Most people go into a new year with a long list of things that they are going to stop, start, loose, learn, develop and grow.
Trouble is, that after a few short weeks most of the things on the list are long forgotten.
In many cases, the resoloution lasts no more than an hour or two.
But that’s not to say goals aren’t important.
Just imagine that you were woken every morning by a seargant major type telling you to get up, then shouting at you whilst you worked out for next 2 hours. It wouldn’t take too many weeks of that before you were fed up to the back teeth of the sound of your personal trainer’s footsteps on your drive. Before long you’ll be finding excuses to miss your workouts.
Before very long you’d be in exactly the same state as you were before you started working out.
Now, just imagine the exact same scenario. But instead of working out, you are training for the next Olympics and that the seargant major type is actually your coach.
Changes things a bit doesn’t it?
No longer do you dread the mornings approaching. Instead you look forward to your training sessions as taking you one step closer towards achieving your Olympic gold. Fame and fortune and being an Olympian.
Of course, in both scenarios the workouts are exactly the same and equally demanding.
The only thing that has changed is the context.
Context changes everything, simply because one has a meaningful end goal and the other doesn’t.
Goals provide you with the motivation to leap out of bed and complete your training, even when there’s frost on the ground and it’s pitch dark outside.
Goals provide you with the motivation to complete the tasks you need to do to get what you want.
If your goals are indistinct, unclear or faded then your motivation will fail, because discipline alone will never keep you going over the long term.
So if your New Year’s resolution isn’t that important to you, then you’re never going to stick to it are you?
So how do you keep your goals real?
1. What: The first step to keeping your goals real is to decide what you want to achieve.
If you want to loose weight then there’s a world of difference between “looking good” and being a Men’s Health cover model.
If you’re looking to grow your business, there’s a world of difference between “growing your business” and solving 10 new client’s problems.
2. Why: Then once you’ve decided on what you’re going to do, you need to decide why you’re going to do it. Check out: Why Every Business Owner Needs To Start With Why If why you’re doing something isn’t really important to either you or your family, then you need to really reconsider what you’re proposing to do.
3. Images: Once you’ve decided on what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it. Find images which represent your goal. For example if you’re goal is to be an Olympian, then images of athletes recieving their medals or crossing the finishing line would represent your goal well. For example if your dream is to build your business to a level which can fund sports cars or a yacht, then pictures of the exact car or yacht would really bring it alive for you. (Try and get pictures of the exact model and colour of the item you want).
4. Display: Using the images that you’ve found create a vision board and hang it above your desk or display the images in places where you’ll see them all the time – on the fridge door, on your bathroom mirror – somewhere where you’ll see them all the time.
5. Accountabilty partner: Athletes have coaches who keep them on track for winning medals, but many business owners don’t. A coach will hold you to account for achieving the steps necessary to achieving your goals, by jointly agreeing what you’re going to work on, then following up with you that you’ve achieved them. If you haven’t got a coach then you need to find yourself an accountability partner. Which could be a friend or colleague. When you’ve agreed what you’re going to do, set yourself a timeframe to achieve it. Say a week’s time, then schedule a time for the follow up. At the follow up time you can tick off what you’ve achieved and agree the next set of actions to take you forward.
Of course if you’re unable to achieve your tasks for whatever reason, then the very act of explaining that you didn’t do it will spur you on. And of course if you’re having difficulty achieving your goals because you find the tasks too intimidating then your accountability partner or coach will help you break down your tasks into manageable chunks and thus make them less intimindating.
6. Habit: A lot of people talk about changing your attitude to achieve your goals. But the reality is that everyone generally knows what they need to do to get the results they want, they just don’t do it. For example, take saving money. Most people know that to build savings you need to spend less that you earn and never go into debt. The reality is that they don’t do it. So what really needs to change is not your attitude, but your behaviours. For savings, this could be about automating payments from your bank account into a savings account. Creating a system makes it easier to change your behaviours.
If working out is what you’re focusing on then having your workout gear laid out next to your bed means that you can’t avoid it when you get up, so you’re more likely to workout when you get up.
If making 10 sales calls a day is what you need to do grow your business and achieving your goal of solving 10 client’s problems, then you need to get into the habit of making 10 calls a day. Which could be doing them first thing in the morning (or whenever is more likely to get you through to the decision makers).
Another way to ensure you change your behaviour is to download the free lift app for your phone, then each time you complete your task then you can virtually tick off the task and share your results on your social networks. Using an app like Lift keeps you accountable and after a while a habit will be formed and before you know it the behaviour changed.
7. Calendar: If it’s important, make time for it. If it’s not in your calendar then other things will get in the way of forming your habit and you won’t get the results that you’re looking to achieve.