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Goal Setting for the Future Market Stall Owner

When I was a training to be a teacher and long into my teaching years there was one topic that came up over and over again – Goal Setting!

Goal setting is vital for achieving success and is also the measure of how well you are progressing. It can be your candle in the dark, when all else feels like failure. I’ll explain later!

Get ready to learn about what Goal Setting means, How to tweak them and why it is so powerful in overcoming obstacles in your path.

Note, I have used affiliate links within this post as I was linking to Amazon anyway. See more about affiliate links here.

“I have a dream…”

This phrase has been associated with so many ideas and ideologies over the years and is fitting for this post in how it relates to our thinking about goals.

When I was growing up, my folks thought of some big things they wanted to achieve while we were at home. On the fridge sat a piece of A5 paper and on that was their wish list. We sat one night and wrote it up together as a family and stuck it to the fridge.

Nothing happened for a few years except for the paper turning a slightly brown colour. Still it sat there, and everyday we would open the fridge and close the fridge and see that Dream list.

It was only a few years ago that my mom looked at that old piece of paper, still on the same fridge, and noted that all but one of the items had been achieved. Not bad for nearly 20 years!

When Martin Luther King gave his pivotal speech which has echoed around the world since those sounds left his mouth, that dream has become and is still becoming a reality.

What then do you have for a dream?

A Wish or a Goal?

I think is is probably best to clear up a small misconception between the goals I am talking about and the idea of a wish.

The Oxford Dictionary describes the word wish as:

Feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that cannot or probably will not happen:

Oxford English Dictionary

The words ‘probably will not’ and ‘cannot’ are what defines a wish. Something which is so far out of reach that it is never going to happen in the way we think it will.

I wish there would be an end to the senseless killing of rhinos, but that is all that it is – a wish. Is may be possible, we may be able to convince people of the stupidity of ingesting something which is really just hair. We can trap, close borders, and create more awareness of the issue that Rhinos will be extinct in the next 20 years if something isn’t changed. It is still a wish though.

A goal on the other hand is something quite different:

The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result:

Oxford English Dictionary

A measurable and visible achievement! This is far more proactive. It feels more certain, there is action required to reach that target! To stop poaching, my wish must become a goal that I can action!

Do I have a Goal or a Wish?

Amazingly, we sometimes get these two words mixed up. On the one hand someone might say, “I wish I was wealthy”, when they see someone else who has all the wealth and luxuries of life. That same person who is wealthy may say, “I achieved my first million, now to make the second!”

Remember the wish is something that probably or cannot be achieved. It is a way of telling ourselves that it would be great to have, but I cannot be bothered to try and make it happen.

When you look at your life, what goals have you set yourself? Do you even have a goal?

If you do have a goal and your goal turns out to be a wish, are you satisfied with that? Goals must be measurable and visible achievements!

Thomas Edison tried over 3000* times to design a light bulb ( We know how much time and effort Graham Bell put into the telephone. They were goals that were realised by their owners, or rather it was the owner of the goal that made it achievable!


I mentioned that I was a teacher, and during many teacher meetings and in-service training days we normally approached the topic of goal setting. Why it was done. How it enables pupils to achieve better results. That the teacher is able to follow a set plan without to much deviation.

This is where I was first introduced to SMART targets.

According to Wikipedia, Peter Drucker is the man most closely associated with this acronym. He wrote about management by objectives and this led to a revolution in thinking about achieving work related targets. (The Practice of Management, by Peter Drucker)

The Acronym Explained

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Realistic

T – Timely

This simple acronym revolutionised the way employees created targets and goals for their business. It has been so successful that many other organisations have taken it up and adapted it for their needs.

The greatest triumph is taking this form of target setting and applying it to your own life goals. Making your targets achievable and realistic.

Lets investigate it a little further.


If you start with a goal that is non-specific or too wide, it will soon become insurmountable and you will be unable to achieve it. Take the example above with the person saying, “I wish I was wealthy.” This could easily be turned into a goal. “My goal is to be wealthy”, but this is so wide and non-specific that you cannot ever know when you are wealthy and achieved your goal.

Try being specific. “I want to be wealthy so I can own my own home and send my children to Private Education.” Okay, now I have a specific target of wealth that I can then refine further. This is still a huge goal and in fact two goals but it is already more refined than “I want to be wealthy”!

Let’s get super specific then. The goal I want to focus on is owning my own home. This will be a sign of wealth to me and create stability for the other goal.

My Specific goal then – Own my own home.


Each goal needs to be measurable, or else how how would I know that I am even getting close to it or if I am far off. How can I measure the success of this goal.

It seems over-simplistic to say, but the reality of owning the deeds to my own property is a clear measure of my success in achieving this goal. To be able to measure this goal, I need to be able to get the deeds upon the last payment of my mortgage.


Normally we would look to see if others have achieved something similar to our goal in the past to gain some sort of gauge to how we will fair on achieving this goal.

Can I achieve full payment of my mortgage so I can own my own home?

