We have all made this statement, filling in the blank with various resolutions: exercise more, lose 10 pounds, stop smoking, call Mom more often. At this point in January, 80% of us have already abandoned these lofty goals. For some, that is a relief. For others, abandoning a resolution can be disappointing. I can’t really give you very many New Year’s Resolutions that I have achieved over the years.
This year, I resolve to do things differently, to choose goals that I can and will accomplish. Whether your resolutions are personal or professional, there are similar steps you can take that will result in success.
Do you care?
The number one motivator to achieving any goal is that you have to care about it. Increasing sales by 10% is a great goal. However, if there is no reward for your team members when they hit this goal, then there is going to be little motivation for them to contribute. Let me give you another example. If your goal is for your middle school-age children to put their laundry away, you will need to convince them that it benefits them, not you. Use this same approach with your employees.
Another motivator is to think about the ways that your actions will impact the people that you care about, whether it is friends, family, or team members. Achieving better time management reduces your stress. It will also have a ripple effect, allowing your team to receive timely responses and take actions, to you being able to make it to your child’s soccer game on time.
Frame your goals and resolutions to see the positive outcomes. Here are two examples that demonstrate different attitudes:
“I want to finish my degree to increase my opportunities and to set an example for my family.”
“I’m this close to my degree. I may as well finish it since I have already spent so much money.”
The first statement is made by someone who understands the need for ownership and personal motivation. The second one exhibits the same attitude as the middle-schooler and the laundry basket mentioned above. Rewards and recognition are very motivating whether you are 3, 30, or 3 times 30. Very few of us are motivated by threats or punishment, so focus on the positive.
Keep it Real
It is also important to keep it real when you are thinking about your goals. Starting a running program with the goal of running a 5K in a few months is very doable. Expecting to complete a marathon after only a few months of training is likely setting yourself up for failure. The same is true of your business goals. Setting achievable benchmarks will give you and your team a sense of accomplishment.
Map out the small steps you need to achieve to reach the bigger goal, and celebrate completing each small step.
Perhaps the most rewarding thing of all is to have to set new goals mid-year because you already achieved all that you set out to do at the beginning of the year. Imagine how good that will feel!
Don’t give up if there’s a setback
No one is perfect, and mistakes will happen. There are also any number of outside circumstances that can create roadblocks or delays.
When setbacks happen, and they will, remember that progress is better than perfection. Adjust your goals if needed, or restart where you left off, and keep pushing forward.
If you need help setting your goals and understanding the impact of having goals, let’s set up a strategy session. Today is just as good as January 1st to get started.
Author: Sandy Merritt