Setting personal goals is very similar to writing a business plan – both can help ensure success in the future.

Setting goals is something that lots of people talk about but few really take the time to do, at least in a formal way.

Sure, you might jot down your goals for the year – lose 10 pounds, find a new job, save for a trip to Italy.

But just writing down a goal rarely helps you achieve it.

Building lists of tasks to reach those goals can help, and many people take that next step. But lists on their own won’t get you there, and for some people they have drawbacks. If you’re a person who gets so focused on tackling each item on your list, you may lose sight of the big picture – the goal itself. And you might miss opportunities that create a better path to your goal.

But when you write down your goals, make lists, compile them into a plan AND shift your mindset, the results can be life-changing.

Businesses take time annually to set goals and develop a plan to reach them. Without clear direction – and a formal plan – a business is unlikely to succeed, even if it is offering a great product or innovative service.

Need proof? Data shows that almost 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year?  It’s safe to say that many of those failures can be attributed to lack of direction.

By five years, about half have ceased operations.

For more insight on setting goals, I talked to Ginger Gallagher, who is the president of Vela Agency in Winston-Salem, NC. Ginger is also a very involved member of the Jonathan D. Rosen Family Foundation’s board of trustees.

Here’s what Ginger had to say about setting goals for herself and her business.

“The old saying that ‘What Gets Measured Gets Done’ really applies here. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae and lose sight of the big picture,” Ginger says. “That’s why planning for business, or any goal really, improves the odds of achieving that goal.

“This applies to any type of goal, whether it’s to grow your business, get an education, save money or conquer a challenge. Don’t get myopic, though. Be stubborn about your goals but be flexible about your methods.”

Of course, if you’ve never been one to set goals, this is a good time to start. The pandemic has forced many of us to make decisions that will change the course of our lives.

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