First and foremost—Happy New Year!
We are grateful for you and for all your support. May the new year bring much happiness, health, and abundance to you and your loved ones.
Now, with the second week of the year upon us, the holiday celebrations are pretty much over.
The kids are back in school and most of us are back at work. Yet as we move forward with our regular routines, something is clearly different. Can you spot it?
Do you see it—the big white canvas—in front of us?
This particular canvas is called a calendar. Right now, it says that we have 357 days in front of us, all begging an answer to a burning question:
What are you committed to achieving this year?
This, of course, begs even more questions:
- How will you define success in 2018?
- How will you spend your best time and energy this year?
- How will you make 2018 a great year for you?
Burning questions, indeed!
But it all begins with setting goals.
Without goals, we drift. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend 357 days being pushed around by the crashing waves. That would be a terrible waste, and downright malpractice, for professionals like you and me.
So let me rock your boat a little bit :
If you haven’t taken the time to define what you want this year, then are you prepared to get double helpings—of what you don't want?”
Hopefully, you'll choose to clearly define what you want to accomplish this year and, to that end, here are 5 steps you can take to ensure your success.
STEP 1: Align Your Goals with Your Values
You see, achieving goals is HARD, and takes tons of DISCIPLINE, and if your goals are not in good alignment with what you really (really) want, then chances are great that your efforts will fall short. Failure to align your goals with what matters most to you is, in fact, THE tragic flaw of most goal-setting exercises.
Step 2: Set a 15-20% Stretch Goal
Here’s another area where a lot of goal heart-break takes place, so please listen up.
It is a mistake to set a goal that is TOO big, TOO lofty, and TOO blurry to achieve.
A brand new solopreneur who sets a goal of $100,000 in cupcake sales in the first 12 months will likely not succeed. She faces too many unknowns, and too many "unknown unknowns"!
Thus, her first goal should be to sell her first 100 cupcakes. That’s sufficiently ambitious. If she accomplishes that goal, she can set a new goal: to reach $1,000 in cupcake sales. This becomes a virtuous cycle over time. Set a moderately scary goal. Achieve it. Set another.
Setting grossly unrealistic goals will only break your heart and make you throw in the towel.
And there's a reason why such lofty ambition leads us to failure.
Setting a 10X revenue goal, for example, is not realistic unless you can also 10X a bunch of other things in your business—the things that fuel revenue. So yes, setting a 10X revenue goal is as easy as cake, but achieving 10X more efficiency, production capacity, marketing, capital investment, etc.—not so much. 10X results are often accompanied by 10X friction, and 99 out of 100 of us forget to factor that into our calculations.
This all means that you should only try to push to achieve a bit beyond what you already know how to achieve.
This is why pushing your results by 15 to 20% is the right amount of scary.
Shooting for a 5% or 10% improvement is too wimpy and uninspiring. At 15% things start to get interesting. And at a 20% improvement, you have the right amount of fear and discomfort in the mix. It pushes you sufficiently out of your comfort zones, but not too much that doubt creeps in and sabotages your goal by making it seem impossible.
STEP 3: Set a Deadline
For most business owners, this one’s easy.
Your deadline for many (if not most) of your business goals will be December 31, 2018, at 11:59:59 pm.
However, some goals (e.g. increasing monthly sales levels, improving customer service scores, launching new products or services, etc) may have shorter deadlines. The important thing is to set a date on which your goal is due. It’s true what they say—a goal without a deadline is simply a dream. Which reminds me of another saying—if you want your dreams to come true—wake up already!
Step 4: Set Weekly and Daily Activity Targets
As you may have already figured out, we can’t just go out and do a goal. I can’t just say I’m going to make a million dollars, scale Mount Everest or lose 50 pounds, in an instant. If I had a genie, then I could certainly create instantaneous results, but in our world, there are no genies, only friction. This means that if you want to move forward you have to keep pushing.
But pushing what?
All goals boil down to specific activities, actions or tasks.
The more you engage in these strategic activities, the closer you get to achieving your goals.
If a real estate agent wants to close 30 deals this year, then how many customer touches (calls, emails, texts, snail mail pieces, seminars, etc) should she be making to get an appointment with a prospective client? How many appointments does it take to get a listing? How many listings does it take to get a closed sale?
And what does all this mean on a daily and weekly basis?
Unless you’re Larry Hagman in I Dream of Jeannie, you can’t immediately get what you want, but by understanding what you should be doing every single day (and actually doing it) you can turn your goal into results.
That said, sometimes we suffer from what is known as “shop blindness.” In other words, we’re so close to the problem that we fail to see the solution staring us right in the face. It’s helpful to hire a coach like Shirley Solis, to help you declutter your mind and translate your goals into daily activities which you can certainly control. Coaches can also help you stay accountable.
Step 5: Create a Scoreboard
Who plays a game without keeping score? Keeping score is what makes it fun! It provides a way to challenge ourselves and test our mettle. It provides just the right amount of “fun” stress to make it enjoyable.
So keep score, with yourself, and with your team. Put your scoreboard in plain sight where you will see it all day, every day.
That said, here are some quick tips on how to build your scoreboard.
To make the example more vivid, I will pretend that the goal for the year is to lose a lot of weight and that, after some thinking, your daily goal is to walk 15,000 steps daily and to eat no more than 2,500 calories per day, so that you can burn 500 calories daily.
Armed with those proximal goals, I know what I need to track on my scoreboard.
At the very top write a 2-week goal as follows:
I will go from [x] on [today's date] to [x] on [date 2 weeks from today] or using our example:
I will go from [230 lbs] on [1-8-2018] to [227 lbs] on [1-22-2018]
Then I create columns for my key performance metrics as follows:
Day | Date | Weight | Calories Consumed | Calories Burned | Deficit/Surplus
That’s it! There’s a lot of psychology in creating such a tool and maybe I’ll go into it at a later time.
For now, I advise you to keep this scoreboard every single day, without fail. Make sure you have to write in the numbers by hand—no spreadsheets or smartphone apps.
Go to the scoreboard every day and with marker in hand—enter the numbers.
This step will keep you focused, engaged and accountable for reaching the goal you set for yourself this year.
Let’s Get Started!
So, are you ready to craft a goal (or goals) that add up to more than just wishful thinking? We at the CBBA not only want to challenge you to set bigger and better goals in 2018, but also to provide you with the support you need to achieve them.
It starts with our first Networking Luncheon of the year. Let’s make sure your goals are aligned with your values. Join us and let's get going!
Danilo Vargas is the 2017-2018 President of the CBBA, Manager of the Miami-Dade District 8 Small Business and Nonprofit Incubator—Accelerate South Dade, as well as the VP of Education of Cutler Bay Toastmaster. Mr. Vargas works with would-be entrepreneurs and small business owners as a coach, trainer and consultant to help them grow their businesses beyond what they thought possible.