Don’t Just Set Goals for the New Year, Use This Method to Follow Through

Typically, New Year’s resolutions are either the bane of your existence or your favorite January activity. While a lucky few seem to plow through every year with meaningful goals that they actually accomplish, the majority of us are left feeling powerless to our own habits. It’s especially critical for entrepreneurs to make use of this fresh start – a time of reflection, assessment and planning. The beginning of the year can serve as a reset for your own sustainability as an entrepreneur, as well as that of your business, too.

Why not set goals?

If you’re overjoyed at the idea of listing your goals, crunching some numbers and getting down to business, by all means, do so. If you can look back on past years and track how your yearly goals have gotten you closer to where you want to be in your business, then stop reading and go to town!

However, we’ve all seen the dreary statistics – people just don’t stick with resolutions. In these cases, it’s not our goals themselves (or willpower) that fails us, but our lack of strategy. We’re great at imagining the end-result, but rarely do we think about the details our goals entail. We set lofty goals with no idea of how to actually accomplish them. This is discouraging. It’s like expecting the limbs of a tree to grow without a trunk. The trunk is what makes the tall limbs of the tree possible; it only reaches those heights because there’s something between the roots (your goals) and the tall limbs (their fruition).

So, cheesy metaphors aside, how do we ditch ineffective resolutions and still make progress in our business? We keep it simple and expand on what is already working.

Related: How to Define Success for Your Business in 2019

Maximize an asset

This isn’t necessarily a reference to financial assets, although it can be. Your employees (if you have them), a particular product or service, your location, your unique personality as a founder… Anything can be an asset to your startup. The key is to recognize what your unique assets are and to then explore them further.

For example, rather than having the goal of increasing revenue and forcing your sales team to work harder, ask yourself: What has boosted revenue in the past? Was it a special offer? An event? A social media campaign? A connection in your network?

Rather than blindly hoping to increase revenue, your goal now becomes something tangible: How do I replicate what happened in that revenue-boosting scenario? Brainstorm ways to either repeat that scenario or build off of the concept.

The idea of maximizing assets can be applied to any business goal. So while you may start at the same place this year (having a specific goal), there’s now a process that follows to help you actually realize it.

List what’s needed

Once you recognize your assets and find ways to utilize them toward your business goals, it’s time to consider what is needed. What resources need to be employed? What are the missing pieces to making this plan a reality? You may need to hold a team meeting, redirect your content focus, or any number of things to set the goal in motion. Don’t worry about how each little thing will happen in this step. Just be sure to list out each thing that is needed for the fruition of the goal.

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Sequence it

If you truly want to reach your goals throughout the year, you need some semblance of a timeline. Looking at everything on your list of what’s needed, start to sequence it. What absolutely would need to happen first, second, third, last? Do this until each item on your list has a number. If you want to break it down even further, you can give each item a timeframe in which it needs to be accomplished.

At the end of this process, you won’t have a list of lofty goals you’ll lose track of by February. You’ll have a complete list of goals accompanied by strategies for fulfilling them in 2019. So when March rolls around and you’re motivation is waning, you’ll already have a sequenced list of steps to continue following.

The only question you’ll have to answer is: What’s the next step?

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