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New Years Resolutions Vs Goal Setting

In last week’s blog, I talked about New Years resolutions and the important distinction between New Year’s resolutions, no matter how well intentioned, and the crucial task of goal setting, especially for your business.

If you haven’t read last weeks blog, perhaps start there before you read on.

As I explained last week, New Years resolutions are very often nothing more than a vague wish which gets forgotten by about the third week of January.

Properly set business goals on the other hand:

  • Should be based around our purpose
  • Should be written down and reviewed regularly
  • Should come with a clear plan of action that ensures the goal is achieved.

Last year, I made a conscious decision to spend more time working on the business goals that I had set for 2018. In other words, I decided to spend more time working ON my business rather than IN it.

I decided to tackle my business goals by doing three things. I covered them in last week’s blog, but for ease I’ve summarised them again here:

  1. Write them down. Write down your goals. Experts reckon that the very fact that you have written down your goals means you are already doing things differently than 98% of the population.

One of the reasons 98% of the population don’t keep New Year’s resolutions? They don’t write them down.

But having written down your goals, don’t just put them in a drawer and forget about them. Read them regularly – at least 2-3 times per week. That way you start to not only memorise your goals, you start to live them.

  1. Create a plan of action. This is why you need to take time away from the business because this is where the hard work starts. You need to create a detailed plan of action to enable you to achieve your goals.

One thing I do which I have found to be really helpful is to “reverse-engineer” my goal. In other words, start with the goal and work backwards, creating a plan of action of what you must do to achieve your goal.

Take it all the way back to today – what activity can you do today that will help take you one step closer to achieving your goal?

  1. Work on them every day. Do something every day that will help you achieve your goal. The cumulative effect of doing something daily will astound you.

Let me give you an example. Two people each start at the beginning of the month with a penny.

Person A doubles their penny on alternate days for a month. At the end of the month, by doubling every alternate day they have accumulated £327.68. Not bad you might think!

Person B on the other hand, doubles their penny EVERY day for a month. At the end of the month, by doubling up every day they have accumulated £5,368,709.12!!

Imagine now the effect on your business of focusing in, and instead of working on a new project once a week or when you remember, working on it every day……

So how did I get on in each of these three areas in 2018? Well here’s what happened.

  1. Writing them down. I’ve always written down my goals for the year ahead and have done so for many years. However, like many others, I’ve always tended to then put them in a drawer and forget about them, perhaps bringing them out when I remember – which usually wasn’t more than 2-3 times over the course of the year. And one of those was usually in early December when I thought I’d better review what was still outstanding on my list.

Hardly dynamic goal setting!

In 2018 I tried to do things differently. Having written them down, I put my goals sheet in a folder which I brought out on a Monday morning and then again on a Friday afternoon.

I found it made a huge difference. Not only did I remember what my goals actually were, I started to memorise them, live them and importantly target getting them completed.

It may sound obvious, but the discipline of reading the goals I had set for my business meant they got done.

  1. Creating a plan of action. This took quite a lot of work. How do you start with a big goal for the year and “chunk it down” into manageable daily or weekly tasks?

I found that for me, the best way was to start with a concentrated day out of the business. I then took my “big” annual goals and broke them down into what I wanted to achieve every 90 days. From there, I decided what I would need to do monthly in order to achieve the 90-day goals, which in turn were contributing to the overall annual goals.

Having done that, at the start of each week, I took my monthly goals and broke them down into what I needed to achieve that particular week. In turn, that meant I knew what I had to do each day.

In essence, what I did was start with an annual goal, break it down to what I wanted to achieve every 90 days, then monthly, weekly and finally daily.

This way I knew what I needed to be working on daily if I wanted to achieve my overall “big annual” goals.

It sounds hard work, but it is worth it, and it does make a difference, because you start to “live and breathe” what your trying to achieve in your business.

I came across this quote: “If you can’t explain every week how you have materially moved the business forward, you won’t succeed!”

  1. Work on it every day. This is arguably the most important point when it comes to achieving your goals but for me it has also been my biggest challenge. As a finance broker, deals need to be looked at, meetings need to take place, discussions with clients and lenders need to happen.

And of course, on top of that there is all the administration of running a small business.

As a result, I always promised myself that I’d get these important tasks done and work on my goal tasks later in the day. Of course, that never happened as other things took over.

So, what I decided was to carve out time in the morning at the beginning of each day to work ON my business rather than IN it.

So, what I did was put 2 hours aside at the beginning of each day. I didn’t switch on my mobile, didn’t check emails, didn’t look at client files, didn’t do a bank reconciliation. All important tasks, but tasks which if I didn’t do for a couple of hours “it wasn’t the end of the world”.

I was amazed at the cumulative effect of working on your business for 2 hours every day on an ongoing basis!

And that’s it! The difference between New Year’s resolutions and goal setting in your business.

I hope my successes and challenges whilst setting and working on my goals have given you some ideas as you look to grow your business in 2019.

Here’s to your success!