By Terry Brock
It’s that time of year when we hear about the importance of New Year’s Resolutions. We all know and have heard about a million times the importance of goal setting.
But, hey, can we get real here? Entrepreneur to entrepreneur. Salesperson to salesperson. You KNOW that you probably won’t reach all those ultra-lofty goals no matter how enthusiastic you are on New Year’s Eve (depending on how many adult beverages you’ve consumed!). So, then we often swing to the other extreme and don’t set any goals. And you know that won’t bring out the best in you either.
So what’s a salesperson (and aren’t we all today?) to do? How are you going to manage this business called You, Inc. that you are running?
I propose that this year you don’t set New Year’s Resolutions. Now, wait a minute. I can already feel the crush of email coming to me about how you should set goals, etc. etc. Hey! I am with you. I set rigid goals for myself on a weekly and daily basis. What I’m proposing this year is that you don’t just set New Year’s Resolutions but put a plan in place that can seriously change your life and your business for the better. Make 2009 the year you see some specific, bottom-line-boosting changes.
Here’s a trick that will help. Set your yearly goals first, and then back them up with quarterly and monthly goals to achieve them. Suppose you want to lose, say, 50 pounds. It would not be medically sound to try and do that in one week — even if you could! Instead, you get the assistance of a trained professional. You put together a realistic plan for diet, rest, exercise and the system that works best for you according to your health care provider. Then you have to stay with it (discipline, my friend!) and make incremental progress.
This is the key to success with any goal program. You put teeth into your goals when you measure what you’re doing and you set small, bite-sized goals that you can obtain. Going back to our example of weight loss, losing 1 lb. in 1 week is usually realistic. This is something most people can do. If you do that for each week of the year, you’ve lost 50 lbs. easily.
This coming year is going to be quite different from anything we’ve experienced before. Party now and do your resting during these Holidays because when January gets here, it is time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get into some serious work! These times call for extra effort to achieve our goals. Financial times are going to bring out the best — and worst — in many people. Prepare now for hitting your goals.
Make it a point to put together Quarterly Goals that you can refer to. Then break down those Quarterly Goals into monthly goals. Leave the flexibility to deal with the unknown. We don’t know all that is going to happen but we do know that there are going to be challenges. Get ready now mentally, physically and financially to handle whatever is coming down the pike.
Put teeth into your resolutions in other ways. Yes, I strongly recommend making goals, but put teeth into them. Build in your own private rewards — and penalties to hold your feet to the fire. If you achieve January’s goals, give yourself a treat of an extra movie, an extra day off, a special chocolate treat —whatever is reasonable and motivating for you. But then, here’s the kicker, find a way to discipline yourself if you don’t make it. If you don’t hit that important goal, tell yourself you have to do something that is rather unpleasant. You have to go without a valued treat. Find a way that, within reason, makes you regret not getting your goal for that month and work that much harder for the next month’s goals.
I’m a big fan of monthly goals. Yearly goals are good too but they have to build from the smaller, more doable goals. I remember when I was fresh out of high school, working to earn money for college at various odd jobs that I had a job selling vacuum cleaners (really!). It wasn’t my cup of tea but I did learn one important lesson there. I remember our sales manager telling us that sometimes we might have a bad day. We might even have a bad week. But we’d never have a bad month. A month is a more manageable period of time. We all have good and bad days. This is normal. Sometimes you’ll even have a week that doesn’t go as well. But, within a month, you have it within your ability to correct the error, get the right resources to help you and make things better. If things are still bad after a month, it is not a matter of just trying harder but time to question if something more fundamental is awry.
And here’s a high-tech bonus that can really help: Schedule several email messages to go to yourself on the 1st of April, July and October. Those are the beginnings of the 2nd. 3rd and 4th Quarters. Remind yourself in the future of your plans at the beginning of the year. Then give yourself that much-needed, motivational pep talk — customized for your own needs. Take time — even a few moments — at the end of each quarter to evaluate how you’ve done thus far on your major yearly goals. Major businesses always evaluate how they’ve done on a quarterly basis. You should do this for You, Inc. as well. This is critical for success.
By putting teeth into your New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll get better results. And be sure to have fun as you do it. Remember life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Make money. Have fun. These are two of my goals for the New Year (and yes, I make them more specific!) and I hope you are able to make 2009 the very best year of your life!
Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at email@example.com or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.