You Say You Want a Resolution

How to set effective goals

January is the time of fresh starts, new beginnings, goals and resolutions. The challenge for most business owners isn’t a lack of goals and resolutions – it’s finding the time and energy to see them through after the excitement of a new year fades into the shadows of the daily grind. Too often the tyranny of the urgent outweighs the things we should do – the actions that we know will help grow our business.

So how do you break the cycle? Here are a few tips we’ve used, and seen clients use with great success.

Accountability – Simply sharing your goals with someone outside your company can have a significant impact on your ability to get them done. Even better is finding an accountability partner. This can be a formal structure through a mastermind group or other business organization, or a more informal monthly lunch or coffee with a trusted business acquaintance. Share your goals, ask your accountability partner for theirs, and schedule regular follow-ups when you can ask each other about your goals.

Your best client/customer – Make your business (or yourself) your best customer, and book time on your calendar to work on your goals. Let’s face it, if your best customer told you they’ll increase your bottom line revenue if you agree to meet with them for an hour each week, you’d make the time. Treat YOUR business as your best customer, schedule time on the calendar, and protect it fiercely. No excuses, no interruptions.

Assign others – While you can’t delegate your goals, most of us can break top-level business goals into multiple action items. These action items can be assigned to others on your team, with clear direction, deadlines and measurements. If you’re a one-woman or one-man show, you’ll still benefit from breaking large goals into smaller, manageable tasks and taking those on one by one. If your goal is increasing revenue, list all the things that have to happen and pick one to start on.

Do something – You may have heard the phrase “Make it bad. Make it better.” Or “perfection is the enemy of progress.” Too often we seek perfection in trying to meet our goals, and the prime objective never happens because there are dozens of little things that we believe must happen first. That’s a sure path to mediocracy. Accomplishing goals is often like getting a large wheel in motion – it’s hard at first, but once you have momentum, it gets easier and easier. Just start, even if it’s not perfect. It’s always easier to edit than to write. It’s always easier to tweak than invent.

Whether you’re a fan of written resolutions or simply have a few mental notes of things you’d like to accomplish, make 2021 the year you commit to accomplishing great things. What are your tips for accomplishing goals?