This is not just another column about how to set goals. We’ve all set goals. We’ve all had the experience of accomplishing some, and we’ve all had the experience of failing to accomplish some.
Was it the way we set them that caused certain ones to fail? Were they unrealistic? Were the wrong people in place to execute them? These things could all be contributing factors, but when it comes down to it, you and your mindset have the biggest impact on getting what you want and seeing your goals materialize.
I’ve been doing a lot of one-on-one personalized coaching lately, and I have found the biggest factor influencing goal accomplishment is the way people perceive an issue, an obstacle, a goal, an action, or generally how possible it is to achieve something.
Here are some strategies for you to use to actually accomplish your goals this year and avoid that confidence-killing frustration that comes with not understanding why you aren’t where you want to be in your business and your life.
Be adaptable and flexible in your approach
Being flexible basically means being willing to respond and adapt to changing circumstances without a great deal of resistance. This is a trait almost all successful entrepreneurs share.
We all know change is inevitable (heck, I even wrote a book about it because it’s so important), but many people consciously or subconsciously resist change to the point that it keeps them from accomplishing goals.
I get it, change isn’t always easy. It can be uncomfortable, too, but that’s all based on your personal perception of it. If you start to look at change like it’s an exciting part of life that drives you and your business forward, you will be setting yourself up for greater success. You can still be focused and driven, but the way you planned for something to go doesn’t always work, that’s why you need to be flexible with your approach. You might learn new information that causes you to change or tweak your tactics, which is great, but don’t lose sight of what you really want.
Being too rigid with your methods is like putting up a figurative wall that stops forward motion and progress toward what you are hoping to accomplish. Tony Robbins seems to agree with this concept and says it well: “Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.”
Examine and challenge how you respond to “failure”
How capable are you of achieving your goals? As capable as you are of dealing well when things don’t go your way or you experience a perceived “failure.”
Most people quit right before they are about to have massive success or a huge breakthrough. Let me give you an example. Think about a time you were on a diet, trying to lose weight, get in better shape, etc. Let’s say you are on a good path, eating well and going to the gym regularly. Then, you decide to have a piece of cake at a birthday celebration or miss a few days of going to the gym.
What happens next? Do you get frustrated with yourself, give up, and just go back to the way you used to eat? Do you stop going to the gym because you got out of the initial routine? This happens to people all the time, and it’s why New Year’s resolutions don’t typically stick; it’s easier to go back to the old ways of doing things.
However, successful, goal-oriented individuals stay the course despite a bump in the road. They don’t beat themselves up about having the cake, they just get back on track the next day. They don’t quit going to the gym because they “failed” to go for a few days — they simply get back to their routine as soon as possible. In business, if you lose money one month, use that as motivation to learn from it and move ahead, being stronger for the experience.
Every marketing piece isn’t going to be a huge success, and every now and then, a team member you hire isn’t going to work out. Congratulations! These things that you could perceive as failures just mean you are taking action and taking some risks to move yourself in the direction of your goals. Additionally, every time you get off track and then correct your path, you strengthen your overall confidence, which is priceless.
So, examine how you personally respond to failures; they are inevitable and actually helpful for getting what you want.
View and plan your day differently
Breaking your goals into smaller pieces is not an innovative concept, but you’d be surprised by how few people actually do this effectively.
You probably set annual goals, monthly goals, and even weekly goals for your company, but all achievement comes from the actions you are taking today. Breaking your goals down by the day might seem like a bit much, but it’s actually the best way to make sure you aren’t falling behind and it allows you to be more flexible (sound familiar?) when dealing with the realities of your business.
For example, if today’s goal falls short, you can respond more quickly and do what needs to be done tomorrow to get back on track. When you are only looking at goals by what happened in the last the month, or even the last week, sometimes so much damage has been done and you’ve fallen so far behind that it seriously negatively impacts your annual objectives.
I recommend daily plans to anyone looking to achieve something specific. At the beginning of each day, ask yourself what you are going to do to truly drive the business during the hours you are working. Figure out how you can feel a real sense of accomplishment at the end of your day, knowing you took deliberate actions toward achieving your goals. Keep in mind, delegation is your friend; I’m definitely not suggesting you take on all the important tasks to drive the company yourself.
When you have daily plans, not just for yourself, but also for other leaders on your team, you work more efficiently and effectively in a unified direction. This creates incredible momentum, and sets the tone that you are serious about what you want to achieve. Find what method works best for you, whether it’s web-based, a physical daily planner or a combination of tools, and plan your day, every day. At least give daily planning a try for a couple of months; you will be glad you did, and I bet you’ll like the results you see.
When you have a daily plan, are flexible in your approach, and effectively respond to failure, you are truly setting yourself up for success. Don’t allow obstacles to completely throw you for a loop; learn from them and move forward. Don’t allow your day to control you; control your day. Finally, don’t be so focused on a certain path that you can’t see other ones; be flexible in the way you get to the finish line.
Doing these things alone will help make your vision, dreams and goals for this year and beyond more achievable than ever.