In my coaching sessions, a topic that consistently surfaces is the importance of understanding the difference between goals and tasks. It seems simple on the surface, yet this understanding is really important to you in moving the needle in your business growth. So, let’s break it down.
A goal is your destination, the big picture, or the end result you’re aiming for. It’s something that, when achieved, brings a significant change or accomplishment in your progress. It’s measurable, specific, and tied to a vision.
A task, on the other hand, is a step or action taken toward achieving a goal. It’s the day-to-day activities, the building blocks, that pave the way to reaching your goals.
Here’s where the confusion often sets in. I hear clients say things like, “My goal is to finish my website,” or “My goal is to write an email campaign.” While important, these aren’t goals; they’re tasks.
So, what does a real goal look like? Think along the lines of:
- Enroll 50 new members into my membership program.
- Generate $250,000 of revenue by December 31, 20XX.
- Become a NYT Best Seller.
- Publish a Top 5 Podcast.
Why does this matter?
Understanding the difference helps keep your eyes on the prize. It clarifies your direction and keeps you motivated. Every task you complete has a purpose because you know it’s contributing to a larger goal.
When you differentiate between goals and tasks, it becomes easier to prioritize your daily activities. You can ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing today getting me closer to my goal?”
Goals allow you to measure progress. You can’t measure how close you are to “finishing your website” in a way that meaningfully reflects your business success. But you can measure how many members you’ve enrolled or how much revenue you’ve generated.
Understanding this difference also impacts how you approach your work and manage your time. Instead of getting bogged down in endless tasks, thinking each is a goal in itself, you start to see a hierarchy of actions. This perspective ensures that the tasks you’re focusing on are genuinely moving you towards your bigger goals, not just keeping you busy.
Here’s an example of how you break down a goal into actionable tasks…
Let’s say your goal as a coach is to “Increase client base by 30% by the end of the year.” It’s a solid, measurable goal that aligns with growing your coaching business. But how do you turn this goal into actionable tasks? Here’s a breakdown to make this goal more attainable:
- Market Research Task: Start by identifying your target market. Spend a week researching to understand where potential clients spend their time online, what their needs are, and how best to reach them.
- Content Creation Task: Based on your market research, create a content calendar for your social media platforms. Plan to post valuable content twice a week that addresses the common challenges and questions your target market faces.
- Networking Task: Identify and attend two industry-related networking events each month, whether virtual or in-person. The goal is to connect with potential clients and other coaches for referrals.
- Referral Program Task: Develop a referral program for your existing clients. Design an email to send out to your current client base explaining the referral program, where they could earn a free session or a discount for every new client they refer.
- Follow-up System Task: Implement a follow-up system for inquiries. Set aside one hour each week to follow up with potential clients who have reached out but haven’t booked a session yet.
By breaking down the overarching goal of increasing your client base into these specific, manageable tasks, you make the goal less daunting and more achievable. Each task supports a facet of the goal, from expanding your reach to directly engaging with potential clients and continuously improving your service offering. This approach ensures that every action you take is purposeful and moves you closer to achieving your year-end target of growing your client base by 30%.