The New Year is a time for new beginnings. However, goal setting is not something that has to be reserved for New Years. Any time is a good time for reflection on the past and to think about how we can make our business more successful and our lives better. Whether big or small, goals help give us purpose and make our lives richer.
While it’s estimated that 40% of Americans set new goals for the New Year, only 8% of people achieve them. (1) In fact, most are forgotten within the first few weeks, while the semi-successful work at their goals for 6 months. So what is the secret to setting goals and sticking to them?
Following are 6 tips to help you successfully reach the goals you set.
TIP #1: Reflect. Think of something that really interests you, something that excites you, and then contemplate how it can affect your future if you reach your goal. Now contemplate your future if you don’t reach your goal. If the goal you are considering adds value to your life or the life of others then you are taking a step in the right direction.
TIP #2: Attainability. Once you have decided on a goal, determine if it is attainable. It you’re not convinced you can do it, break it down into bite-size pieces that are easier to accomplish. Be specific. It’s easier to say, “I’m not going to eat fried foods or ice cream any more,” than it is to set a goal to lose 30 pounds. And while you may want to write your autobiography, it’s much easier to start writing or recording memories of special people, places and events … one story at a time.
TIP #3: Realistic. Examine your goal to see if it realistically will help you achieve the results you are seeking. For example, if your goal is to meet with ALL of your clients at least twice a year, it would be more beneficial to create a profile of your perfect client and spend more time with clients and prospects who fit that profile.
TIP #4: Make a Plan. You are much more like to reach your goal if you have a plan that includes actionable steps and a timeline for achieving them. Some goals will need to be scheduled.
For example, if your goal is to go to the gym each day, you will want to add it to your schedule. If your goal is to write a book, set aside 30 minutes each day to write. You’ll find you can easily write a few hundred words in this time and at the end of the week you would have a short chapter. In only four months you could have a book that is ready to be edited and designed, and sticking to this schedule, within six months you could have books in hand to give to clients and prospects.
RELATED: A Business Professional’s Guide to Writing a Book
TIP #5: Accountability. According to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University, 70% of participants who wrote their goals down and sent weekly updates to friends were more successful at achieving them than those who kept their goals to themselves, without writing them down. So tell others what your goal is – they will become your support team — and write your goal down.
TIP #6: Celebrate the milestones. Keep a journal detailing your journey. Each time you reach a milestone, whether you reach a certain weight or add another “perfect” client to your practice, celebrate the event. Invite your support team to celebrate with you. A celebration can be as simple as a phone call to say, “I did it!” or a lunch date to say, “Thank you for your support!”
Footnote: (1) Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions, Dan Diamond, Forbes, Jan.1, 2013