Happy New Year – and may 2023 be a prosperous and fulfilling year for you and yours!
With that aspiration in mind, I’d like to pose an important question about goals, a big question we make a habit of sharing with our clients at this time of year. Every December, it seems, we set goals for ourselves (sometimes also known as “resolutions”) in a well-meaning effort to create sustainable positive change in our lives. And every January or February (or maybe March in a good year), most of us look back on those goals with a mixture of stress, denial, and regret because we know we didn’t follow through on them in the way we’d hoped we would. So the big question is, how do we break that cycle and set goals that stick? Here are seven powerful goal-setting tips we share with our clients that turn “resolutions” into results.
- Tie the goal to something truly important to you as a person. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t money.) Each of us has at least one unique life goal that means a great deal to us on a deeply personal level. I don’t know what that goal is for you: it might be a trip around the world, a significant charitable contribution that helps you honor the memory and legacy of a loved one, a fabulous new present you and your significant other can enjoy together all year long – something you know will bring you closer together. The possibilities are endless. I do know, though, that we all work harder for our personal goals than we work for somebody else’s. This year, let’s make a change. Instead of setting a goal based on depositing a certain amount of money, instead of setting a goal based on attaining a business goal that someone else has set for you, why not take the time to identify a goal that motivates you personally in a profound way? Then you can find a way to connect that powerful personal goal to a financial or business goal. For instance: Don’t just make the goal to earn your bonus; make the goal to earn the bonus so you can take that trip around the world that’s on your bucket list.
- Take a well-rounded approach. There’s nothing wrong with financial goals, of course. All the same, it’s important to set goals in several different areas of your life. Think of multiple goals that will motivate you to change the status quo for the better in terms of sales, health, spirituality, work, creativity, friends, mindset, and family. And once you have a sales goal that motivates you, you will also want to consider setting sub-goals that support your larger sales goal (such as daily behavioral and activity goals, account management goals, upselling goals, and cross-selling goals). Do this for each of the categories. Take some time to create a list of goals that goes both wide and deep!
- Once you’ve set a specific goal, break it into actionable, measurable chunks. Breaking the goal into smaller numbers allows you to identify the activities necessary to achieve it and track your progress toward attaining it. For example: To make my bonus, I want to secure twelve new clients, each with an average sales of $X. That means I need three such clients each quarter, which, based on my current numbers, I need to talk to Y number of new decision-makers each week and deliver Z number of presentations each month.
- Write your goals down and speak about them often. This simple step dramatically improves the statistical likelihood that you will achieve the goal.
- Build accountability. Once you have identified goals that genuinely matter to you, it’s a good idea to share your list with others you trust and discuss it with them. You may also want to consider creating an accountability-partner relationship with someone willing to share their goals with you, hold you accountable, and be held accountable in turn.
- Adjust as necessary. If you reach a point where you’ve exhausted your motivation and willingness to attempt to reach the goal, or if you find the goal you set was unrealistic, revise your goal. In the present tense, what you’re after is a goal that makes you feel that you are working toward something important. Find a goal that inspires you and that yields measurable signs of progress over time.
- Reward yourself. Sheryl Crow once sang, “Making miracles is hard work – most people give up before they happen.” Those words are essential reminders that much effort goes into achieving a meaningful goal. When you hit one, be sure to do something to celebrate! Follow these simple guidelines, and your experience with ineffective New Year’s “resolutions” that start fading on January 1 will be completely transformed.