The Power of Short-Term Goals

I've been on somewhat of a self improvement kick lately. Well, lately might be an understatement. Perhaps, I've been on a self improvement kick for the past few decades, would be more accurate. However, I've found that, for me, the key is short-term goals. By short term I mean a day or two up to no more than a week.


I've been able to lose just about 40 lbs., but I rarely think about my ultimate goal. I think about where I want to be by Friday. I've only missed two of my short term goals. This is because it doesn't seem overwhelming to think about a pound or two, where as losing tens of pounds seems unimaginable. 


I've set a goal of listening to the top 25 jazz albums of all time. If I had the goal of "getting into jazz" I would have failed. Listening to an album or two a week, who can't do that? As a result, I find myself listening to Mingus or Miles quite often. 


I've decided I want to watch the 85 movies that Martin Scorcesse says every film buff should watch. So, when I'm walking on my treadmill, I watch half of a movie. Interestingly, this makes me anxious to get back to the treadmill to watch more. 

There are other lists I'm working on, but I think you get the point. This may seem like an odd topic for a marketing blog but I'm saying all this because there's something important here that helps with establishing strategies. Here are some suggestions that might help with your next planning session:

  1. Goals must be measurable: If you can't measure it, chances are you can't manage it. Every discussion of a marketing goal should not end till you answer the question, "...and how will we measure success?"
  2. Goals must be immediate: Make sure you know where you want to be in the next few weeks. The power of interim goals can't be undervalued.
  3. Goals must be realistic: Nothing is more frustrating than ridiculous goals that simply can't be accomplished. I've heard leaders say, "Well, this will stretch us," or "Shoot for the sky, hit the fence, shoot for the fence, hit the ground." I'm sorry, but that's garbage. The power of any kind of goal, including marketing goals, is to celebrate the wins. By celebrating you generate a positive addiction to success.
  4. Goal must be cohesive: Goals must be consistent with your long term business challenge. Every goal must be filtered through the lens of this question, "What is the company trying to accomplish?"

These principles can be applied to any goal setting effort but I believe keeping these things in mind will vastly improve your strategic planning. 

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