As a New Year unfolds, much of the world will participate in a long-standing tradition: setting goals and making resolutions. Using clichés like “plan your work and work your plan” we’ll march off with iPad in hand, jotting down all of our would-be accomplishments for the upcoming 12 months.
The excitement of a brand new year will fill us with anticipation as we anxiously wait for success to walk up, yank our front doors open and flood into our homes and businesses.
We buy books and courses, we enroll in workshops, we drag home exercise equipment, workout DVDs, nutritional supplements and organizational tools by the boatload. We are ready! This year is going to be OUR YEAR!
<Fast forward two months…>
Life rears its ugly head and the best-laid plans are just that: laid to the side.
The half-read books get pushed to the bottom of your Kindle reader. The new treadmill has become a glorified clothesline and the workout DVD sits in the player after only two uses. Here we go, slowly sliding back into our old routines and behaviors. Here’s where the line is drawn in the sand. Will you or will you not actually do what you said you were going to do?
It’s a tough question. I can tell you from experience that planning is the easy part. The question has never been whether we could plan. But setting detailed goals the right way (with a measurable implementation schedule) goes far beyond planning. Writing down what you want is nothing more than making wishes on falling stars.
In order to accomplish what you wish for, you have to follow through.
I’ve learned this the hard way over the years. So I finally created a very simple 4-step process for setting and accomplishing my goals.
1. Make Realistic Goals – You’ve heard this before, but most people don’t pay attention to it. If you want to learn to write better copy, don’t go out and buy every product you can find. If you do, you’ll face certain overwhelm and information overload. You’ll get paralyzed by the amount of work you think you have to do and you’ll end up not doing anything.
Instead, take small bites. Look around then choose ONE product to start with. Read the book or take the course and – after you’ve finished – move on to another one.
2. Set Timeframes – Rather than saying, “I’ll learn to write better website copy,” create goals with a timeline. “I’ll purchase XYZ course and complete it by February 23rd.” Put that date on your calendar then work backward to see how many sections/lessons within the course you’ll need to complete each day/week in order to finish on time.
3. Implement What You’ve Learned – While a lot of people will do steps one and two, almost none actually implement what they’ve learned before moving on to something else. THIS IS CRUCIAL.
Why bother learning or buying anything if you aren’t going to put it to use? You can buy all the exercise DVDs in the store, but they won’t get you into shape sitting in your entertainment center drawer. You can purchase every book on copywriting known to man, but you won’t convert any new shoppers into buyers just by reading the material.
To accomplish your goal and see results you must put what you’ve learned/bought into action.
4. Start Again – Once you’ve been through all three of the steps above, then you can move onto the next item on your list.
Biting off more than we can chew is a chronic problem that prevents people from getting what they want out of life. They try to lose weight and quit smoking and stop saying swear words all at the same time. It’s too much to expect.
This year can be your year. Stop making wishes. Start setting goals and implementing new practices. When you pick a single thing to focus on and take it one step at a time you’ll see the outcome you’ve been looking for.
Feel like you’re already overwhelmed? Here’s how I got out from under time traps that almost cost me my entire business!
Have questions about setting and accomplishing goals? Join the conversation below!