This is a guest post by Avery Schrader, CEO of
This very simple framework I’ve coined “Top 3” will have you addicted to setting long term goals. The idea of setting long term goals (or short) is not a new one. We all have a natural understanding of how goals work. If you are to spend time defining the things you want to accomplish, you are much more likely to succeed.
The thing about goals.
Seth Godin is a bestselling author of nearly 20 books. He could teach you and I a thing or two about setting long term goals. One quote from him on goal setting struck a chord with me.
Seth’s take on setting long term goals goes like this:
“The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.” —Seth Godin on setting goals.
However, no one is perfect. Myself included. It has taken me years to find a method of setting goals that suits my squirrel like focus. Luckily, I’m blessed with a wonderful curse. Once committed to a goal I can go to unhealthy lengths to accomplish it. Partly driven by the hope that I can make something of myself. Partly driven by experimentation. Mostly driven by will. I have never given up on my long term goal of finding a method of setting long term goals that works for me. Ironic.
This year, my company Modash (a tool measuring influencer marketing ROI, amongst other things) has grown significantly. I have found myself in a position where I can no longer skate by day to day without a goal setting method. When I slip away from my personal framework I am about to share with you, it has dire consequences.
Since I started implementing this simple goal setting framework to focus my weeks, months, and years, I live a much better life. I accomplish more. I
’m a better leader. I learn more. I’m easier to be around. I sleep better at night.
So here it is. The very simple structure that finally allowed me to take on setting long term goals and crushing my short term ones very effectively.
The Top 3 Goal setting method.
My very simple framework is this. For each period of time I set 3 goals and determine the action points I need to take to accomplish them. I do not sway from these 3 goals.
Every week, month, and year has a Top 3 goals. Nothing without extreme importance (such as helping others) is allowed to come in between me and these goals.
Here is an example of a yearly, month, and weekly set of “top three” goals:
Long term (Yearly) Goal setting example:
- Build Modash into the leading influencer marketing platform in Europe.
- Become a world-class leader.
- Become a better writer.
In setting long term goals I keep them quite infinite and loose. They are my compass, not my map. They don’t tell me specifically where I will end up but they do allow me to make sure I’m moving in the right direction. Mostly, the things I do monthly and weekly should contribute to these three goals. That’s the purpose of long term goal setting, to make sure you are doing things that matter.
Let’s go a bit deeper into one of the examples above.
Mid-term (monthly) goal setting for becoming a better writer:
- Read 4 books
- Write 4 guest articles for high authority blogs.
- Publish 4 articles for Modash blog.
- Write 1 E-book.
- Research and learn from 3 new blogs writing high-quality content.
These are SMART goals that fit perfectly with the long term goal I set of becoming a better writer.
Look familiar? My personal Top 3 methodology for setting long and short term goals is very similar to OKRs. Yearly goals are Objectives, and monthly are Key Results. Weekly become more specific breakdowns of each monthly goal.
Micro (weekly) goal setting:
- Write 1 Guest Article for Weekdone about long term goal setting.
- Complete first draft of chapters 4-6 of Ebook.
- Edit, revise and complete chapters 1-4 of Ebook
- Write, revise and publish “Influencer marketing for dummies” Article to Modash blog.
Every sunday. I do not allow myself to miss out on reviewing my monthly goals. I write the coming week´s goals and review how I did in the previous week as well. So far, this method has worked wonders for me.
Good goal setting is addictive.
In fact, it’s like a drug. It’s addictive. If I step away for even a day, I’m lost. I wonder how lost I was before I started setting personal long term goals and matching them with actionable short term ones.
I don’t claim that this method is the best one or that it is perfect and unworthy of scrutiny. In fact, I think quite the opposite. I’m happy to say that I plan to continually optimize it. Before deciding on the topic for this article I reached out to my friend Siim Sainas. Siim is a researcher at Google APAC and also runs a popular blog called Brandhero.
Google of course has been credited for their optimization of goal setting processeses. So I wanted to check in with Siim about his thoughts. Two main things seemed relevant for this article and caught my attention:
- Small objectives are ladders building up to greater accomplishments.
- Google is constantly questioning the way they do things.
I think number 1 is self explanatory and fits well into what I have laid out thus far. But number 2 is drastically important in figuring out what kind of long term goal setting works for you.
Question, experiment, and optimize what is working for you in goal setting. There are some great ways to measure whether you have set goals effectively out there, and if your long term goal setting framework is working you will see results.
Are you accomplishing approximately 80% of your goals, 80% of the time?