Why 90 Day Goals Get Better Results

Most business owners know that in order to be successful, they’ve got to set goals.  But despite this, many business owners don’t actually set them. 

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Of the business owners that do set them, just like New Year’s resolutions, most don’t follow through on them.

There’s a whole load of reasons why you don’t achieve your goals, of course, typically they are called excuses.

Even so, most business owners who set goals at the beginning of the year are generally disappointed with about how much they actually get delivered and the results that they achieved.

The most common reason for this, in my experience, is that most business owners (and companies too for that matter) fail to deliver on their goals not because they set out to try to do too little, but because they try to do too much.

There’s plenty of tools to help you set your goals. From Jim Collins’ BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) to Michael Porter’s 5 Forces.

When you set big goals, many people feel a sense of overwhelm. Rather like standing at the bottom of a huge mountain, the size of the goal before you, just like the mountain, appears to be enormous.

As the US Army General Creighton Adams said:

“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.

In other words, if you break a task or goal into smaller chunks, it’s a lot easier to achieve.

Consequently, the most successful way for you to achieve a big goal is rather than creating a plan to tackle your goals for the year, is instead to focus on your goals for the next 90 days.

​So, having a goal for the year is great, but being really clear what you’re going to achieve in the next 90 days towards that big goal, makes it much more likely that you’ll achieve it.

What’s more, having a smaller goal over a shorter period makes it much easier to get everybody to move forward at the same time.

There’s several reasons why 90 Day Goals are better than annual goals:

Why 90 Day Goals Are Better

  1. 90 Day’s isn’t too long
  2. 90 Day’s isn’t too short either
  3. You can reset them quickly
  4. You aren’t tempted to spread yourself too thinly by trying to achieve too much

Related post: 6 Steps To Achieving Your Goals:

​Here’s how to set your 90-day plan

When you set your goals for the year, routinely review the items you have in your annual plan and decide what actions in the next 90 days will help you get you to achieve your goals.

Then prioritise the top two or three items, which will have the greatest impact to you over the next 90 days.

Then go about setting a plan to achieve each of those individual goals.

​Each day your should review the top two or three items which would have the greatest impact on achieving your goal and make sure at least one item on your daily task list is focused on your prioritised goals.

That way, you know that you are always working towards achieving your goals.

At the end of the 90 days review what you’ve achieved.  Chances are, you’re a lot nearer to your end goal than you were 90 days ago when you were just starting out.

Next, review what you need to do in the next 90 days to take you further towards achieving your goals.  And again pick the top 2-3 activities that will have the biggest impact on you achieving it. And then set those as your goals for the next 90 days.

Rinse and repeat.

90 Day Goals Still Need to Be SMART

Once you’ve broken your big goals into your 90 day goals you need to make sure that they are SMART. (No that doesn’t mean that you should be going mad with the highlighting pen). Smart 90 day goals are:

Specific – what exactly are you going to achieve in the next 90 days (think from this to that)

Measurable – how will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? By having clear measurable results – by setting yourself actionable metrics

Achievable – The 90 day goal that you set yourself has to have a reasonable chance of being achieved in the next 90 days (or you’re going to be setting yourself up to fail)

Realistic – Whilst you might love to set yourself a 90 day goal that takes your business from $1m pa to $10m, let’s be honest here, that’s not exactly realistic is it.  So state what can be realistically achieved, given your available resources.

Time bound – Your 90 Day goals should relate to what can be achieved in the next 90 days (regardless of the ultimate goal that you’re looking to achieve for yourself or your business.

Sharing is Caring

When you’ve set yourself your 90 day goals you don’t want to be keeping them to yourself. You need to share them with the rest of your team so that everyone is on the same page about what the priorities are for your business over the next 90 Days.

Smaller goals are much easier to align a team around because they are much more in the “hear and now” and also because there’s fewer things for them to remember.

Most of your people are never going to be able to talk about your strategic plan and how you’re going to achieve it. But if you’re all openly talking about the key priorities for your 90 day goals, it means that you will be much more likely to be successful in achieving them.

Regularly review your progress

At the end of each week, set aside some time to review your progress. Particularly what has worked, what hasn’t and what you need to do differently the following week.Working through these questions will allow you to tweak your activities and progress towards your goals.

Bonus: Free Weekly review template

I’ve created a template you can use each week to review your progress. You can download this template by clicking the link below. 


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