There’s nothing as motivating as a new year. Every time 1 January rolls around there’s a buzz in the air as we all collectively resolve to make positive changes in our lives. Whether it’s becoming a better person, learning something new or getting fit and healthy, we’re filled with enthusiasm for these fresh resolutions.
Now you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll find that you’re not just making these new year resolutions for your life; you’re setting them for your business as well. While we’re extremely supportive of this attitude, we think it’s time, to be honest about resolutions.
They don’t work.
We don’t want to be demotivating, but there are numerous reasons why setting resolutions will never work. Instead, it’s time to think about setting goals for our businesses. Let’s look at why.
The Main Reason Why Resolutions Don’t Work
Breaking resolutions has practically become part of the calendar: set them on 1 January, break them by the 31 January. This can be a demotivating situation to end up when it’s personal; when it’s for your business, it could be actively damaging.
The issue is that resolutions tend to be very ‘all or nothing’. They represent a decision – to do something or not do something – but they tell you nothing about how to achieve that. Often they are the overall aim and your aims are usually set too high.
For example, if your resolution is to double your client base in the new year, you’re setting yourself up to fail. It’s a huge and admirable goal, but any setbacks will feel twice as crushing. It’s a major change to happen in a year but we think that having it as a ‘resolution’ means it will automatically happen.One of the problems of new year resolutions is that they are often impulsively made with no thought or strategic planning on how they will be achieved.Click To Tweet
Which brings us to another problem with new year resolutions. They’re often impulsively made with no thought or planning about how you’re actually going to set about achieving them. As we all know by now, having a destination in mind is important, but means nothing unless you know the way you’re going to take.
Why Goal Setting is the Best Option
We find goals considerably more attainable than resolutions even by definition alone. A goal is a clearly defined desired outcome with stages along the way. Turning our inspiring business ideas into resolutions is one thing, but turning them into tangible goals is considerably more important.
Unlike resolutions, goals don’t assume a complete about-turn overnight, which makes you more likely to succeed in your aims. Resolutions expect a drastic change – this is hard enough when it’s about your personal behaviors, but how can a business be expected to completely switch directions? It’s not only unrealistic, but it’s also often unnecessary.
Goal setting is a lot more like planning. You have to think about each stage along the way and what actions you need to take to achieve these milestones. Goals are also more flexible than resolutions. They provide you with a direction to travel in, but they also accept that you will take detours and need to reevaluate while you’re on the journey.
Setting new goals for your business is actually an exciting process and the best option for success. Imagine one year in the future and think about what you want your business to have achieved. Be honest with yourself about what is realistic, of course, but also push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s a delicate balance, but with practice, you’ll get there!
Make sure you write these goals down – it’s a sure-fire way to increase your chances of success and helps focus your mind. If you work with a team, share your new goals with them to create a clear and powerful vision for the business.
How To Maintain Momentum on Goals You Set
So you’ve turned those new year resolutions into tangible business goals and now it’s time for the hardest part of goal setting – maintaining momentum. It’s easy to do when you’re high on the promise of a new year, but we all know it can be difficult to keep focused when there are a million and one things to do!
Ensure the goals you set are SMART goals (the only acronym entrepreneurs need!) so that you can regularly check in to measure success. Set a timeline and schedule times where you and your team will meet to review your business goals. You have to track your progress, otherwise it’s easy to forget about them until next December when you think “uh-oh, didn’t manage that.”
It’s not only about tracking your progress; it’s about celebrating it! If you’re working alone, plan a small reward for yourself at each milestone you reach; if you have a team then arrange drinks, a meal out or a fun activity for each stage you successfully complete.
These review points are also a good opportunity to see if you need to make any adjustments to your goals. This is a key factor in keeping your momentum going. There’s no point in blindly following the same path if it’s clear there need to be some changes in perspective, so be honest with yourself if something isn’t working. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting demotivated and giving up on the overall goal when all you need to do is tweak the process a little.
Remember it’s also important to consistently remind yourself of your overall vision for your business. For entrepreneurs like us, it’s easy to have the business ideas; keeping your focus on the overall vision is a good way of ensuring these ideas become cohesive and achievable goals that will improve your company.
In a way, goals are resolutions with a healthy dose of planning – the vision and the big ideas are there, they just need some timelines and action point to help them become reality. So embrace the inspiration a new year brings and get planning!