KICK START THE 2017 KICK-OFF

Only 2 weeks into the new year and the festive period feels like many moons ago. If that is not an indication of how quickly time moves then I don’t know what is. So how is this new year shaping up for you? 

THE SET UP

You’ve turned the page. You’re facing a clean, blank space. Now what? Or are you one of the lucky ones that knows exactly what should happen now?

Not everybody is inclined to set goals for the next months ahead. Many people throw a few ideas around in their head and think job done - I am sorted. Personally, that approached is not for me. Tried and tested that to major failure.  To be honest, to write down the goals you’re aiming for is not only a great act of discipline, but also the best way to measure your results. It is a fact that you will accomplish more if you follow this simple, yet effective method. 

A straight-forward Excel sheet / table in Word (Numbers and Pages for us Apple users) will do the trick: 4 columns with headings such as Goal. Action, Time Scale and Result. Add 2 - 3 Row Headings e.g. Business Development and Personal Development. In general that is all it takes. Now your blank sheet has got meaning and gives you a great indication of how to proceed. Done and dusted. Those of us whom are fairly Branded orientated will obviously spend a bit more time on creating this important document (the look&feel has to be on par, right?).

THE ACTIVITY

Hopefully the most exciting part for you starts here with Column 1. It’s all action and go from here. 

Take some time and figure out what you want to accomplish by the end of your 12 month period. Be realistic, yet not outrages. There is no need to write down a list of goals as long as your arm. Besides that, writing down aims that is clearly not achievable are not going to work either. To set yourself over the top benchmarks will leave you eventually disappointed or even let you give up before you started. 

If goal setting is new to you aim for about 3 to 5 goals maximum. Be authentic and most of all, make them specific. After all, this is about you, your business and your future. Once you see them black on white, take time to ponder over them until you are happy with what you’re aiming for. 

THE SEQUENCE

Onto the next column. This section is of utter importance and should be tackled with a clear mind. Now you have to figure out what the time scale is for each goal. How long should it take you to reach this milestone? Again, no point in setting ridiculous end times. If you feel you can master a particular goal within a short amount of time, then good. On the other hand, give yourself ample time rather than set yourself up for disappointment by not fulfilling your goal since you overestimated yourself. 

To reach a goal within a shorter period of time than originally aimed for is very exciting. That feeling of getting there before you’re suppose to is exhilarating beyond believe. It will also give you a great indication that although being cautious you can push the boat out a bit further next time. Rather be safe than sorry the saying goes and it’s true. Don’t get desponded because you have underestimated yourself.  Remember you aimed for something you had no idea if it will work or not. But guess what? It did work and very well indeed. Kudos to yourself in such a situation.

THE OUTCOME

Column 4 and now we’re talking bolts and nuts. This section will be visited by the end period of your goal exercise. By the time you reach this part of your year months would’ve passed. Many hours of labour, sweat and who knows, even tears will have been shed. Now is the time for your results.

Allocate enough time in your diary to complete this section. You now have to look back over the months and face facts. More so, you now have to be very honest and brutal with yourself. The time has come to assess you’re goals and the milestones you set out for yourself. 

Take each goal one by one. Cast your mind back and write down exactly what happened about this particular aim you had. If you have accomplished it, then great. Pat yourself on the back and reveal exactly how, when and what you did to make this goal a reality. I can guarantee you there will be a massive smile on your face in such a case. Better still if you can complete this section for each goal with positive remarks and outcomes. Amazing. Just brilliantly amazing. Well done! You did what you envisaged for yourself. You proved you had vision, dreams and passion. You had the right idea all those months ago. You Did It.

THE CONCLUSION

The hope within me is that you will realise it was a great exercise. To not only visualise your future, but to put it down in words were one of the best parts of your year - perhaps even your business too. 

However, what about not reaching goal/s entirely, I hear you ask? Don’t stress. It is not the end of the world, so to speak. More importantly is the fact that you had the vision months ago and you tried. We all have failures in life and business. Learn from them. Look back and figure out where you went wrong whilst trying to accomplish this specific goal. Maybe even add it to your list for the next year. Try again, and who knows, you could quite possibly crush it perhaps even well before the end date. 

One other system that I find works well is to revisit your goals about 3 times (every quarter) per 12 month period. Set a reminder in your diary and spend about an hour or so checking exactly what you proposed for yourself at the beginning of your goal setting exercise. You may find that you can even complete column 4 since the goal/s are done. A revisit will also keep your mind focussed on what needs to be done by when. It will also help with your final appraisal at the end of your 12 months since quite a few facts/figures will already be entered and therefore make the whole process that much easier and smoother.

Reach out and shout if there is anything that you’re not sure about or need help with.  And remember… You Can Do It. The only criteria is that You Take Action.

