Something happens to us in early January. Whether it’s due to a well deserved holiday, time spent with friends and family, a glass of wine or two or just the optimism that arrives with the New Year’s Eve fireworks. We are suddenly full of hope and this often leads to us setting New Year’s resolutions. Suddenly everything seems possible, but in the cold, hard light of day, those promises we made seem near impossible to keep. In fact, it almost seems that New Year’s resolutions are more likely to entertain those around you, than actually be achieved! However there is a way to make sure your dreams and aspirations remain intact, and it’s never too late to start.
Most resolutions focus on an outcome and don’t give much consideration as to how the goal will be reached. Without proper planning, a resolution can quickly fall into a heap. By focussing on the process, rather than the objective, your desired result is far more likely to be achieved, possibly quicker than you had imagined.
What you need is a plan within a plan. Rather than make a resolution at the last minute, take time to analyse your business. No doubt you already have aspirations and ideas. Make a list and figure out how best to achieve these goals. Make sure the resolutions you make are something you can control. For example, you can decide how many prospective clients to approach on a weekly basis. You can put a marketing plan together and show your business in the best possible light. What you can’t control is whether these potential clients actually buy from you. As long as your resolutions and goals are ones you can control, you are far more likely to stick with them.
According to a recent study it takes an average of sixty six days of routine practice before a new behaviour becomes established. Some of the harder changes, ones that are out of character or new to a business, can take much longer. All this takes commitment, perseverance and a great deal of planning and monitoring. Are you up for the challenge?
If so, here’s some suggestions that might inspire you to create your own list:
• Own your inbox—As soon as an email or paperwork arrives, do something with it. File, delete, reply or put it in a “deal with it later” file. Your workload will feel lighter if you don’t have to look at a cluttered inbox.
• Delegate—Identify tasks that you can hand over to others. Use your extra time to focus on where you can add real value to your business and clients.
• Be positive—don’t let negative people, including negative news from the media, get you down. Focus on what you can control and use your energy to analyse what’s happening directly with your business, especially from a financial aspect.
• Network—Let your clients and suppliers know you value their business and product. It’s simple, but can have a lasting, positive effect on your business.
• Show, don’t tell—Demonstrate to people how good your business is, don’t tell them.
• Time out—Get out of the office. Turn off the phone. Go for a walk, run or swim. Sit under a tree and read a book. Do something that is just for you, even if it’s only for thirty minutes. Switching off will energise your mind and body, resulting in a more relaxed you. Your health, clients and family will thank you for it.
Everyone is human. We make mistakes, we sometimes fail, but we all have the ability to achieve. By understanding that a resolution needs planning, monitoring and commitment, you are well on the way to achieving your 2014 goals, no matter how big.
Final Thought: Make a list of five things you would like to achieve in 2014—make sure they are things you can control. It’s still January, so you have another eleven months to make this happen. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Design a strategy of how you’ll get there. If you break it down into manageable pieces, by monitoring on a regular basis, you’ll find that sticking to your resolutions is easier than you had expected.