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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Serious about reaching your goals this year? This post will start you off on a successful path!

“Begin with the end in mind.” – Steven Covey, Author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and other best-selling books on how to be successful, fulfilled & empowered both personally & professionally

“When you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time” – Zig Ziglar, One of the most famed authors & speakers on the subject of professional selling & success.

These are both famous quotes by motivational gurus that focus on the importance of determining – and aiming for - exactly what you want out of your life and career. In other words, knowing what you want to achieve is the first step on the path to achievement. Your next step is actually declaring that this is what you want to accomplish and creating a plan of how to do it – goal setting.

Setting goals can sound boring and trite. Or, maybe it’s something that you’ve been forced to do with a boss or coach, so just the phrase “goal setting” gets your eyes rolling. You may be thinking, most people can’t seem to stick with goals anyway so what’s the point in setting them. This is probably true. But, most people do not know how to execute proper goal setting and attainment.

There are actually 4 simple steps to proper goal setting that will put you on a successful path to reaching your dreams.

1) Set big & small goals. It’s important to have a main goal you’d like to achieve by the end of the year; something that would give you a great sense of accomplishment and pride - maybe it’s reaching a certain sales level. However, if you weren’t able to do that last year, you are going to have to change something about the way you’re doing things in order to reach that big goal this year.

This is why it is also important to create smaller goals that will help you to accomplish the main goal. These are the little changes you need to make on a regular basis that will keep you on track throughout the year.

Remember, goals should be things that you can control, not things your customers or employees will do.

2) There is another critical component of goal setting that is summed up in this famous quote by Peter Drucker, a management guru that worked as a consultant with many big corporations such as General Electric, Coca-Cola, Citigroup, IBM, and Intel:

“What’s measured, improves”

Meaning, your goals have to be quantifiable and measurable. If there is no way to measure your goal, there is no concrete way to determine if you’ve achieved that goal.

For example, say your goal was to make more follow-up phone calls to prospects this year to try and get people that you’ve invested time in to come back and make a purchase. If you just set that as your goal – make more phone calls to prospects – come the end of the year, there is no concrete way to measure if you’ve achieved this or not.

Instead, you would set a specific number of calls you should make every day/week/month. Then, you’d develop a way to track the number of follow-up phone calls you make each day. Maybe you create a “call chart” binder where you can track the following things: Customer’s name, what they’re interested in, the outcome of the call (got answering machine, got a family member, left a message, said you’d call back, talked with the customer, etc.) and your next scheduled call to that customer.

Now, your goal is quantifiable & measurable because you have stated the number of calls you want to make and have a way to track if you’ve accomplished the goal.

3) As you work on setting your goals for the year, make them challenging, yet achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by creating a goal or plan that you’ll unlikely be able to adhere to.

For example, if you usually only have time to fit in 3 or 4 follow-up calls in between everything else you have to do, you wouldn’t want to set a goal of making 20 follow-up phone calls a day. Setting your goal at 5 or 6 phone calls would be more than you’re doing now – so it would be challenging – but not so much more than it isn’t realistic to accomplish on a daily basis.

If you fall short on one of your daily goals, don’t get discouraged. Each day is a fresh start – a new opportunity for success. You can always do more in the next couple of days in order to still hit your weekly goal – and stay on track with what you want to achieve.

Just like having one candy bar doesn’t ruin a dieter’s chances of losing weight forever, one day of being “off your game” at work will not ruin your chances for success.

4) Structure your daily decision making around reaching your goals. Keeping with our follow-up call example: If a friend wants to go out for drinks from 7 – 8pm, but this is the prime time to call your customers and actually get a hold of them, then you know you either have to decline altogether or suggest a later meeting time. Having your daily goal helps you make a good decision that keeps you on the right path to reaching your big goal.

Remember to recognize and celebrate your daily accomplishments. These small victories will keep you energized towards reaching that big goal.

Now, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” – Henry David Thoreau

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