The new year is fast approaching and most of us are now thinking about our New Years Resolutions, our goals and what we will be doing. There are two main issues that prevent people from reaching their goals; not having a clear path, and losing motivation. For example, “I’m going to lose 30 pounds this year.” “I’m going to grow my business.” While these are great goals to have, the question is what happens now. Do you have any idea how you are going to get there? What are you going to do every day to get you to your goals? The daily behaviors we practice should all work towards reaching the result (goal) we want to get. A lofty beautiful goal that you can’t measure does you no good. In order to reach them, you have to have a plan.
- Have your end goal in mind and so clear that you can picture it being real and exactly how it will look at feel. Everything is accomplished in the mind before it is ever accomplished in real life. You manifest your future and your brain will make happen whatever you tell it to. What is your end result? (If I do this, then I will lose 30 pounds)
- Why is this important? This one here is the hardest, but the most important piece of goal setting. It is the lynchpin. In order to reach your goal, you have to want to change with everything in you. You may be thinking, “that is dumb, of course, I want to reach my goal of growing my business (Insert goal here).” It is not that cut and dry, though. In order for change to occur you have to be so fed up that the thought of changing hurts less than the idea of staying the same. Change takes commitment, it is hard. You have to be willing to sacrifice, to stumble, to hurt, to cry and to struggle for what you want. All of that will happen on your way to reaching your results. You have to be prepared for that or you will fail as soon as it gets hard. You have to be willing to think differently and make new habits.
- Now- The actual goal setting- (Took me long enough huh?) In order to successfully achieve your goals, you need to have a solid action plan and map of how you are going to do it. You have to set S.M.A.R.T goals.
- S- Specific- The Goals Should be Clear and Concise
- If you are able to “see” them they are easier to reach and plan. For example, “I will reduce marketing costs.” This means absolutely nothing. It’s not enough to say you will fix your department. Chose small pieces that need to be changed and break them down. Then you can track progress.
- M- Measurable- The goal must have visible steps to see improvements.
- For each change goal you set, you need to have action steps to let you know you are on the right path. What will progress look like to others? How will you know when you’ve met your goal? By having real facts, figures, and numbers, you can monitor your progress. This also allows you to make revisions early if something is not working. Most importantly, it lets you praise yourself and team for reaching milestones! Going with my earlier example I would say: “I will reduce marketing costs by 12% (_____$) to 8% which is (______$).” That is something specific and measurable that I can build around. I will lose 2 pounds per week until I lose 40 pounds.
- A- Attainable- Is this goal even possible to achieve?
- When making a change, or embarking on a new path, you don’t want to set yourself up to fail. You wouldn’t say, “I’m going to convert 100% of leads to appointments.” This is impossible for reasons beyond your control. If your goal is too far out there, you begin to feel defeated. Then you give up on the whole process. (I’ve finally come to terms I’ll never be a supermodel). Now don’t get me wrong-I’m huge on the if you believe it you can achieve it but maybe you need to complete some other things first. Goals must be:
- R- Realistic- Do you have to tools and support to reach your goal?
- Think about whether you have what you need to achieve the change. Are there steps that need to be completed first to reach this goal? I may be able to cut marketing to 5% by slicing all of our advertising, but that would be dumb. We’d save in the short run but lose leads, visibility, and eventually, we’d all be out of a job. This is an unrealistic goal. (You also can’t expect someone to move a mountain with a shovel for your goal to be realistic).
- T- Timely- What are reasonable timelines for each step and the change in total? It is a fact that individuals are motivated to make changes when they have a deadline. If I’m going to lose weight by August 30th, I need to work at it. Set realistic timelines and expectations to achieve your goals. You cannot expect results overnight, but do not give yourself room to slack off and lose momentum. “I will reduce marketing costs to 8% in 14 months (I’ve remembered to include that I have contracts that must expire.)
- S- Specific- The Goals Should be Clear and Concise
- Have real, defined action steps. What steps need to happen to reach the desired outcome? What order do they need to be in? What has to be done every day to make progress at reaching that goal? What help or resources (tools) do you need to make that happen? How can you get them? The reason people like checklists is because most of us hate guessing. We like knowing where we are going and how we are getting there. (Checking off boxes gives us a sense of completion) write down your daily, weekly behaviors that you need to complete your goal and check them off as you do them. This will help keep you accountable for completing them and serve as a visual reminder.
- Dive in and commit. Change efforts quickly fail if you are not fully onboard and have support. Just two negative nancies can unravel all the hard work and plans you have. A tip to combat this is to get a buddy or a few of them. Get them to support and promote the changes you are making and hold you accountable. Use this person to analyze your plan and help you complete your action plans. This person can be an amazing tool! Stay the course and use the feedback you receive in a constructive manner to make your plan even better.
- Check your progress regularly and celebrate your success! Setting big goals is scary. That is why it is so important to have some smaller action plans that are easier to complete. When you make gains on your goal, celebrate it! Really go all out. All these small victories really add up to be something major. Keep it up and take a minute to recognize all your hard work. Share your accomplishments with others so they can see your journey and continue to motivate you. Tag me in them-I’ll cheer you on!
I know this was a long article, congratulate yourself for making it to the end. I wish each and every one of you a safe New Year and Goal Smashing Success as you move forward into 2017. What are your goals? I’d love to hear them.