“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I’m one of those people — like many — who start off the new year with a renewed sense of purpose and opportunity. I contemplate what I want to do differently with my work and my life, and have only the best intentions to see it through. I start out strong, but over the course of the year, life and my comfort zone get in the way.
Apparently I’m not alone. According to John Maxwell’s book Your Road Map for Success, two-thirds of people (i.e., 67 of 100) set goals for themselves. Of those 67, only 10 make realistic plans to reach their goals, and of those 10, only two succeed.
One of my goals for 2020 is to actually stick to my goals. To figure out how to do that, I turned to the internet and read goal-setting advice from several business leaders. Interestingly, they had a relatively common plan of action, which is what I’m sharing today.
- BRAINSTORM. Write down every resolution/goal that comes to your mind — big and small. I’m not talking just business goals. Personal goals – like wanting to lose weight or spend more time with your family – often affect our businesses. So take your time, be thorough, and dream big. Include a few that will be hard to achieve, but not impossible.
- SELECT YOUR TOP 10. From your master goal list, choose the top 10 that are most important to you. That doesn’t mean you have to totally disregard the others, but this will help you prioritize. Make sure you choose “SMART” goals. This means they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive.
- CHOOSE YOUR PRIMARY GOAL. Out of those top 10, one goal will be your key goal. It’s the one that must happen in order for most of the remaining nine to be successful. This is usually a financial goal, but not always. For example, you may have to make more money in order to buy that new truck, or to spend more time with your family, etc. If one of your top 10 goals does not seem like the key goal, look for a theme and determine what your key goal is. What has to take place for your top 10 goals to be successful?
- WRITE DOWN THAT GOAL. In fact, experts recommend writing your key goal down at least once a week, preferably at the same time each week. Make it part of your schedule so that it becomes habit. Sound excessive? Maybe. But study after study indicates that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Studies also show that those who tend to generally do better in business and life write down their goals. So don’t overthink it. Just do it!
- CREATE AN ACTION PLAN: Go back to brainstorming, this time with your goals in mind. Write down everything you must do to make that happen, no matter how small. Be specific. Then place your results in order of what needs to happen first. This will make up your action plan.
- WRITE A DAILY TO-DO LIST: Every day, write down a list of things you need to do. Create a system to indicate priority. Include one or two action items each day that will put you closer to your key goal. These can be small, simple tasks, but will eventually make a big difference.
- STOP PROCRASTINATING, START ACTING: When you have a few minutes in the day and you’re tempted to log on to Facebook or watch TV, etc., for no real good reason, complete an item on your to-do list first. A popular method to start building new habits with comes from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, and is known as the two-minute rule. As Allen writes, “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.”
- TELL SOMEONE. Accountability is hugely important when it comes to successfully achieving goals. As Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People writes, “Accountability breeds response-ability.”
To quote Dave Ramsey, “Make your resolutions a reality in this year! Successful people reassess their lives and then start living intentionally, in writing, on paper, on purpose. This is the process to succeed.”
And remember, our goal at J. Racenstein is to help our customers, like you, succeed in 2020 and beyond. It’s what we’ve been doing for over over 110 years!
Here’s to a successful, goal-oriented new year!