It’s funny how we have a tendency to view every new year with nervous anticipation, hoping it will be a good one, as if somehow it holds a secret, unknown destiny for us.
Sure there will be surprises and yes there are unknowns however, by taking charge of those things we do have control over we can ensure a great 2015. This is a time of fresh starts, renewed energy, refocusing and setting new goals. Before you get started on planning for 2015 here are some reflective questions to answer.
Make it an exercise on paper:
• How many of last years’ goals went unaccomplished? Why? Do you even remember last years’ goals? Your answers should help you break bad patterns.
• What profitable activities and processes should you hang on to and which ones should you lose. Think business, personal and even people.
• What are you passionate about? This should drive your goal setting efforts.
Now that you have blown away the chaff let’s focus fully on the future. Two key areas to plan for are business goals and personal goals.
Whether you are an agent, employee or owner a business will not survive without measures to either protect it from failure or to grow it. Just like humans, companies are a work in progress. A good place to start setting goals are those areas in need of improvement. They should be self evident. Of course there are obvious objectives like increased sales, running leaner and improving profits but here are some thought provoking business success goals to consider:
• Expanding into new markets that compliment your existing offering.
• Affiliating your business with other complimentary companies for a symbiotic win-win outcome.
• Become more customer-centric.
• Improve Customer Relations Management system. (CRM)
• Start employee training and employee loyalty programs.
• Learn to use cutting edge marketing strategies like social media and internet marketing.
• Start that next project you’ve been afraid to tackle. The Chinese proverb says “The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The second best time is now.”
All the best business and career goals in the world will mean nothing without a passionate human driving them. Here are a few personal goals that if accomplished would bring not only success but a sense of fulfillment.
• A balanced work life. The more you balance your life the better you function in all areas. A prosperous business or career doesn’t have to equate to a bad marriage or poor parenting.
• Improve listening skills. Listening to others from their point of view helps you respond to them better. People respect you more too.
• Change your influences. Who do you hang out with? What books do you read and what TV do you watch? Changes in this area could change your life.
• Learn to manage stress. For the most part stress can be managed by adjusting our perspective on a matter, a key factor in sound decision making. We live longer too.
• Become the expert in your field. Learn something new. Take a class.
• Get Healthy. Eat, sleep and exercise well. A healthy body means a healthy mind and increased energy.
• If you have debt, get out of it, fast! Debt is a destructive distraction we don’t need.
• Become more spiritually attuned.
Getting It Done
No discussion on goal setting is complete without considering the SMART acronym. Goals need to be:
Specific: What? Why? Where?
Measureable: Have quantities, standards, benchmarks, milestones and outcomes in place.
Achievable: Know your capacities both human and practical. “Am I physically able to get it done and do I have enough resources?”
Realistic: Is the goal practically attainable? Is it within reason?
Time Limit: Target dates for completion keeps you on track and focused.
Mapping your road to 2015 may take a day or even a week, but the most important thing to consider is what happens next. Goals and plans still need a person to action them. Many folks lack the “resolute” part of their new year’s “resolutions.” Webster’s definition of resolute says: “a firm determination.” Discipline, self control, fortitude and will are human attributes more valuable than skill, raw talent or education. Goals are useless without sustained action so adopting self discipline strategies is key. Here are a few methods to get you thinking.
• Have your goals written down, not buried in a file in your computer but clearly visible so that every activity you do for the day is in pursuit of your goals.
• Communicate to everyone what your goals are. This holds you accountable as well keeping all relevant parties tracking with you.
• Develop a self monitoring system. This could be a list of relevant actions with a progress chart you can check daily, much like the fitness and health apps so popular these days.
• If your goal or resolution falls by the wayside don’t give up on it. Start again. Rather have something accomplished later than not at all.
• Have a reliable accountability partner, someone you respect. Mastermind groups are becoming popular for the success minded. Also, the right coach is worth their weight in gold.
• Intentionally lose bad habits that restrict your discipline. However, losing a bad habit won’t just leave a void. Another habit will take it’s place. Be sure it’s a good one.
• As mentioned before, be sure your goals are aligned with your passion and purpose. You’ll run out of steam fast without a passion for something.
Some final thoughts. Your 2015 depends largely on your preparation for it. If you don’t achieve a goal it should be due to things beyond your control. Either way, the journey to goal accomplishment should be a rich and fulfilling one. Who you become and how you impact others along the way should be as valuable to you as the goal itself.
Happy New Year.