Sometimes I feel like the word “resolution” gets a bad rap. It’s not really a PC term anymore, even though it just means you’re determining to do something. So let’s use the word “goal” instead to make everyone feel more comfortable, ok? But basically, you and I are both just trying to be the best we can be, I mean maybe you’re pretty close to perfection but I’m just a hot mess on most days. So what better time to begin the quest of change but the beginning of a new year? Here are a few simple ideas for how to stay on track and turn those goals for 2016 into reality.
1) Find someone to keep you accountable…fast!
The biggest reason people fall off the bandwagon is because no one is checking in on how they’re doing with their commitments. It’s hard to make changes, even if it’s determining to fill up the gas tank when/if it gets below 1/8 tank (not saying this has ever happened to me…)
Sometimes I get so excited about the free childcare at my gym that I maybe get a little caught up with checking emails instead of lifting weights (although I have 45 seconds in between sets to do this). So now I have a workout buddy! And it just wouldn’t be right to stand her up because I would rather stay home to drink another cup of coffee and catch up on industry news than swing a kettlebell. It’s important to choose someone who really wants to see you succeed in your goals and might even push you into action when you begin to feel discouraged/tired/ etc.
2) Make measurable changes
It’s no good to say, “I want to grow my business” or “I want to lose weight.” That’s kind of like saying to a potential client or someone you want to get to know, “We should get together sometime” and then forgetting to schedule a meeting. It’s just too vague. What specific changes will you make to get where you want to be? We all want to be rich, thin and happy, but how do we get there?
For me, I’m sick of busting my butt in the gym with little results, so I decided that I no longer eat processed carbs (except on a pre-determined and required cheat day) or eat after 7pm. Period. One of the ways I plan to grow my voiceover business is by spending at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week connecting with potential clients on LinkedIn, through email, or by (gasp!) phone. In order to grow spiritually this year, I’m beginning to spend at least 15 minutes 5-7 mornings per week studying the Bible and writing down verses that inspire me. I think it’s important to remember that we are whole people, not compartments. Make sure your goals also take into account every wonderful part of who you are including your health, business and spirit.
3) Set sustainable goals
Ask yourself if you’ll still be able to keep up these goals by the time December rolls around again. For instance, it’s may not be the most helpful thing to determine to run five miles every single day outside in the dead of winter unless you are an arctic fox. It might be a better idea to set realistic goals that have some flexibility factored in, like completing a particular activity 5 days a week instead of 7. This will keep you from feeling like a failure when nothing could be further from the truth! And if you have a set-back, don’t get so discouraged that you quit. Talk to your accountability partner, read something inspirational (I try to keep a healthy amount of this on my Twitter feed) and try again another day. That’s what Mondays are for.
4) Stay motivated
Celebrate every small victory, like losing five pounds or gaining one new client. Ah, here’s where the measurable changes come in, see how that worked out? It’s great to celebrate the bigger changes too, like last year when I booked a national commercial and started a fund to renovate our master bathroom into my dream spa. Even if you haven’t seen any positive changes yet, visualize how your life is going to improve if you succeed in these goals. Is it worth the effort? Can you stand the thought of this area of your life remaining the same for another year if you don’t make a single change? Focus on what you’re going to gain from meeting your goals week after week times 52. What do you think you’ll see by the end of the year? THAT is what you focus on! The effort is worth it!
And part of staying motivated is paying it forward. Nothing is more rewarding than helping someone else and seeking a win-win situation every time. For instance, when I’m seeking out new clients, I consider their needs. Video producers and creative directors, for example, constantly require voiceover talent. So getting an email from me out of the blue isn’t solicitation, it’s making their job easier by finding a new sound for their video from someone who can provide a quality recording within their timeline and budget. And superior customer service is ALWAYS important. Don’t we all like to deal with courteous and professional people?
5) Don’t reinvent the wheel
I hate to say it, but there’s probably someone out there who’s more of an expert than you. And that’s a great thing! That means you have someone to learn from who has already done the research so that you don’t have to! There are more blogs, articles, and videos that will teach you what you want to know than you can shake a 10-pound dumbbell at. There are plenty of free resources to learn about website optimization, social media marketing, improving public speaking, or whatever your specific goals are. And just as many people who specialize in these areas that you can employ for help. Whenever I have a question about something in my industry, I find LinkedIn group forums to be a great place to go as well. Referrals, rate questions, marketing issues, you can ask your peers anything!
What about you?
What specific goals do you have for 2016? Do you have a question about how to obtain more information for one of your goals? Tell me in the comments below and let’s make this year better than ever! And feel free to share this article if you feel it could encourage or inspire someone you know