If you are sitting here thinking about the ‘resolutions’ you set for 2016 and how you haven’t stuck to them… you are not alone. About 45% of Americans vow to make some type of New Year’s resolution. However by the end of January nearly one third of these folks have called it quits. The problem is one we see all the time – people focused on the “get rich quick” scheme or the “magic diet pill.” These are not long term solutions to an underlying problem but quick fixes that will ultimately fail. I am not saying you shouldn’t have goals, but rather you should have a plan and system to achieve those goals.
Here are 3 reasons you should drop your New Year’s resolution:
1. Your New Year’s Resolution is Not Specific
We usually find ourselves creating broad goals to try and re-invent ourselves for the New Year, like lose weight, eat healthier, be your company’s top producer, sign a new client, get a promotion, close more deals, etc. We think that these are great goals to help push ourselves, but in fact they are a terrible indicator of “success.”
My manager is often heard saying “You can run 1-million miles an hour, but if you’re running in the wrong direction, you’ll never cross the finish line.” Hearing that makes sense; but being able to see when you’re running in the wrong direction is another story… and it all starts with planning and prioritizing.
Solution: Plan and Prioritize
First thing is first, write down your goals. Make sure you only focus on a few goals. Don’t try to do everything at once. Have goals that align with one another. Once you have your goals written down, start mapping out a strategy.
Each goal is a result of the steps that it took to get there. Reduce it to the ridiculous. Break the year into smaller steps. If your goal is work-related, think about what you want to do in this first quarter, this, month, and more importantly this day. What is the one major thing you want to accomplish today that will help you reach your goal? If you are trying to hit President’s Club:
- What is your quarterly goal?
- What is your monthly quota?
- What is the number of demos you need to make a week?
- What is the number of calls you need to make in a day?
By breaking down the goal into something you can work towards each day will help you build a strong plan to make that goal a reality. It’s also important to block out distractions that take away from the goal. It’s your responsibility to focus and prioritize without multitasking. Multitasking leaves you with more stress and uncompleted or poorly-completed tasks.
2. You are Seeking a Result Without Changing Your Habits
Remember goals are a result of behavior. One of my favorite quotes we use here in the office is “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.” You will struggle. It will be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. You will fail. It’s not failure you should be afraid of, it’s recognizing failure and not doing anything to change it that is detrimental.
Solution: Change the Plan, Not the Goal
If the tasks on your to-do list do not relate to your goal, it may be time to reprioritize. To-do lists are great but don’t have one for just the sake of checking things off. Make sure your to-do list is tied to one goal each day. Recognize the behavior and seek a solution. Do you find yourself procrastinating? As Brian Tracy would say…“Eat that Frog!” and get the important things done first. That may mean re-writing your to-do list in order or importance or highlighting as you go.
If you are struggling to hit your goal, consider these solutions:
- Set up time to meet with your manager to go over your goals and ask for their guidance.
- Ask your colleagues how they set up their day and what helps them focus.
- Try listening to a customer call or sitting in on a meeting to get a different perspective.
- Talk to other industry leaders and learn how they got to where they are in their careers.
Failure is part of the journey. The more you fail the more you will learn and the stronger you will become. Recognize the failure and change the plan.
3. You’re Expecting Instant Gratification.
Make sure your goals are more than just a wish list and are something you can achieve and sustain. Being in a sales career is like training for a marathon. It may feel like a sprint since it is fast-paced, but it takes hard work, long hours, and repetitiveness. You need to measure your efforts.
Solution: Track and Measure Your Progress
How can you identify when you have hit your goal without tracking it? And more importantly, how can you build sustainable metrics if you don’t know what is, and is not working? If you are not tracking your efforts, you will be running in circles. You want to achieve a goal that you can measure and repeat.
Keep track of your wins:
- How did you get to be top sales rep of the month?
- How did you close the biggest deal?
- How did you do 30 demos for the month?
The goal I keep in mind every morning when I sit down at my desk is who can I close today? If the answer is no one, it’s time to reprioritize, refocus, and get a game plan together. After all, we’re in sales – if we’re not closing, we’re not hitting our monthly number, we’re not making it to President’s Club and we’re not finding success.
If you believe in New Year’s resolutions and are looking to make 2016 a great year, set yourself up to achieve your goals. Don’t quit or be disappointed by failure. Be realistic. Be someone who can say at the end of the year “I achieved my goals without a New Year’s resolution”…then write a blog sharing your success.