Although the top three New Year’s resolutions for 2015 were to become stress free, lose weight, and quit smoking, if you’re anything like me, your goals are more business related. No doubt you strive to be your best personally, but most entrepreneurs I know are more focused on their career, thus that’s where their priorities for the New Year tend to lie.
That being said, one thing I’ve learned after being in business for myself is that small business resolutions can be just as difficult to reach as personal ones, if not more so. After all, not only are you fighting against yourself and your own bad habits, but it also sometimes feels as if you’re also fighting against the rest of the world.
Between keeping your current and loyal clients happy so they continue to do business with you, finding new ones in an effort to grow, staying on top of all of the trends relating to your specialty, and still running your business to hopefully make a little profit, it’s easy to hit a wall. This can make it awfully tempting to simply accept where you are, almost convincing yourself that you can’t go any higher.
However, the reality is that you can always go higher. In fact, you can do anything that you put your mind to as long as you keep your “eye on the prize.” Here are some tips for doing just that when it comes to achieving your business-related New Year’s resolutions:
- Write them down. I’ll be the first one to admit that I roll my eyes whenever I read this, but if I’m being honest with myself, I also have to admit that I’ve been much more successful with goals that I’ve committed to writing, compared to ones that I’ve retained in my head. Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World identifies some of the reasons why writing your goals increases the likelihood you’ll reach them, which includes that it gives you a clearer image of what you want, it motivates you, and it opens you up to opportunities that can help you achieve them. So…Write. Them. Down.
- Visualize them. Another way to make your small business goals for the New Year more achievable is to visualize them. This is a trick I learned while in law enforcement, and many top athletes use it as well to enhance their performance and improve their results. All you have to do find a nice, quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and picture the goals you want to achieve. Walk through them mentally, imagining yourself going through the motions that ultimately bring you greater levels of success. Essentially, you’re training your mind to take the steps necessary to better reach your goals.
- Say them every morning. In order to meet your goals and resolutions, you have to keep them in the forefront of your mind. By saying them to yourself every morning then, you’re reminding yourself that they exist. This helps set you up to take the steps necessary during the course of the day to turn these resolutions into your reality.
- Say them every night. It is equally as important to remind yourself every night what it is you intend to do with your small business, as reinforcing your goals at bedtime ingrains them more thoroughly in your mind. It also helps you to reflect on what actions you took that day that have benefited you as well as which ones you could take the next day to get you closer to where it is you want to be.
- Share them with others. Telling others about your goals can help you achieve them at higher rates because it cements your commitment. Basically, by saying them out loud to someone else, you’re not giving yourself an out. Some people take this one up a notch and even share them on social media, announcing to the online world what they intend to achieve, firming their level of commitment even more.
- Enlist the help of a buddy. Setting goals along with someone else is something that motivational speaker Red Katz calls the Buddy System and it works primarily because it holds you accountable to do the things you say you’re going to do. It also puts a cheerleader in your corner to help motivate you when you need it. So, find someone who has similar goals as you and make a pact to reach them. Together.
- Create a plan to achieve them. Whatever business goals you’ve set for next year, make an actual plan to reach them. This requires sitting down and thinking about what specific actions you need to take. Don’t just wing it and hope for the best because that seldom works.
- Pay attention to your progress. When you have a lofty business goal, it’s easy to get sidelined by how much work is in front of you. However, to keep this from stopping your progress, instead of focusing so intently on how far you have to go, pay attention also to how far you’ve come. By recognizing your efforts and how they’ve paid off thus far, you’ll be more likely to want to continue to move forward.
- Celebrate your successes along the way. One of the worst things you can do when you’re working toward a business goal, or any goal for that matter, is to wait until you’ve reached it to celebrate. Take the time to pat yourself on the back for all of the positive steps you’ve made toward your goal too and your motivation will be less likely to wane.
- Limit your distractions. Finally, the more distractions you have in the pursuit of your business resolutions, the lower the chances you’ll reach them. While you can’t stop everything from interrupting your progress, you can limit these types of occurrences by putting certain boundaries or procedures in place. For instance, if you find that fielding too many phone calls is stalling your productivity, you may benefit from hiring a virtual assistant to take care of some of these for you. Be creative with your solutions and your distractions will diminish tremendously.
Use these 10 tips and you’ll find that your small business New Year’s resolutions will be easier to keep than ever. And if you have any to add, I’d love to hear them, so feel free to share them below!
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!