I know others own their own home, and I have seen people within my line of work who own their own home so the reality is it is achievable.

There is more than enough evidence that I can own my own home because others have done it and also do it every day!


I have always found this question the hardest to answer some times! It means you are at the point of realising a truth you may have been ignoring!

Can I own my own home while I receive minimum wage at the local shopping mall on a part time job? In most probability, unless my home is extremely cheap or only has a small percentage to clear off the mortgage, it will be unlikely. That is a reality.

However, is it possible to move to a smaller home and have a smaller mortgage to pay off? Yes. Could I improve my job by working full time? Yes. Could I supplement my income by working on weekends running a market stall, or by making and selling home made soaps? Of course!

Can you do all the above if you are caring for someone else, or suffering an illness? This is the tough question. I will always argue that the most determined person will achieve their goals. It may result in that person going above and beyond, but it will be true determination that makes that goal a reality.

(If you are looking for a great story of determination have a read of Calum’s Road by Roger Hutchinson.)


Finally, we need to approach the goal with a timeframe in mind. I can own my own home if I pay £25.00 a month for the next 200 years! I won’t live that long and that is unrealistic.

The final refinement of any goal is to set a deadline. A deadline creates urgency and drive. You have something to aim for and as the time draws closer you are aware that you can no longer procrastinate.

If the goal seems a little large then break the deadline down into even smaller deadlines.

“I want to own my own home by the time I am 45.”

Great, we now have a timeframe. The difference between my current age and 45 is your timeframe. Lets say I am 31 (stop laughing!). That leaves 14 years to finish paying for my own home in order to own it.


If I left this goal for 14 years and panicked in the last year I would not achieve my target, so I need to break it down a little more.

The house cost £120 000.00 to buy. I paid an initial payment of £5000.00 and for the past two years I have managed to pay off £12 000.00. That leaves £103 000.00 to pay off over the next 14 years. Lets do a little sum.

£103 000.00 / 14 years = £7357.14 per year

£7357.14 / 12 months = £613.10 per month

Whatever happens now, in order to pay off my mortgage I need to pay £613.10 a month plus any additional interest if I am to achieve my goal of paying off my mortgage by the time I turn 45.

You should be able to see from the above example that by working out the time into smaller periods it allows me to make smaller and more achievable goals that I can measure and check off. I can watch my progress and continue to gain inspiration to keep achieving my target.

Lets Not Fear Tweaking

A goal is what you want to achieve. You put time and effort into making it happen and sometimes there is a little oversight or perhaps a setback to the ‘grand plan’ you had put in motion.

So what! You are allowed to change it. It’s your goal! This should be kept to a minimum and not adjusted every morning because you like lying in bed till noon though.

A goal is what you aim to achieve, you can measure it and see the deadline approaching. It should give you a buzz and when you do achieve it you will be inspired for the next goal.

Perhaps my mortgage goal is working out great until I meet someone and we start a family and that money is needed for the little one. How would I best tweak my goal?

I still want to achieve ownership at 45. I can cut even more expense from my life, my partner may initially contribute some money towards the house, but may also need to stop working and I become the main earner.

There maybe unseen costs that I didn’t take into account of for having a new born child in the house, like sticking a pen lid up their nose and having to pay additional medical bills.

This is where a tweak needs to be made. Can I get a better job that earns me more money? Do I adjust the monthly payments for a year and study in the evenings to reach higher earnings? Do I start selling on the weekends to top up the cash pot a little to keep the family on track?

These are all little adjustments that go with a goal. You are a human just like me and life is a series of different experiences that change every second of the day.

Be a little bit flexible, but ALWAYS keep your eye on the goal. Don’t use that flexibility to indulge your poor self discipline. That isn’t a tweak, that is taking the easy route, and your goal will turn into a failure that haunts you.

Overcoming the Darkness

Finally, a goal can be so much more than just a target to work towards. It can become your motivation, your crutch, your encouragement as you head towards realising it.

Think of a goal you have achieved recently. Think how it inspires you that you made the effort to do that one thing in your life. Perhaps it was study a short part time course. You dedicated time, effort and money towards it. You sacrificed the odd evening to make sure you achieved it.

Looking back now it doesn’t seem so bad!

A goal has this potential, all the while you are working towards it and long after you achieve it. If you can measure your goal, like the example above, every month that I make the payment towards my mortgage is a little step closer.

After a year or two I might feel like it was a stupid goal until I look back and see the 24 payments I have made. The way the interest has reduced, that you are now only 12 years away from achieving your goal.

Goals become a strength to us from the moment we put them in action, and that is why it is so important to spend some time laying out what it is that we want to achieve.


Goal setting needs to be SMART Goal Setting. Think of what you want to achieve, make it specific and work through each criteria to refine it the best you can.

Don’t be afraid to tweak it a little as you progress until you finally achieve your goal, just be sure it is necessary, and always look to what you have achieved to give you the strength to progress onwards.

Want to ask a question about goal setting, then head over to the Market Nosh Facebook Group and ask it there.

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