Making a list and checking it twice? That's not going to cut it for achieving your toughest goals. Instead, try these tricks for realizing your visions.
Entrepreneurs have no shortage of ideas and dreams, but can come up short in bringing them to fruition. I don’t think it’s laziness or lack of motivation--I believe that the missing pieces are focus and inspiration. If your ideas don’t inspire you, if the goal isn’t exciting enough, the discipline to consistently focus on them simply isn’t there.
“At the end of each year people traditionally write their lists of goals and later wonder why they didn’t happen,” says internationally acclaimed author Les Hewitt. “Your goals must be well-balanced, realistic, and align with your values,” he says. When your goals aren’t well-rounded, and you focus only on work-related goals, you will neglect to take time to relax and enjoy life, which can lead to burnout and ill health.
To become inspired to work toward your goals, develop a clear picture of what you want in business and life and keep your written goals front and center. Reading them daily helps your subconscious mind to grab onto your vision and strengthens your inner-motivation and self-discipline. Hewitt stresses the importance of setting goals in the following life categories:
Health and fitness
Personal targets, or “just for me” goals
Tapping into the inspiration behind your goals and creating a well-balanced vision is the foundation to your success. But, according to Hewitt, the power of focus is what will get you there. “This is the ability to set exciting new goals for the future: personally, professionally, and financially. Then focus like a laser beam on the targets, avoiding all of the distractions until you hit the target.”
In his recently released Special 10th Anniversary Edition of the international bestseller, The Power of Focus, Hewitt cites these four fundamentals as critical to running a sustainable, profitable enterprise.
Clarity on your goals: Do you schedule time regularly to think about what you want your life to be? Begin with five minutes and work your way up to an hour a week. Most people spend more time planning a two week vacation than they do planning their life. Do this, and the payoff will be tremendous.
Priorities: Once you identify your primary targets, decide where your focus needs to be to reach them. Each week, identify the next actions that will get you closer to your quarterly targets. What are the three most important things that you must achieve by Friday? Typically, business owners spend only 15-20% of their time focused on their top priorities because they allow too many interruptions in their day. Avoid this by scheduling uninterupted blocks of focus-time to work on your action steps, leaving open time in your schedule for the unexpected.
Relationships: What are the five most important business relationships that will offer the greatest leverage to meet your targets? These are individuals who have a strong, positive influence over big networks of people in your target market. These people can open doors for you. How will you build and nurture these relationships? Also make sure all of your relationships are win-win, approaching them with the mindset that everyone is receiving value--especially your customers.
Successful habits: Your habits determine your future. The results of bad habits often don’t show up until much later and are likely to lead to negative circumstances. But you can change your habits as long as you commit to doing it. If you focus on changing three to four habits a year, for two or three years, you can transform any area of your life. Your progress will be very measurable because your habits are directly related to your results.
Keep your plan simple; one page if possible. “And don’t forget to celebrate at the end of the week, particularly when you hit three out of three,” says Hewitt. “That’s a great week and our confidence goes up when we’re in the habit of getting three checkmarks every week.” But if you don’t get your three goals done, briefly review the week to see what went wrong and know that you get to start fresh next week!
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka