New Year resolutions – the road to failure?
I’m not convinced about New Year resolutions. There’s something about setting a target or change of behaviour for 12 months that doesn’t work. Maybe its changing priorities, a lack of momentum, losing interest or that life has changed fundamentally. We can have a tendency to give up at obstacles and to berate ourselves for another failure. And what if you achieved all your goals in the first six months…. do you sit back and chill or do you up the ante?
From my experience in the business world, people often set irrelevant goals (not linked to the business or the person) and the goals are ignored until November when the panic is on the achieve everything in a short time.
So how do you overcome this and not give up on setting goals altogether?
Firstly, you can set shorter term goals. Either create monthly goals or set your longer term goal and break it down into parts. For example, if you want to work on your public speaking your goal could be to attend Toastmasters. On a monthly basis you can measure this by attending once/twice a month and quarterly to make a presentation in work. Ensure the goals are clear – SMART – so that you can easily decide if you have been successful. For example, “To grow the business by 30%” is not measureable. Do you want to grow sales, orders, enquiries or profit? And what is this measured against – 2008, 2009?
Secondly, focus on what is important to you and the business.
• What challenges will you face this year?
• What targets need to be met?
• What will change this year?
• What can you do to improve compared to the competition?
• What is the longer term business strategy & what do you need to get there?
• What skills/behaviours do you need?
• Where are the weaknesses?
• What have you been avoiding?
Thirdly, the goals should be converted into action. If the goal is “To grow sales revenue by 30% over 2009 sales” list your actions:
• Prospect new customers
• Meet with current customers to understand their needs
• Offer incentives to loyal customers
• Offer new products/services
• Focus on selling high revenue sales items
• Make the sales process easy for your customers
And now start doing it – this is your mission or strategy for 2010 and the results will be your measure.
Finally, to ensure you stay on track put time in your diary to check in with your progress either monthly or quarterly. See what you have achieved and what has been successful. If you didn’t measure up to your expectations ask your self why, what stopped you and what can you do (or who can help you) to start achieving. Sometimes a different approach to your goals can give you more focus and really drive your success in 2010.