This is our favorite time of year! The magic of the season, lights, spending time with loved ones. It really is an amazing month.
Of course, we mean it’s the time to set goals and strategize for the New Year! As others are falling into a holiday food coma, we are taking this month to be honest with ourselves and focus on where to improve.
Don’t be mistaken, we enjoy the holidays as much as the next person and will have much-deserved days of rest. Yet, while others are bingeing on drinks, food, and Netflix, we are meeting as a team for strategy and setting personal goals for 2017.
Let’s take a few minutes to look over how we determine goals and implement them. The main thing you should leave with is knowing the difference between a goal and a fantasy.
One is actionable and could happen, the other is a mere desire of a life that will never happen.
Let’s get started.
Setting Actionable Goals
Forget about the results. Focus on the actions!
Yes, we have to get results, and we have to set goals that drive our actions.
The key to setting goals, and then crushing them, is to focus on the small improvements you need to make daily. Each step you take will be a small improvement, and at some point, the sum of all those small improvements will translate into large results.
Set big goals for the year, and then set goals for each month that will get you closer to those big goals.
Then design the weekly and daily activities that will allow you to accomplish these goals.
Review and adjust at the end of every month, and at the end of the year.
While you are setting those goals it is very important that you identify two things:
- What are the daily habits YOU need to develop to accomplish the desired goal?
By identifying and focusing on the habits you will be able to be present in the moment. You will focus on each step you take, knowing the path you are walking will take you to the desired destination.
- What are the current habits I have that may be obstacles to the goals I want to accomplish?
Most of the time we will need to break habits in order to make room for new and better ones. It is key you identify the ones that are making it difficult for you to achieve your goals.
Let’s say you want to have an emergency fund at the end of 2017 of $24,000. That means you have to save an average of $2,000 per month. Let’s say January goes by and you only save $500. When you sit down to review and adjust you will see now you have to save an average of $2,137 for each of the remaining 11 months.
A key habit to saving more is to have low fixed costs. Netflix subscription, Spotify subscription, Cable, etc. All of these seem small on their own, but they start to add up.
A habit that could be standing in the way of your goal of saving for an emergency fund is not having control of your variable costs. Maybe you go to the mall often and can’t stop yourself from buying several items every time you go.
This is just an example that can help you understand how to use the process of setting goals, dedicating time to review and adjust them, and then identifying the key habits you have to make or break to achieve these goals.
Recently a good friend asked, “you know that feeling when you wake up, and you just want to be lazy all day?”
I looked at him puzzled with a simple reply, “no.”
How could we be lazy with all life has to offer. In our personal lives, we can deepen our spirituality, spend time with family/friends, become healthier, take a trip, or educate ourselves. In our professional lives, we can gain skills, generate more revenue, become more efficient, and walk closer toward our goals.
We will never be lazy if we have clear goals. Please note, tired and fatigued is different than lazy. There are always periods of our life where we need to re-charge, yet lazy should never enter our vocabulary. There are too many goals to fulfill.
So how do we set actionable goals and eliminate the term lazy?
I take a two-pronged approach. First, I identify where I am weak. For example, in a recent article, I explained the importance of checking our professional blind spots. As a marketer, I imagine the ideal marketing professional. Specifically, I think of the best marketers and their professional characteristics. Then I determine my deficiencies. In the article, I described how sales is a weakness. Now I have a goal, become a better salesperson.
The second strategy is to examine where I want to grow from already established strengths. For example, recently I was speaking with a close friend who is an SEO expert and realized he was speaking at a much higher level than me on website optimization. I would not label optimization as a weakness as I have clients who have dramatically increased their web traffic and conversions this year. Yet, my friend in on another level. Here is another goal, increase my SEO skills.
In sum, while setting goals, I look at two areas. One, where am I weak, and two, where am I good but could be better? Once I know those answers, setting goals is rather easy. In the next section, I will explain how they stay goals and don’t drift into a fantasy.
