Monday Challenge: Setting the right goals, the right way

Every Monday I throw out a weekly challenge. Sometimes it’s geared only toward one part of the industry (wholesale, retail, restaurant, or winery/brands) but this week’s challenge can apply to anybody.

“Goal setting” is a pleasantly active term that gets bantered about a bit too easily. At a Friday wholesale rep meeting it’s easy for the sales manager to blurt out goals. Restaurant managers can announce a goal to the staff during the pre-shift. Retailers set goals too but seem to always take a lazy route and set goals only based on total sales, never paying attention to different categories in the store (i.e. what if your goal was to sell 20% more rosé in the next month?).

But simple goal setting, it turns out, is not so simple. And that’s where this week’s Monday Challenge comes in.

Setting goals is more science than art, and there have been many studies that prove the harmful impact of setting goals in the wrong way. It turns out some things work, and some do not.

How to set the right goals, followed by why to avoid the wrong goals.


The right goals are about your own personal development and making you a better, happier person. The wrong goals are about outperforming another person, which sends you on a quick path of negative energy and overt competition.

The right goals should be ambitious, and just a hair past what you think is achievable. The wrong goals are so wildly impossible that you’re bound for failure.

The right goals have a realistic but challenging timeline. The wrong goals are to be achieved simply before you die, which you never know when will happen so you don’t even have a timeline.

The right goals are quantifiable. The wrong goals will never tell you when you reach them.

The right goals should be fun. The wrong goals are a drag.

The right goals should be rewarded and celebrated in small increments. The wrong way to achieve a goal is to have only one gigantic prize at the end.

Numerically, there are two ways to focus on a goal: what has been achieved, and what still has to get done. Focus on the smaller of those two numbers and celebrate when you’re over the half way point.

Once you have a goal set, the key is planning, planning, planning, followed by working in small increments. The wrong way to achieve a goal is to simply dream of what you life will be like when you reach it. Dreaming doesn’t do much on its own, other than build a sense of longing followed by melancholy when you don’t achieve your goal because you’re sitting around dreaming too much.


Okay, so here’s the challenge: figure out a three goals to achieve in one week (personal or business, it doesn’t matter because the goal is to learn how to set goals and achieve them) figure out the planning and small quantifiable execution steps involved, and do the first of those steps in the next 24 hours. GO!

(Hint: if these are personal goals that you don’t mind sharing and you enjoy using Facebook, this is a great way to use that platform. Group encouragement and group accountability can work wonders.)



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