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How To Set Effective Short-Term Goals And Hold Yourself Accountable

How many times have you set out a grandiose plan had all the motivation and best intentions in the world, only to fall flat on your ass? Well, let me tell you, the key to achieving any large plan, is lots of smaller plans that will push you towards your bigger goal.

#1 SMART goal sample

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Here at TINYpulse, one goal we set was around page ranking for a specific keyword. We knew we wanted to be on the top of page one by the end of the year--we made this goal in September, so we had 3 months to execute. This S.M.A.R.T. goal worked well for us, because we were able to track our progress towards it over time, not just when it was finished. Here is our plan to make it happen:The first thing we focused on was creating high quality content. That meant that the article we were trying to rank wouldn’t just target one keyword--but target all the long-tail keywords by answering every related question we could think of, and really get in depth explanations of everything we could about the concept we were trying to rank for. When brainstorming ideas, I was thinking: What value can I give today? What information would make my audience better off after reading this than they were before?The other thing we did was focus on building back-links. We’ve been optimizing for keywords and backlinks for your blog and domain. The more shares of content we get from reputable sites, the more traffic we drive to our blog.

Contributors: Estelle Pinfrom TINYpulse

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#2 Working with a business coach or mentor

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According to this survey of hundreds of business owners, the number one reason business owners seek out business coaches is to be held accountable. If you are having trouble staying focused, work with a business coach who will provide you with deadlines and hold you accountable to getting things done.

Contributors: David Scarola from The Alternative Board

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#3 Reverse Engineering

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One of the most successful techniques to setting effective short term goals and staying accountable is reverse engineering your big picture vision, working backwards from your deadline to the current day. From there you break down your big picture vision into bite sized milestones. The secret to remaining on track is writing these milestones down and marking them off as you complete them. When you feel overwhelmed and stuck, you can refer back to this, which I call the progress bucketlist, and see the progress you've made. This technique is a great way to remain motivated while breaking down large goals into smaller, actionable ones. 

Contributors: Heidi Lynne Kurter from Heidi Lynne Consulting

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#4 Accountability fuels personal & company growth

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As a company of seven, accountability is absolutely key when setting short term goals - we have no-one hiding behind their team or claiming figures are inaccurate - and it’s one of the most important things that drives us forward as a company. When short term goals are set, we also look at how, in the long term, they will benefit both the company and the person achieving it - as (although there are exceptions) short termism isn’t what we want to encourage. As a team, we have a Monday meeting in which each person presents their work from the past week, which then becomes an open forum for discussion and feedback. It’s a good way to ensure that everyone is aware of what’s being worked on outside their personal sphere, and a nice space for each individual to receive feedback in on their goals. Encouraging honest, honest feedback and accountability between all members of the team on short term goals is also really important to fostering a strong work ethic, and a healthy relationship outside of the workplace - both of which are vital as an SME

Contributors: Lana Elie from Floom

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#5 Write Down Your Goals And Choose A Weekly Focus

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Research shows that people who write down their goals achieve them at a significantly higher level. In a recent study, Dr. Gail Matthews, a Psychology professor at the Dominican University in California found out that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. Each week choose your focus for the upcoming week. Then choose 5 Steps you will take that week, that will bring you closer to your goal.

Contributors: Miki Feldman Simon from IamBackatWork

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#6 Creating a clear strategic plan

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You will have a very hard time sticking to short term goals when you can't trace them back to your long term goals. Every business owner should be operating from a strategic plan. This plan should include an overarching vision, a path to achieving that vision, and the milestones that need to be hit along the away. Those milestones are your short term goals. By laying out your short term goals in terms of your bigger picture goals, you'll be less likely to get caught up in day-to-day fires that will distract you from what you need to get done. 

Contributors: David Scarola from The Alternative Board

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