3 Tips for Sticking with Your Resolutions
You probably think January 17th is just another day. In reality, January 17th is actually Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.
While this isn’t an official bank holiday, it does mark how quickly people abandon their positive intentions for the New Year. As a small business owner, you’ve likely put some thought into how you would like to change for the New Year, and may even have goals for your personal life, and these aren’t resolutions you want to drop. So how do you make it past January 17th and set yourself up for success? We have some tips that will keep you committed for the whole year.
It’s great to say that you are going to eat healthier or you want to grow your business sales. But those goals are pretty vague and may lead you to struggle to see real change. A common practice for setting a goal is to create a SMART goal:
- Specific: Set a specific intention for your goal such as “cook my own meals 3 days a week” or “increase sales by 15% this quarter”. The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to stick to because you know exactly what you are hoping to achieve.
- Measureable: By measuring your goal you’ll actually know how you’re doing. When you have a vague goal there is no way to hold yourself accountable and see results. Decide how you want to measure your goal and stick to it. Keeping a list and physically writing things down can be a great place to start, whether you do it daily, weekly or at the end of each month based on your goal. Whether it's your phone, a spreadsheet, or journal to be used specifically for goal progress, make the time to keep track.
- Attainable: It’s great to set high aspirations for yourself and your business, but make sure you are thinking of what is realistic and you can achieve. You want to set a goal that’s a challenge, but also in a reasonable reach. Often times, people set lofty goals and quit when they realize how hard they are. When you have a long-term goal, it can be even more frustrating to see a delay in reaching your goals. A great tactic is to celebrate the small wins along the way. By the time you hit your end goal, you'll be able to look back and see all of the smaller victories you had along the way.
- Realistic: Similar to being attainable, you want to be realistic about your goals. While being optimistic is great, you also need to approach goals with realism and acknowledge what is actually more likely to happen. For example, if you're trying to launch a new social media channel for your small business, don't expect to hit millions of followers overnight. While that may work for celebrities, for small business owners its a little harder. Set a goal that makes sense for your business based on information from previous launches. If this is your first time, do some research and set small goals and build from there.
- Time-bound: Similar to being vague, you want to put a time limit on your goal to make sure you stick to it. Without a time frame keeping you in place, it's easy to push your goals off. How many times have you said, "I'll get back on track Monday"? With the previous social media example maybe you measure quarterly to see how you’re doing and break up your greater goal into quarters to stay on track. Again, by being vague with when you want to reach your goals, you may never reach them.
Patience is a Virtue
We can call a car to arrive in a manner of minutes from the palm of our hand, or order items online and see them at our door in two days or less. When these things don’t happen, we grow antsy and restless as we wait for items to arrive. Goal setting is no different. We want to reach the finish line so fast when setting goals that we don’t like to wait for results. Reaching goals takes time. Embrace time as part of the journey and don’t rush the results. Additionally, don’t let the speed of reaching your goal stop you from achieving it. It’s easy to throw in the towel early on but don’t. The results you are looking for will come as long as you keep working on them.
Spread the Word
Some people find that sharing goals is helpful in achieving them. By letting others know of your goals, you are holding yourself accountable because now there are people who can check in on your status. It’s hard to disappoint others, so this trick can make sure you’re doing everything you can to reach your goals. If you want to increase business sales, maybe friends, family, and customers will promote your business with their networks or write you a positive review.
When sticking to your resolutions keep in mind that it is a process. Don’t be so hard on yourself while you are going through the process. If things aren’t going as you expected, instead of beating yourself up over it, find a way to make a change and cut yourself a break. The only way you can guarantee you won’t reach your goals is if you quit working towards them – everything else, no matter how small the effort, will help get you to where you want to be.