It's that time again when we ask ourselves, "What do I want to accomplish this year?" Some of us write New Year's resolutions, many which never come to fruition. We may start out with a lot of energy and excitement, but don't recognize how we set ourselves up for failure. Read on for tips to help you get better results this year - in how you write goals and your approach to achieving them.
1. Unbundle and be specific
Let me take an example of Judy who sets a goal to get 20 new clients this year. We all know that she won't find all of these clients immediately and it may take a while to meet her goal. So, first she needs to unbundle her large goal into its component parts. For example, revising her goal to get 5 new clients by the end of each quarter will still allow Judy to meet her overall goal but breaks her goal into manageable pieces. She will also know when she's achieved her goal because it is measurable and time-bound with specific interim milestones.
2. Identify what makes it so important
Judy should also think about what makes this goal so important to her. Perhaps, it's about feeling good about herself, making more money, or getting promoted. Whatever it is, reminding herself of the underlying reason will motivate her - especially when she feels stuck. Often, having a visual reminder (e.g., a note in a visible place, a screensaver) or someone who periodically reminds Judy of the importance of her goal can be very powerful.
3. Think about what it will really take
Is Judy's goal realistic and attainable for her? What will it really take to meet her goal and what obstacles might get in her way? For example, does she need support from someone who is more skilled in developing new business? How should Judy prioritize her time and leverage her team so she can focus more on sales? Does she have the budget she needs? Answering these questions as she's formulating her goals and developing supporting strategies will help Judy be more successful.
4. Assess and Adjust
Periodically, Judy should assess what's working and what's not and make adjustments to her approach. For example, if she's not spending enough time on developing new business, what's getting in her way? What does she need to change about her strategy? She should schedule checkpoints often enough that she can make adjustments before it is too late to meet her goal.
So, I challenge you to try these tips in 2010. I have no doubt that you will get better results. Who knows, maybe this will be the first year you follow through on your resolutions!