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The 5-Point Checklist To Reach Any Goal

Goals. We all have them and we all need them. Whether your goal is to quit your day job and freelance full-time or make X income per month, there are steps you need to take to reach your goal.

Goal setting is something I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s too easy to get caught up in the day to day madness of running a business and all that entails.

There is so much to do after all. But most of the time, that day-to-day busyness might make me feel better in the moment, but isn’t effective in reaching my end goal.

What I constantly have to remind myself is that I need to stop obsessing over the end goal and instead make a habit of focusing on each individual step that will lead to it.

How do I do that? For each goal I have, I write out each thing that needs to happen and turn it into a checklist. I then can focus on just one at a time, until I get through them all and reach my goal.

This is so simple but super important.

Our minds are full of so much clutter every day and goal clutter is the most paralyzing of them all. So today I wanted to share with you the 5 steps that are always on my checklist to reach any goal.

Define what success means

Also known as: determine what your goal is. But I like to rephrase it as defining success because over time our goals may change or evolve.

Maybe you want to make 5k per month with your freelance business. That’s a great goal and I definitely have money goals too. But maybe you put in 80/hrs a week to make that 5k and aren’t feeling the freedom you expected when making that much. So achieving that goal doesn’t feel as great as you previously thought when you set it.

Instead of just setting a goal for 5k/month, decide how your life will look and feel when you reach that goal and you might arrive at that feeling before arriving at the number.

Set a date to reach that goal

If you don’t set a date, the day-to-day busyness will often take precedence over getting through the steps on your checklist. You need to make the steps a priority and setting a date to accomplish them all will keep you on track

Surround yourself with people on the same track

Self-determination and motivation are incredibly important in reaching your goals, but the truth is, we can’t always do it alone. Surrounding yourself with other people trying to reach similar goals can help push you during tough times and can motivate you to make bigger goals and reach them faster. Whether that be in a Facebook community, a mastermind or an accountability partner, or simply following them on social media; find people working towards a similar goal to connect with and inspire you.

Who can you surround yourself with to help reach your current goal?

Set up or refine your systems

No matter what kind of goal you have, there should be systems around it. If you want to bring in 5 more clients a month, you likely need a project management system to keep track of the increase in work. If you want to grow your blog audience, you’ll need an editorial calendar to help you be more strategic about what you post. If you want to quit your day job and freelance full-time, you’ll need to have a client intake process in place.

What systems can you put in place to help reach your current goal? 

Go pro

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, every investment I’ve made in my business has taken me to the next level and helped me achieve each one of my goals. Getting a business bank account helped me treat my biz as a real biz not a side-hobby. Getting professional photos taken helped me feel comfortable raising my prices. Hiring a launch strategist helped me hit my launch goals outta the park. Taking an online course helped fill in the gap of knowledge about freelancing I needed to finally quit my day job.

In what areas can you go pro to help you reach your current goal? 

These are the first 5 things I put on every goal checklist I have, followed by the nitty gritty of making it happen. Working through them one by one makes even the biggest of goals a lot more manageable, and in the end, reachable.

I’d love to know, do you make a checklist for each goal you have or are you just dealing with the madness day-to-day?

-Leah

 

Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • These are great actionable items, Leah. I take this approach with my web design and development projects, breaking the process out into phases and tasks then giving each task my full attention until the project is complete. Now you have me thinking about doing this for my business goals, thank you! So smart! 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh yes, great for client work as well! I need to do a better job of getting those steps in Basecamp so my clients can always see that I’m knockin’ stuff off the list even if it’s not visible to them. Thanks for that reminder! And yes, apply it to business AND life 🙂

  • I never thought of making a goal checklist! Right now I am just taking it day by day but this post has me rethinking things. I have my goals in my head but I have not taken the time to write them out!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      It helps sooo much Jocelyn, glad it got you rethinking!

  • These are all great, especially surrounding yourself with people on the same track. In the beginning I underestimated the importance of a network and it made the entire experience of being a solopreneur so solitary.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes, this FTF community, along with my mastermind and accountability buddies helps A TON.

  • I’m a goal setting queen myself! …when I was little (like 9 years old) I would create weekly goals for myself/family. Yah, I was annoying like that — to those non-goal setting peeps!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Haha, I bet people loved that! 🙂 I’m not always great at goal setting, but this is definitely helping me get there.

  • I’ve definitely found that listing EACH step toward an objective is super helpful. Frequently, even when making a list, it’s easy to make each item a broad “to-do” that, itself, requires multiple steps to accomplish and, as such, seems overwhelming. Breaking things down to single-action parts is a great motivator – so many things to check off once completed provides tangible proof that you really are moving forward even when sometimes all you can see is how much more needs doing.

    A great reminder, Leah. Thanks!

  • My systems are a little wonky so this is a great reminder to get that sorted! And as for going pro – I could always do with a little more of that. Thanks for this!

  • Hi. Ok, now I’m curious. Where might one find a ‘launch strategist’?

  • I love this, Leah! I’m a productivity coach for creative grasshoppers and one of the typical things clients come to me with is overwhelm (which I’m soooo intimately familiar with). The first thing we do is figure out what they want their life and days to look like and start breaking it down from there. One thing I make sure to always do is work through what they need in order to take each step – similar to your systems part. Great advice! I’ll be bookmarking this to send to those who need it 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  • Jeez Leah, every time you have a post you always challenge me to be better! Love the checklist idea, it’s so simple, but I don’t always take the time to do it. Trying to get more organized/productive though and this is the perfect way to start!

  • As usual – great advice! The daunting thing I find about goal setting is the tasks. I recently wrote about competency-based learning over on my blog, and that type of learning often involves breaking down procedures (or objectives) into each individual task. That’s what goal setting feels like to me – ahhhhh! However, I will say that it feels damn good to check off each of those tasks (no matter how small) on a to do list.

    Another thing – When you mentioned defining success, I thought about an article I recently read over at Braid Creative (http://www.braidcreative.com/blog/riches-wealth-and-success) that discussed the differences between riches, wealth, and success – it’s a great read for anyone struggling with defining ‘success’.

    Thanks for sharing, Leah!

  • I love the idea behind defining what success looks like to you, instead of just relying on a somewhat arbitrary goal—I think that’s so, so important to make sure that at the end of the day, you’re doing what you want to be doing. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers—income, number of clients, number of hours, etc. but I think most of us are doing this for less tangible and directly measurable reasons. So we feel happy, free, purposeful, passionate, whatever. And obviously it won’t feel like that all the time, but if it never feels like that, then we’re probably chasing the wrong goal.

  • I just want you to know that this is my new favorite business blog! I just left my job in March to freelance full-time and I wish I would’ve found you sooner!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh I’m so glad Stephanie! Congrats, I bet it’s been an exciting year!

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