Why Goals without Actions are meaningless
There is nothing better than achieving a goal. To actually establish what you want to achieve and then accomplish it is an awesome feeling, no matter how big or small it is. As a society we are very goal or outcome driven, it is the way we are taught, it is in our behaviour to dream and why not.
However, if you ask any successful person, the goal is not the important bit. The actions that led to the goal are the key to success. As I write this, Chris Froome is storming to another Tour de France victory in Paris as the finish line in 1st is his goal. It is easy to glorify the goal. Without thousands of hours of bloods, sweat and tears (actions) by the whole Sky team, the goal would have not been possible.
The same principle happens with money. Yes, it is important to establish goals, whether small or big but the goals don’t happen without action. This is the little detail that people who dream big always forget. I am not talking about skipping Latte’s to save money or any of that nonsense, I am talking about having a strategy towards your goal or outcome and actually “doing it”.
Goals + Actions = Success
- Jose Mourinho wants to win the Premier League — the action is how he prepares his team with each training session and the decisions he and the team he builds makes both on or off the pitch.
- An entrepreneur wants to sell their business for £10m — The action is how the entrepreneur builds the product, service, team and exit strategy.
- An obese man wants to lose 15kg — the action is the diet and the training plan put in place either by himself or a trainer,
As you can see, the goal is absolutely meaningless without the system or action in place to achieve the goal. Jose Mourinho won’t win the league without having the right team and plan in place, the entrepreneur won’t sell the business for £10m without a sound strategy and team and if you can find a way to lose weight without training and a good diet, let me know!
I will give you another example of a goal that I personally often come across with entrepreneurs.
“I want to be able to spend more time with my family and maybe work 2 or 3 days a week”
Ok, I think this goal is fair enough and for most entrepreneurs is something they aspire towards.
Great, now we know what the goal is, how are you expecting to get there? Things don’t happen by chance regardless of what people tell you. In my experience the people that succeed with their goals are the people that start planning how they are going to achieve these goals (i.e. what system or actions are needed?).
For this particular goal, I will give you 5 good examples of actions that I have seen that have worked:
- You might need to diversify some of your income from your business (i.e. a buy to let or other business opportunities)
- You need to recruit the right staff that allows you 2 or 3 days off a weeks.
- You may need to adjust your spending/income if you are planning more holidays for example
- You could sell shares in your business to internal or external investors or simply sell out.
- Maybe you could have a contingency fund of savings that you just rely on and take less from the business.
All of these “actions” would help to achieve the goal of maybe spending more time with the family and there is no right answer, each person has a different situation and you need to think about your personal situation and what actions you need to take.
So Goals and Actions go hand in hand, but don’t spend time establishing your goal if you are not willing to deliver the action required to meet it, it won’t happen.
Adam is author of Genius with Money , a blog that focuses on money advice for creative and digital entrepreneurs.