Happy New Year!
Wow … didn’t 2016 go by quickly? It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been 12 months since I sat here, setting my goals for 2016 and mapping out how to achieve them.
Here we are again. The start of another brand new year and – for many people – again setting goals for the year ahead. Although my focus in this article is on business goals, what I’m about to share here also applies for any other goals you’re working towards achieving.
How did you go last year? Did you set goals? If so, did you achieve them all? If not, did you achieve any of them?
Don’t laugh. I know some people who set the same goals over and over again, every year, in the hope that one day they’ll stick with their plans long enough to reach those goals.
If this is starting to sound like you, don’t despair. There’s many reasons why people don’t achieve what they set out to and it’s not always simply a lack of willpower (or won’t power).
If you’re finding yourself setting the same goals as last year, consider first if you’re actually setting the right goals.
Something that I learnt many years ago was that before I could set my goals – business goals as well as personal ones – was that I needed to be clear on my personal values first.
You see, if you aim to achieve something that requires you to do something that goes against your values for whatever reason, chances are that you’re not going to achieve it. Either you’ll procrastinate or find excuses to not do what you need to do or you’ll sub-consciously sabotage yourself.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s just little things that can be easily overlooked that make all the difference.
A good read I recommend to help understand this and to learn to set goals that work with your values is The Power of Subconscious Goal Setting, by Scott Groves. This gives clear explanation and easy exercises you can work through to get clear on your intentions.
It’s absolutely critical that you know your “why”. Why do you want to achieve this? What makes it so important?
You need a reason that can keep you going when things get tough or that inspires you to keep at it. Without having a good reason, making the necessary changes or taking action can seem less important and will make it easier for you to get distracted.
Okay, so once you’re fairly certain you’re goals are on the right track, how do you follow through and stick with your commitment?
Firstly, break your goal down into small, more easily achievable steps. Have you ever heard the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”? It’s just the same with goals.
Break down that big-hairy-audacious goal into tiny little steps that can be achieved on a day-by-day basis. Then just focus on one step at a time, until you’ve completed them all.
One of the best things you can do is to find an accountability partner, or partners. Someone you can work with would be great but if that’s not possible, at least someone you can speak with regularly to help keep you on track. Someone you trust and who will give you a kick up the behind when you need it! (In the friendliest of ways, of course).
When it comes to business goals, often those closest to us don’t really understand what we’re trying to achieve and they may find it hard to support us. Or even worse, may distract us from our goals.
So if this is the case for you, make sure you find some other like-minded people to help keep you on track. This may even be by way of a local or online business group.
It helps also to keep pictures or items around you that can help to inspire you and remind you why you’re working towards this particular goal. These sorts of things can keep you focused, especially when you’re ready to give up.
I could go on for hours and hours, writing tips to help make sure you achieve your business goals. But really, I’d much rather than you get out there and start making things happen. The most important thing now is for you to:
If you’re keen, feel free to share your goals with me in the “Comments” section below. I’d love to hear all the big – and not so big – things you’re planning!
When you’re in business for yourself, unless you have a clear plan it can be so easy to change from one idea to the next … from one ‘shiny object’ or latest money-making-winner to the next. In doing so, you might get lucky. But more than likely, this lack of focus will hold you back and prevent you from earning the profits, recognition and reputation a more focused approach could achieve.
There will always be opportunities presented along the way. Some are good, others not so good. But either way, you’re likely to hold yourself back if you are darting all over the place in one direction, then another.
This is one reason why a business plan is so important. Depending on your business, it may not be necessary for you to have a 100 page, fully formatted professional business plan. Even just a pile of hand-written notes or a Word document on your computer may be enough.
The main thing is that you’re giving your business plenty of thought, thinking about your overall aim. What is the purpose of your business? What do you want to achieve? Where do you see your business, and yourself, in 5 years time?
All of these factors will determine how you act on a day-to-day basis.
Once you’re clear of the Big Picture of your business – and your life – it’s much easier to decide which opportunities you should take up along the way and which ones you can bypass.
Of course, due diligence is also required. But let’s say you are offered a brilliant discount on advertising at a local event. It will cost you $800, but most others are paying $5,000 for this same promotional opportunity. After ensuring that everything is above-board and it fits with your budget, your next questions should be, “Does this fit with my overall goals? Will it help me achieve my ‘Big Picture’. If the answer is ‘no’ then it’s probably not an opportunity you need to accept.
Remember also that a plan is not set in stone. Most likely, you’ll change your mind and get new ideas along the way. Or perhaps you’ll need to adjust your plan based on changing economics, technology or consumer trends. That’s okay too. But as long as you have a clear goal, you can focus your actions on doing what will bring you closer to those goals rather than distracting you and leading you in every other direction.