New Year – New Goals. How to Set and Achieve?
As business professionals we all have goals for the New Year, right?
Whether your goal is to learn better time management skills, increase business growth, or even how to work your way up to more paid vacations – most people do not know how to effectively set and achieve goals.
We all know the business person who says, “I am going to raise business by 15% next year,” and does nothing different to achieve that goal other then put it out there for the world to hear.
You must first create a list of reflections.
Ask yourself “what were your goals last year?” Reflect on what you did well throughout the year. We all deserve a pat on the back. You may even find that you have more to be thankful for then you realize. Next, reflect on what didn’t do so well. Lastly, think about the habits that affected those outcomes. What actions were effective and which were not? For example, taking long lunches with coworkers is probably not the best way to spend your time at the office (or should I say, “not at the office.”)
Now that you’ve listed what habits achieved good and bad results, you are now ready to begin thinking about your intentions for next year.
What do you really want?
I am not talking about what you want this year or even this coming quarter. I am talking about the big picture. What makes you happy? What frustrates you on a daily basis? Where do you picture yourself in five, ten, or even fifteen years? What makes you feel successful? This is a starting point on developing a list of goals.
You want to continue to do more of what makes you happy. You want to decrease the actions that make you frustrated. Possibly delegate tasks to others or make changes.
You are now ready to set your goals.
As you answer the questions mentioned above, you will get an idea of what your goals are for the upcoming year. List them as small actionable goals. Baby steps is what gets you there, and they serve as small manageable achievements. For instance, if you want to retire in ten years some small goals may be as follows: (1) Raise business by 15% each year for the next ten years. (2) Create written job descriptions and task procedures for every position in the business. (3) Test these procedures line item by line item to ensure anyone new on the job could complete the tasks in an easy manor. (4) Reach out to a business broker to market your business for sale now that you have consistent sales growth and task procedures in place so that anyone can come in and run your business and make a profit. (Obviously there is more to this process, but you get the idea…small manageable goals that lead to the bigger picture.)
What about obstacles?
Now that you’ve listed your goals it’s time to make sure you achieve them. One of the easiest ways to fail is obstacles. What are the obstacles that are in your way of achieving your goals? Take a piece of paper and draw two columns. In the first column, write down the obstacles in your way to achieving your goals, and in the second column list how you can turn that obstacle around. Sometimes the toughest part about achieving goals is breaking out of bad habits. A turnaround action to overcome an obstacle can be as simple as saying, “I must be more confident” or “I will seek others for help when I am feeling scared or defeated.”
Lights, Camera, Action!
We’ve outlined what you really want in section one (aka your big picture items), and the obstacles that stand in your way of achievement in section two. Now it’s time to set things in action. On the back of that same piece of paper you are going to write down specific actions that will lead to achieving your goals. For instance,
I will compile a list of new target contacts in the restaurant industry to market my services to by January 10, 2015.
(1) I will write a to-do list at the end of every day that will consist of the following days action items to ensure I have better productivity and time management. Then, (2) on Fridays each week I will analyze my effectiveness and make modifications for the following week.
This will get you started on setting and achieving your goals for the following year. Be sure to take time to reflect on your list of action items as well as modify week after week or month after month. The point is to not beat yourself up when your list of action items fail. Rome wasn’t built in a day. New habits take time to implement and bad habits take even longer to break.
Ask for help!
An accountability partner is a great way to make sure you stay on task. Have him/her check in once in a while to see how you are doing. Share what your struggles are and get insight on how to do better or suggestions on new action items to try and implement.
As I mentioned earlier, start with small goals that lead up to the big picture items. This will keep you less frustrated and make you feel good about yourself. As you achieve one goal, cross it off your list and work your way up to the next item. Baby steps!