When I first became a practicing goal-setter, I wasn’t very successful. I’d write down big goals and then have no idea how to even begin. Eventually, I made a discovery that seems so simple I didn’t believe it would work—until I tried it.

It now is firmly established as my most dependable operating system. It starts with picking a number, any number.

You don’t have to be a math whiz to put numbers to work for you. Assigning a number to a project can help you focus and, also, give you a finish line.

Open-ended goals have a way of never reaching completion, but attach a numerical addition and getting started is much easier and the finish line become much closer.

Here are a few ideas to get things rolling.

° Pick a number under ten and use it as your goal setting guide. For me, it’s the number five. You might prefer three or six. Then instead of thinking, “I need to get more clients,” set a short term goal to get three (or whatever your favorite number dictates) new clients.

Of course, you can repeat this exercise as often as you like, but your chances for success increase enormously when you work with a smaller number that seems reasonable.

Years ago, when I was floundering around trig to get my speaking business launched, I met a successful, but unhurried, seminar leader who told me her business plan was “Do one, book one.” As soon as she’d finish a program, she’d spend time marketing until she’d booked just one more.

It’s a policy I’ve used ever since with great success.

° Stumped about your next steps? Challenge yourself and your subconscious mind by asking idea-generating questions such as, “What are three ways I can grow my business right now?” Or “Who are four people I could collaborate with?”

You may surprise yourself with how quickly you begin getting answers.

° Write a tip sheet. Don’t forget how useful numbers are in writing tip sheets which can be turned into articles. Six Ways to Get More Exercise is an easier article to write than one called How to Get More Exercise.

Using numbers also is a reminder that when you write a tip sheet the intention isn’t to tell everything you know. That same intention also simplifies goal setting since it brings your focus to one part of the bigger project.

° Subtract things from your life that you no longer want. Instead of trying to unclutter your life all at once, for example, get rid of nine things a day until the job is done.

Go through the junk drawer and throw away nine things or toss out nine magazines or find nine things in your closet you never wear and put them in a bag for the thrift store.

Assigning a number to a necessary, but not necessarily pleasant, tasks can break through procrastination and get positive momentum going. It’s the same reason setting a timer can help you get more done.

° Pick a number, any number, and then pick one of the projects listed below.

° Ways to get into the conversation
° Books to add to my library
° New profit centers to design
ˆ Fascinating things to study
° New adventures to schedule
° Self-bossers to invite to breakfast
° Fresh marketing tools to create
° Media interview to book
° Non-essentials to eliminate
° Ways to support other entrepreneurs
° Articles to publish

Or add your own projects to the list—and then get busy making them happen.

Remember those carnival barkers who hollered, “Pick a number, any number,”? Could they have been suggesting a tool you can use to build your business?

You don’t have to be a math whiz to put numbers to work for you. Assigning a number to a project can help you focus and  give you a finish line.

Open-ended goals have a way of never reaching completion, but attach a numerical addition and getting started is much easier.

Here are a few ways to put numbers to work.

° Pick a number under ten and use it as a goal setting guide. For me, it’s the number five. You might prefer three or six.

Then instead of thinking, “I need to get more clients,” set a short term goal to get three (or whatever your favorite number is) new clients.

Of course, you can repeat this exercise as often as you like, but your chances for success increase enormously when you work with a smaller number.

Years ago, when I was floundering around trying to get my speaking  business launched,  I met a successful, but unhurried, seminar leader who told me her business plan was, “Do one, book one.”

As soon as she finished a program, she’d spend time marketing her services until she’d booked just one more.

It’s a policy I have used ever since with great success.

° Stumped about your next steps? Challenge yourself (and your subconscious mind) by asking a idea-generating question such as, “What are three ways I can grow my business right now?” Or “Who are four people I could collaborate with?”

° Write a tip sheet.  Don’t forget how useful numbers are in writing tip sheets which can be turned into articles. Six Ways to Get More Exercise is an easier article to write than one called How to Get More Exercise.

Using numbers also is a reminder that when you write a tip sheet the intention isn’t to tell everything you know.

° Numbers work equally well for subtracting things from your life that you no longer want. Instead of trying to unclutter your life all at once, for example, get rid of nine things a day until the job is done. It’s far less overwhelming if you break it down into bite sized chunks.

Go through the junk drawer and throw away nine things or toss out nine magazines or find nine things in your closet you never wear and put them in a bag for the thrift store.

Assigning a number to necessary, but not necessarily pleasant, tasks can break through procrastination and get positive momentum going.

° Pick a number, any number, and then pick one of the projects listed below.

*  Ways to get into the conversation

*  Books to add to my library

*  New profit centers to design

*  Things to study

*  New adventures to schedule

*  Self-bossers to invite to  breakfast

*  Fresh marketing tools to create

*  Media interviews to book

*  Nonessentials to eliminate

*  Ways to support other entrepreneurs

*  Articles to publish

 Or add your own projects to the list—and then get busy making them happen.