It’s a New Year. Therefore it is a chance for new goals and to realize new successes. However, the majority of people go wild setting resolutions at the start of the new year only to find they have forgotten what they wanted to accomplish by the time February rolls around. If you want to make 2018 the year you actually achieve your New Year’s resolutions, do the following:
Change your thinking
First, you need to change the way you think about resolutions. There is something about the word that makes it harder for people to follow through on accomplishing them. We tend to think of “resolutions” as all or nothing. That means the first time we start to struggle with following through on them we usually quit. And, if we fail to accomplish them at the end of the year, we feel like failures. On the other hand, if we set goals and don’t meet them we still see our progress of working towards them. We can continue working on them throughout the year.
Most people set very generic resolutions that can be hard to stick to instead of setting specific goals. For example, a resolution might be to get healthier in 2018, but what does that mean? How do you know if you did or not? On the other hand, a goal might be to lose 30 pounds in 2018. The first time you skip exercising and eat junk food you will not have already failed on your goal, but you might feel like you did on the resolution.
Bottom line: Set goals, not resolutions.
Set limits and stick to what matters
People tend to want to harness the power of the fresh start that the New Year brings. So, they go overboard and set too many goals. They end up with a long list of goals that no person can honestly accomplish in one year. Limit your goals to only 3-4 goals for the year. Make sure each goal is important to you. If you understand the real reason you want to accomplish a goal it will help you stick to it during the tough time and obstacles.
For example: Instead of just setting a goal on how many clients you want to help fund before the end of the year, think about the why behind it. What’s motivating you to set that goal? Is it so you can increase your revenue? Is it so you can help other small businesses succeed? Knowing your “why” can help you stay motivated.
Bottom line: Set 3 or 4 goals that are important to you.
Make your goals SMART
The idea of SMART goal setting is not new, but many people still fail to do it. In order for your goals to be achievable they need to be SMART:
- Specific – Instead of “increase clientele” it should be “increase clientele by x%”. You need to include the details of what you are really trying to accomplish.
- Measurable – By setting the x% above you are able to have a way to measure your level of success. You can easily calculate at any time to see if you are making progress.
- Attainable – You might want to see your business revenue double this year, but unless you have only grown 5% the past five years, it most likely is not possible. Do not set goals that you have no way of accomplishing because you are only setting yourself up for failure.
- Relevant – Before setting goals you need to know what direction you want your business and life to move in. Any goal you set should be helping you move in that direction.
- Time-bound – Deadlines matter when it comes to goal setting. Don’t make the end of December your deadline for all your goals. Or, if you do make sure you are breaking it down into smaller goals that you are hitting throughout the year to keep yourself moving forward.
Bottom line: Make each goal SMART
Create a plan
So, you have your goals. You limited the number of them and made sure they were SMART, now what? You need to create a plan of attack. How are you going to accomplish those goals? Your first step is to break each goal down into smaller goals that can be spread throughout the year. If you want to increase your clientele by x% then what percentage do you need to be at by the end of the first quarter and the second? These smaller goals make your large goal achievable because you are always making progress towards them.
Without a plan, you will get to the end of 2018, in the blink of an eye, and realize that you have not made purpose effort to reach your goal.
Bottom line: Break your goals down into smaller goals for each quarter.
Set an appointment with yourself
Now it’s time to put your goals on your calendar. Reserve time to purposefully work on your goals. Set aside 15 minutes every week to check on your progress. During this time you can see where things are going well and which areas need improvement. Ask yourself what is working and where you are failing? Then, don’t be afraid of the failures, instead acknowledge them and look for a way to address them. The key to reaching your goals is to be purposeful, so actually block this time off your calendar. Also, block of time at the end of each month for you to look over the month as a whole and to plan for the next one.
Bottom line: Check in with yourself throughout the year to review your progress.
2017 was over before we knew it, and 2018 is bound to do the same. Spend some time with yourself today working through these steps so you can achieve your goals in the new year.