All the best with setting your milestones for this year. More so, good luck with putting your shoulder to the wheel to make them all come true.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Where is your business heading? Now that you’ve started what are you going to do with it all? Here is some guidance from Bob Proctor: “A proper Goal provides the necessary incentive to grow in awareness - and every aspect of your life is a reflection of your level of awareness”.

What strikes me within these wise words are: Goal, Grow and Awareness. 3 very powerful points to take note of to make progress.

Personally, a lot has been picked up from working in a corporate environment for many years. One that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is Goal Setting. It was great to be introduced to it years ago. Something that comes natural and are done religiously at the start of every new year. Taking a couple of days for the New Years celebrations to wear of and by January 3rd thoughts are arranged into at least 3 Development sections: Trading, Business and Personal. Setting out a strategy for each part of life as a professional working individual is order of every new year. 

SET UP GOALS

To sit down and calmly spend time making decisions for the next 12 months at least is one of the most satisfying exercises one can do. It puts the future into perspective and creates a track that encourage the mindset to work systematically forward. 

A golden rule to follow is that of creating SMART Goals. Setting massive, almost out-of-bound Goals are, from a personal point of view, not that productive. It is good to be ambitious, however being realistic is a much better route to follow. Over-the-top Goals can easily lead to disappointment and discouragement. One can feel a failure and that easily leads to negativity in thought and mind - something that should be avoided at all costs since being positive is a much easier way to live life and being successful. So, be SMART about your Goals. 

No need to agree on a huge list of Goals either. The list can rather be short and sweet than long, tedious and impossible. Aim for around 3 to 5 per section.

CREATE GOALS

Here we are talking literal as in creating the document which will lay out each Goal that will encourage you over the next 12 months to move forward and make progress - in both business and personal growth. 

Keep it plain and simple. A 3-pager landscape-layout with 4 columns each should do the trick. Give each page a heading that clearly describes what your plans are. Then head up each column too. The following column headers makes a lot of sense: Goal, Actions, Timescale and Result. 

Take each page at a time. Write a Goal and follow on to the 2nd column and then the 3rd. The 4th will be visited throughout the year and completed by the end of your 12 month period. Do this for each page you created and very soon you will look at a great lots of words that stare you in the face. It is so much easier to visualise what needs to be done by when once you see it with your own eyes. People do tend to say why should I create a document? It’s all in my head in any case - trust me, seeing it in black on white cement it in your head and give your mindset a real good boost. 

To finish off this very important document it is imperative to Brand it. Add your logo. Use your company colours. Definitely use your company font. Make it your own. It is YOUR Goals for YOUR company. Once again, each time you visit this document it will give you a sense of ownership. After all, it belongs to you! 

VISIT GOALS

There are people who (unfortunately) think that once they created their Goals it can stay in a folder somewhere on their computer. Their attitude of I am going to complete it only in 12 months from now is defeating the purpose. A regular visit to this document will not only refresh your memory it will also make it clear where you are with those Goals as the year go by.

A healthy suggestion is to add at least 4 reminder dates to your calendar. Every 3 months is good timing. This will give you enough time to get on with business in general and easily let you cast your mind back to what you have achieved and where you are in making progress. Here is where column 4 gets the action. Note down the date your visit takes place and next to it whether you have already accomplished, slightly progressed or still have to start on the particular goal. Quarterly visits will also help a lot at the end of your 12 month cycle to see the full picture with no need to open your diary searching for accomplishments or wreck your mind when you actually demolished a goal. 

FINALIZE GOALS

Time flies by so quickly and before you know it a year would’ve past. The moment of truth will be facing you. The last Goal visit of the year will be upon you and you will need to be honest about what you wrote months ago. 

The possibility exists that certain sections of your Goal Setting document will still not be completed. Don’t stress about this. Circumstances change all the time. There could be a very good reason (lets hope so) for a Goal to be still outstanding. If it is still relevant to your development don’t feel ashamed to add it to the next bunch for the year to come.

CONCLUSION

All of this may sound easy, but it is not always like that. Every year Goals’ intensity will increase. Your aim will be higher than before. You will most likely put a bigger demand on yourself and your business. Don’t let it deter you. As mentioned before, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious. Nothing prohibits you from setting the bar a notch higher than last year (actually, it is a very healthy approach). The important thing is to continue to set Goals. Continue to visit them regularly and be strict about them. At the end of the day it’s up to you, but having these milestones set out loud and clear will help you with you strategy towards success.

Even though we are in the middle of the year right now and you may realise there is no such document called Goal Setting 2016 don’t wait until the start of 2017. Get going right now and set out milestones for the next few months at least. Or if you prefer, start a 12 month cycle now. No one but yourself can decide when to start. Now is as a good time as any other time.

Good luck with your Goals! It will be worth it every time - promise you that!