Making New Year’s resolutions is hard, and sticking to them can be an even greater challenge. But, if your happiness is linked to your business and personal success, then you need to set goals and plan to accomplish those goals with a healthy mindset.
Reaching new heights in your business is a remarkable feeling. Make sure you get there on purpose, because once you do it, you’re going to want to do it again and again. Close your eyes and envision what success feels like, how it raises your confidence, and the impact it has on how others view you.
When it comes to achieving success, if you think you can, you will. I speak from experience.
Like some of you, I have long been a single mother and self-employed business owner. There have been some very scary times over those 20 years, such as in January 2012 when I got sick and had no income for nearly an entire year. My illness that year cost me my network and my referrals and when I was finally in good health to return to work, I was left adrift.
Thankfully, I had three mentors to whom I could turn to during this rough time of my professional life. And so, with the guidance and encouragement of my mentors and fire lit beneath me, I started building a day-to-day plan, and I simply began to work the plan. In 2016, I tripled my revenue over my best year. In 2017, I married my husband. The future has never looked so bright.
So, how do you set yourself up for success? Think of goal setting as an assessment tool, as much as it is a directional indicator. Where is your business today? Where do want it to be at the end of 2018? To put metaphorically, it’s just like using a GPS. You need to know exactly where you are starting from, and exactly where you want your destination to be. Vague goals that are too broad and undefined will not take your business to the next level.
There are many people who start by looking to the past. But it’s crucial to remember that was THEN, and this is NOW. Imagine you are sitting in your car, and a tarp is covering your windshield. What are your inputs? Two side mirrors and a rear view. Now, cover up those things that only point backwards and take the tarp off the windshield. When all you can see is ahead, you are free to move forward, and more likely to look for new ideas, tools, and contacts.
So, let’s think about success strategies in grooming your outlook and setting your goals.
Take a moment to remove negative words or thoughts as you start to define what success looks like to you. I remember saying to my mentor, “Well, I won’t do that again because it didn’t work.” I had to identify obstacles to my own success, and the biggest one was using a negative measuring stick. There are a lot of actions that are good, you just need to improve your technique. Another trick is to smile. Every time you need help or a favor, smile when you ask. Irresistible.
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals. Start by writing your first draft of goals with that acronym in mind. I use these terms: Specific. Measurable. Align with my values (some use Achievable). Realistic, yet cause me to reach. Time-based. Use positive words, write in the first person, and use present tense. Using these three objectives causes you to take ownership of the outcome.
Another very important piece of goal setting is to know WHY each goal is important to YOU. Keep asking yourself “why” as you write down your goals, and you will be much more precise in how measurable the outcome is.
Additionally, you absolutely want to include your S.O., your kids, and anyone who can be a mentor in your goal setting. Rewrite your top three goals EVERY day, plot your steps, take action by a certain time each day, know why reaching each goal matters and share your minor and major successes along the way. Having a goal to triple your customer base, double your closing ratio, and quadruple your revenue by the end of the year are great goals, and far more meaningful when you get there.
And most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way.