We've all made New Year resolutions and likely broken them before January is even over. Often New Year celebrations give us a yearning for a fresh start, but id there something that can be done to make them more permanent?
Here’s a twist that can make your resolutions more durable, more beneficial and less prone to that embarrassing quick fade.
Align goals to your business
Try aligning personal goals to your business goals. This can deliver more benefits than you might have anticipated.
For example, suppose your goal is to take a month’s holiday in September of this year – perhaps the first real holiday you’ve had in years. If you're tickets have been booked, your goal has a fixed deadline and you'll need to have the business ready to operate without you by then. So what needs to be done? You might decide the critical steps are:
- Begin delegating more tasks to employees, which will gradually test their competence.
- Create an operating manual, allowing everyone to follow clearly defined procedures for all business processes.
- Improve your accounting system, to check on the state of the business while you're away.
- Monitor the key performance indicators for your business, so senior staff members can take action quickly if any slippage from defined parameters occurs.
Notice in the example, aligning the personal goal of a holiday with business goals gives both motivation and purpose, which empowers your original resolution. Initially your goals was to take a real holiday, but by achieving this goal it will deliver business and personal benefits, such as:
- Learning to Delegate: the business will become less dependent on you, allowing you to take more leave. The business will also seem more valuable to others when the time comes to sell or pass it on.
- Improving the Accounting System: will lead to better money management, as you can monitor cash flow at any point from anywhere in the world.
- Creating an Operations Manual: will lead to consistent customer service, greater efficiency and reduce costs. Training new staff will become easier and quicker, allow employees to become versatile in multiple areas of the business and, if this is an aim, to franchise the business in the future. Significant value is also added in the eyes of a future buyer.
In terms of setting the actual goals for your resolution, use the SMART system, it's a timeless favourite.
- Specific: be precise about what you want to achieve - vague goals, such as “I’ll get fitter this year” are almost guaranteed to fail.
- Measurable: by adding facts, figures or percentages to your goal, allows you to easily track your progress - if it's measurable it tends to get done.
- Realistic: while goals should be a challenge to get you out of your comfort zone, they should also be attainable - goals that are too difficult are usually quickly discarded.
- Time Bound: deadlines ensure things get done.
Two more tips
Keep it simple
Goals should be broken into smaller, attainable steps. For example, to complete the operations manual before you leave, you may aim to complete one section per month for each major process in the business, such as shipping, customer service, inventory control or credit management. Further break this down into what needs to be done each week or fortnight.
By creating a graphic for your goals, such as a chart, calendar or graph, you are able to clearly see your progress. Having a visual that traces your progress is a powerful motivator, that will keep you on track to the finish line.