Monday, May 28, 2012

To Heck With New Years Resolutions - Set Clear Goals Every Month!

There are mixed opinions on the practice of setting annual goals or creating "New Year's Resolutions".  Some people achieve great results from mapping out a plan for their year, others feel that it is a recipe for failure.

I have long been a goal setter and each January I come up with a list of targets and a theme for areas of improvement for the year.  Sometimes I have meet my goals, other years I have come up short.  Either way, I find the process of creating targets and using them to assist in my decision making process over 12 months has  helped me advance my career.

The problem for many is that the new year only comes once.  If you fail to coordinate a realistic and actionable plan by the first few weeks of the year, the odds are that you will not do it at all.  Plus, the best conceived plans can easily get derailed by the realities of life (we all get busy).  Far too often when little gets accomplished, the whole plan is abandoned by Memorial Day.  I am writing this post with five months of 2012 already behind us, and many I talk with feel they have been working hard, but they have not capitalized on all their opportunities.  Time is slipping past.

I am also finding that everyone, including myself, is falling prey to shorter attention spans.  A year just seems so long, who can pay attention in January to results for December?

I have begun working with select coaching and consulting clients on creating more short term goal plans (for an individual or company), and then helping them have a laser focus on taking action.  With a whole year to get the ball rolling, it is easy to procrastinate.  With only a few weeks, there is only now. Success or failure depends on today.

The "New Month Resolution" is a term some use to describe this process. The purpose is to create one or two intense goals that require immediate action and can be accomplished in 30 days.  Think of it as the "Twitter of Goal Setting" (short bursts of goals).  Much like Twitter limits the user to 140 characters, this process limits the goal setter to two things they must do by the end of the month.  Yes, other things can be accomplished, but these two goals are a defined priority.

Most people struggle at first to figure out what they should select as a month goal, but after the first month or two it becomes simple to identify what needs to be accomplished to see meaningful results.  Sales professionals often need to set goal on making calls to more prospects, as this is the life blood to their success, but easily skipped when busywork is created.  Entrepreneurs tell me it is the marketing and branding activities they need help getting done.  Attorneys find it is their networking and reputation building that gets forgotten when they are serving existing clients.

Ask yourself these questions:

1.  What do I know I should be doing that I never seem to get done?
2.  Why am I not doing the things that will help me succeed?
3.  If I did this, what would be the short and long term results?
4.  What are the obstacles, real or imagined, that are in my way?
5.  Can I get this done in 30 days?  If not, what part can I get done in 30 days?
6.  Do I really want the success?
7.  Will I take action, or is this just a dumb exercise?

To be successful you must have an accountability partner.  This can be your paid business coach, consultant, mentor, friend or co-worker, but the person must be reported to regularly and they cannot let you slide for lack of action.

Try it for the month of June.  What are two things you know you should do to get closer to your own long term success, but never seem to take action?  Get a coach or friend to help you define the actions needed, and then get rid of all the excuses.  Take action.  June 30th will be here fast.  No time to dilly dally.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer


harry @ said...

For setting and getting goals, you may want to check out a goal setting app called GoalsOnTrack, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It's clear, focused, easy to navigate.

Yellow Kayak 2 said...

Interesting thought. I'm a big believer in taking small steps, so month-by-month is a great approach. I just made a few resolutions for June.