Set your business goals for the New Year and plan to achieve them

It’s resolution time. But if you’re like most people, breaking resolutions has become as traditional as making them. In fact, a survey by the Statistic Brain Research Institute found that over 40 per cent of respondents made resolutions, but only about nine per cent achieved them.

While people fail to keep their resolutions for any number of reasons, there are many steps you can take to help you succeed. And if you’re a business owner, following through on your business resolutions is particularly important, because the repercussions of your success or failure can reach far beyond just yourself.

So how do you win at the resolution game? First, stop calling them resolutions and view them as goals. While the word “resolution” has gained a stigma over the years, most business owners would agree that goals are integral to the life of any organization. The trick is in learning how to set them, and to do so in a way that sets you up for achieving them.

First, have a vision. Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.” While goal-setting can be a helpful exercise, it can also be a waste of time if you don’t have a concrete vision of your purpose. Whether you discover that purpose through thoughtful consideration or take a more hands-on approach and create a vision board , having that big picture will allow you to set more effective goals that lead to long-term success.

Be specific. Once you visualize your overarching goal, picture the specific steps to get there. Instead of saying you’re going to make more money, define how much money, or establish the specific incremental increases you need to make to eventually reach your end goal.

Know why. If your goal is to make more money, know the reason why you want more money. Maybe it’s to expand the business, hire more staff or become a leader in your industry. Always keeping the big picture in mind gives you greater purpose, and will help you stay motivated if (when) your commitment starts to wane.

Create milestones. They say every journey begins with a single step. No matter how big the end goal, success in the long term will be easier to achieve if you break it into achievable steps that continue to move you in the right direction.

Put it in writing. A Dominican University of California study showed that people who wrote their goals down had a much greater success rate at achieving them. Taking time to write out your goals not only gives you something concrete to refer to throughout the year, it creates a benchmark from which you can plan in future years.

Get everyone onboard. Another benefit of writing out your goals is that everyone can see them. You’ll improve your chances of success if your staff is not only aware of your goals, but in on them. Encourage their input on creating an action plan. Set measurable targets for achieving milestones. And keep your team members apprised on progress and any changes to the game plan.

Don’t wait till next year to see how you did. Your list of goals should not hide away in a drawer until you dust them off next year. Post your goals where everyone can see them. Refer to them at regular intervals so you can measure how you’re doing, mark milestones, build on your successes, learn from what’s not working and adjust accordingly.

Your ability to achieve your goals will be determined by the effort you put into making them and planning ways to reach them. Take the time now to set yourself up for success, and you’ll likely find it easier to remain committed to your goals – and your ultimate vision – in the many months ahead.


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