We’re well into this year (can you believe how fast time flies?!!!), and it’s about this time every year that I crack open my New Years resolutions and take a look at how I’m doing. I’ve been setting New Years resolutions now for over 15 years, ever since I was in high school, and that combined with my superpower of staying focused (my wife sometimes finds this quite the annoyance because it translates into me never being able to start a movie without finishing it), has helped me cross off many of the goals that I set for myself each year.
So what’s the secret to setting and accomplishing goals? Here are 4 secrets that I use to keep me pushing myself each year:
Secret 1: Bribe yourself
A few years ago, I was struggling to keep up with my exercise routine, and I was having a really hard time finding the motivation to stay in shape. I don’t compete, I sit at my computer for work most of the day, and I really don’t need to be in shape… But I had set the goal… crap, now what?!!! There was a pair of shoes that I really wanted, in fact, it was the first time, in a really long time, that I wanted something this bad. So I tied the shoes to my exercise goal. If I wanted to buy those shoes I needed to stay on the exercise routine every day for three months. Three months later, I bought my new shoes, and I had established a habit of exercising every day too!!!
So my super secret #1 is to bribe yourself for finishing the goal. Find something that you really want, and make sure that it’s really motivating. Tie whatever it is that you really want directly to your goal, and watch yourself crush that goal. Been wanting to go on vacation? Looking forward to a concert coming up? Tie that little something that you really want to your exercise goal, your eating goal, your savings goal, or your business goal and watch yourself crush it.
Secret 2: Break the goal up
If you’re like me, January 1 is my most optimistic day of the year, and as a result, the goals I write down are suddenly much more difficult to accomplish on every other day of the year! Super secret two is to break your goals up into micro-goals that are easier to achieve. For example, the goal, “Sell $10,000 more this year,” can easily become, “Do two more parties each month,” or “Find 3 new customers each month.” It’s a lot easier to find three customers in a month than pull $10,000 out of a hat at the end of the year.
Small goals make the challenge of accomplishing something truly monumental manageable, and you’ll soon see that you’ll be knocking off these small chunks of a bigger goal faster than you knock out your favorite dessert on your hungriest day.
Secret 3: Give yourself deadlines
Anyone that has pursued an athletic goal, knows that every athlete has a wall. A place in their personal endurance or skill level that they just can’t seem to break through. Different people break through their walls with different methods, but for me, I have found that the easiest way to break through my wall is challenging myself with micro deadlines. My goals include things like “Run a 7-minute mile before March 31” or “Publish my blog before May 1”. I’ll add these deadlines to a place where my phone or my computer can annoy me to to get them done. The IOS reminders app, any online calendar, or the reminders feature on Google Inbox work great for holding myself accountable for hitting my deadlines. Not surprisingly, this same tactic works great for me and my business. Goals like “talk to Jane to learn how she came up with that awesome plan before Monday”, “Talk to Jim about being my mentor before Easter Sunday”, or “10 new customers before April 1” make sure that you’re keeping yourself on track to crushing it this year.
Secret 4: Share your goals with your friends
The saying that two heads are better than one is most definitely true with your goals. The other head doesn’t need to do anything except ask one question, “how are you doing with your goals?”. Find someone else that you can share your goals with and hold each other accountable. It can be anyone, my wife is perfect, but before I was married, I shared my goals with my siblings, my roommates, and my parents. Find someone — anyone. Tell them your goals and ask them to follow up with you on your goal progress. You’ll soon find a friend that can help you stay motivated and celebrate with you when you take out that red pen or click on that checkbox to mark the goal “DONE!”
Whatever your goals are this year, I hope that these 4 secrets help you redouble your efforts toward crushing your goals in 2018. Bribe yourself, break your goals up into small achievable milestones, set deadlines, and find a friend to share your goals with.
If you have a goal that you’d like some feedback on, or that you’d like to share with our other readers, feel free to post them as a comment below, I’ll be sure to read and respond, as well as approve the kind and thoughtful comments that others post about your goal.