Happy New Year!
It’s the new year… that moment when we turn the page to a new blank chapter that we look forward to writing.
I love new beginnings: new days, new weeks, new months, new years; I’m a big planner and an optimistic goal-setter, so these new times are my favorite to dream, plan, and start executing.
The new year is a time when a lot of people set goals and resolutions, although this year I’m seeing more and more people proclaim that they WON’T be creating any New Year’s Resolutions (usually because most resolutions fail).
Well, whether you call them goals, resolutions, or whatever, if you are setting SOMETHING this New Year, here are my simple rules to help you increase the likelihood of achieving and excelling beyond what you intend to accomplish.
Rule #1. Set Process Goals Rather That Outcome Goals
Most people set outcome goals like this I want to lose weight, I want to quit smoking, I want to make more money, etc. I also set these kinds of goals for a long time too and didn’t reach them. It’s good to aspire to these kinds of change in life.
However, these are outcome goals; they’re focused on what you want to end up with. Unfortunately, these resolutions fail because we fail to realize what needs to happen to reach the outcome: you want to make more money in your business? Great! How will you do that?
So, stop setting outcome goals. While you should have a target to work toward, you should really be setting process goals—goals built around the process of achieving your target.
What activities do you need to do regularly in order to achieve your target? For example: your goal shouldn’t be to lose weight, it should be to eat less each day, exercise more, and track your weight; your goal shouldn’t be to quit smoking, it should be to smoke 1 less cigarette per day than you did the day before; your goal shouldn’t be to make more money, it should be to add 1 new client each week while raising your rates by 10%.
Rule #2. Make It Measurable
Most goals or resolutions are so non-specific that no one knows if they
- Want to lose weight? How much? If you drop a pound, you were technically successful but do you feel successful?
- Want to quit smoking? For how long? If you go without a cigarette on a long flight did you technically achieve your goal even though you’re still smoking?
- Want to make more money? If you get a slight bump in income because a client gave you an extra project one month, were you successful?
No. Your lack of measurability makes your goals too easy to say “oh, look: I did it!” when you really didn’t.
Better goals are set like this:
I want to add $25,000 more to my net income in 2019 than I did in 2018. I’ll do that by adding 1 new client each week while raising my prices across the board by 10%.
(Even the goal of “adding 1 new client each week” could probably be made more specific, depending on your business.)
Then, track these numbers regularly: write them down on a piece of paper. Depending on what you’re tracking, you might not notice a huge shift at first but stick with it because as that number moves in the right direction, you’ll start to notice and that will stack on the motivation.
Rule #3. Build Your Activities Into A System
This is something I’ve only started to do lately and it’s made a big difference.
In the past when I’ve set New Year resolutions, it’s usually translated into “I-need-to do-these-additional-20-tasks-every-day”… which makes it hard to complete those tasks and create change because I’m trying to (1) remember to do them, and (2) squeeze them in amongst all the regular stuff I have to do to run a business.
The solution is something I just sort of stumbled into lately and it’s making a big different: rather than trying to remember to do additional things, I’ve been working at building my process goals into a system. This means…
- Creating a checklist of the steps I need to take or the resources I need to use to complete that new activity. Don’t try to figure it out on the fly; know ahead of time.
- Purposely adding the activities into my daily work—I already have a checklist of things I want to do every day, it’s important to put those new activities into that checklist to make sure it’s included in your day-to-day tasks. (Bonus reading: check out this really powerful practice I use daily to help me get more work done.)
- Scheduling it to be done at a specific time (if it’s it’s not time-specific) just to build the habit.
- Folding it into other work that I do so I can complete my normal work while also completing the new activity.
- Intentionally trying to do one thing to get multiple results (for example: can I create 1 marketing piece that I can use in multiple ways or across more than one of my brands?)
Ultimately, you want to turn your new process goals into habits… habits that you automatically do without giving it a second thought.
When you’re faced with the blank page of a new year, it’s fun to think about the changes you can make to create the life you want. But statistically, those goals and resolutions will fall short and you may end 2019 in the same place you
Want to increase the likelihood that you’ll grow into the life you want? Apply these simple rules to your goal-setting: set process goals, measure them diligently, and build systems around them.
Have an amazing 2019!!!