by Teri Mangiaratti
Short-term goals, long-term goals, goals, goals, goals! Books, conferences, and seminars advise us how to set and reach goals and measure our progress, yet it’s still difficult. Here are four simple steps that truly will help you set and reach your goals effectively. Cut out this page to use when you’re brainstorming for the upcoming year or setting new goals mid-season. Get ready to reach those goals!
Step 1: Goal identification
First, get out your trusty paper and pencil and write down your goal. Be honest about the goal’s achievability, and consider whether it’s something you really want to happen. For example, you might think, “I wish I had 1,000 students!” Think about that—1,000 students. Do you really want so many? If the answer is yes, write it down. If the answer is no, write down a measurable, more realistic goal such as, “Increase enrollment by 100 students.”
Step 2: On the calendar
In my world, nothing happens unless it’s on the calendar. So choose a realistic date for reaching your goal and put it on your calendar. For example, “Increase enrollment by 100 students by September 1.”
Now, divide your goal into manageable sections and add check-in points along the way. Let’s use our example of 100 students, and say our September deadline is a year away. For your halfway point, count back six months from the deadline and write, “Increase enrollment by 50 by March 1.” Use the same method to add first-quarter and third-quarter check-in points: “Increase enrollment by 25 by December 1” and “Increase enrollment by 75 by June 1.”
Setting check-in points will make your goal feel doable and help you stay on track. I advise setting three to five points. Any more and you may lose your motivation during a slow week; any fewer and you may let too much time slide by without progress.
Step 3: Act now
Action is the crucial factor in whether we reach our goals. Don’t wait—right now, take action toward your goal. Create a Facebook ad, schedule an open house, call students who haven’t returned, plan an event to encourage new studio traffic, or write a press release. Action is what sets goal achievers apart from goal setters. No complaining, venting, sulking, or pity party—act now!
Step 4: Log your progress
Lastly, log your progress to keep yourself motivated and on track. Since I’m slightly addicted to spreadsheets, I suggest creating one to enter weekly or monthly progress. Print out and hang your spreadsheet in the studio office, and encourage your staff to help the studio reach the goal. Consider planning a fun event, party, or bonuses to celebrate when you succeed. If you keep taking action, you will see progress.
Once you reach your goal, celebrate! Whether with staff, a partner, children, parents, or friends, take a moment to celebrate your achievements. If you worked for a corporation and got a promotion or raise, you would celebrate. When you work for yourself, it’s still important to celebrate reaching your goals. Good luck, and let me be the first to say, “Cheers!”
Teri Mangiaratti owns In Sync Center of the Arts in Quincy, Massachusetts, which opened in 1996 and today welcomes more than 1,000 children into its dance, music, and art programs.