definition of success. Just look at the above example of the person who worked too hard to spend their money. If they’re happy with their life, then we shouldn’t criticize their version of success.

So how about you? Do you have a clear definition of what success looks like for you?

If you don’t, you’ll be constantly chasing someone else’s idea of success, and could find yourself totally unfulfilled and miserable.

The good news is that over the next few minutes, I’m going to give you the tools you need to build a crystal clear picture of YOUR SUCCESS.

Positive Thinking

With the right attitude, anything can seem possible.

For instance, if you’re fed up with your job, but do nothing to change it, then you’ll likely be stuck there for years to come. But, if you see the job as a stepping stone to something bigger and better, then not only will you enjoy your work more, but you’ll have something positive to aim towards (e.g., a promotion or new job).

The example above demonstrates a little-known factor of success… suffering!

Yes, suffering may be a negative thing that most people go out of their way to avoid; but successful people use suffering as a springboard to big achievements. Mindset really does separate the losers from the winners.

Another thing you can do, is to gradually build up your positivity and confidence by tracking your progress towards your goals. And, each time you accomplish something – however small – be sure to celebrate it!

This is a great way to propel you towards success.

The Purpose of a Purpose

What is your purpose in life?

These are questions I suggest you spend some time thinking about. To help you find the answers, consider the following:

If you just seek a career, all you will find is a career.

But, if you seek a purpose, you’ll find something much more than a career – you’ll find your calling. And when you’ve found this, and you begin following it, you’ll be firmly in the middle of the happiness, satisfaction and success zone.

This is backed by science, with research showing that people who have a purpose and meaning in life have an increase in:[1]
  • Overall well-being
  • Mental and physical health
  • Resiliency
  • Self-esteem

But, don’t mistake seeking happiness and success as your purpose. These things are a natural result of following your purpose – but shouldn’t be your focal point.

Austrian Neurologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said it well:

“It is the very pursuit of happiness, that thwarts happiness.”

What about YOUR purpose?

If you’re struggling to identify it, look for the things in your life that you’re good at, enthuse you, and provide a benefit to the world.

Becoming a Better You

Are your beliefs holding you back?

If yes, here are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to break out of your mind trap:

  1. Boost Your Confidence: you can do this by overcoming challenges that come your way. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, face this challenge head-on by agreeing to do regular presentations for your company, or by joining a public speaking organization like Toastmasters International. Speak in public often enough, and your fear of it will plunge like a river going over a waterfall.
  2. Develop Healthy Habits: I’m talking about positive habits that will serve you day in, day out. Habits such as lifelong learning, eating well, and waking up early. When these things are automatic for you, you’ll reap incredible benefits from them. Take eating well, for example. You’ll feel better. You’ll look better. And you’ll have way more energy to make things happen in your life.
  3. Invoke the Magic of Goal Setting: Without goals, you’ll drift through life like a plastic bottle in the sea. But with goals, you’ll be like a 100m sprinter running towards the finishing line. Goals really are powerful tools. They’ll direct your focus and energy, and will allow you to track your progress in life. I recommend the SMART goal-setting method (find out about this here).

And, always remember… don’t compare yourself to others; only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

Each step you take forward is making you a better version of you.

Success Is Self-Love

I encourage you to take the tips I’ve shared in this article and put them into action in your life. Ideally, starting right now!

Firstly, transform your mindset by facing up to challenges and overcoming them. Then spend time to discover your purpose. And, once you’ve found it – start following it.

Becoming a better version of you will take some time, but will be worth the wait. Not only will you reach into untapped potential in your life, but you’ll also develop respect and love for yourself along the way.

So don’t let your beliefs hold you back anymore. BREAK FREE from them and start enjoying a happy, healthy and successful life.

Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

Reference

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