2017: Is it a Goal or a Fantasy?
Have you done or accomplished anything that maybe 2 or 5 years ago you thought was impossible?
If you haven’t then you should push yourself harder and start taking more risks.
Much has been said and researched about setting goals. We should set SMART goals, right? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based.
I completely agree with SMART goals. But if we only set what we consider attainable and realistic how are we going to achieve the impossible?
How are we going to 10X our lives if we are always realistic? Don’t get me wrong, I am very realistic and rational. But I have also learned that we have to dream big first, we have to dare big, and then big things will start to happen.
Most of the goals I am setting for 2017 are SMART ones. I also set some “Dream Goals”, goals that I may not have a clear understanding of how exactly they will materialize, but I leave room for the universe to work its magic.
One of the goals I want to achieve during 2017 is to grow our Instagram account to at least 50,000 followers. So far we have been able to grow at a pace of 2,000-2,500 per month. At this same rate, we will not achieve our goal.
We have to do something different!
the key to creating a higher growth pace is to add as much value as we can to you, our audience. This is the reason why we are working hard during the winter break while most people are traveling and resting.
Yes, we will share with family and friends. We will also dedicate some time to rest and recharge. But we are focused on putting ourselves in the best position to start 2017 with momentum!
What are you focused on to make 2017 your best year ever?
There are many quotes on this subject, essentially, a goal is something you are actively working toward while a fantasy is something your wish for, yet don’t do anything to make it a reality.
A fantasy can destroy your purpose. Seriously, there is research which explains the detriment of fantasizing about a goal. Essentially, thinking and speaking out a goal, without a plan, gives a mental visualization of the goal becoming a reality. In our mind, it is somewhat true and decreases our motivation to actually follow through. Therefore, when you are setting goals, there has to be actionable steps or else they will remain fantasies.
Create a structure around your goals. Here are two tips.
Give your goal a specific metric of success. If my goal is to become a better salesperson, I want to increase my closing rate to 50%, secure 2 new clients in 2017, and raise my revenue by 100%. Notice, those are specific and not vague! I see too many companies say their goal for XYZ marketing campaign is to make money. So is $1 a success? Goals have to be specific or you will lie to yourself and say you succeeded.
Give your goal a realistic deadline. Set parameters on your goals, but be honest with yourself. Going back to my second goal above on increasing SEO skills. For the newest project I am working on, we will launch a website at the end of January and my goal is to have 10,000 visitors to the site per month . . . by December 2017. This is a realistic number, will it be difficult to attain, of course. Yet, having a specific metric and a realistic deadline is motivating. If I were to say, 10,000 visitors a month by March it would be unrealistic and I would not put in the needed effort.
Those are my two parameters for a goal, specific and give a deadline. Everything else falls in place as you know what you are working toward and how long it will take.
2017 has the potential to be your best year if you take some time to set actionable goals and create a specific metric for success with a realistic deadline. If you need help with clarifying your goals, get ready, Alejandro and I have an exciting announcement to assist you!!
The New Year is almost here!
Be sure to make 2017 an actual new experience instead of doing version 1.1 of 2016.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, take that Yoga or Martial Arts class that you’ve been wanting to take for years. Maybe you could learn another language.
Pick something, set it as a goal, and go do it!
When setting goals keep in mind that you should have a way to measure your progress and you should have a deadline. But don’t let these constraints guide all of your decisions. Most of your goals should be SMART, and then throw a couple of crazy and unrealistic ones.
Allow yourself to dream big!
At the core of this process should be the creation of better habits. Focus on the habits! Focus on the small steps that you take each day.
We are already working hard so that we can support you on this journey during 2017. We know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Soon we will be releasing new products and services that will support you in your journey of improvement. So that we can work together on making 2017 the best year ever!
As you read this, you might have thought about some of your friends who either want to start sharing content or you know they should share their amazing journey. Encourage them by liking and sharing this. You may be able to help them.
This article was written by Matt Avery and Alejandro I. Sanoja.