As you look back, was 2018 what you expected it to be? As an entrepreneur you probably love to set goals and reach them and share them with your colleagues as bragging rights. When you fall short, you tend to wonder what happened and what you did wrong.

You examine your business plan, sales funnel, staffing and ROI on expenses for the cause of your failures so you do not repeat them. Many business owners miss the one place where the key to success really is in their expectations. Here are three ways to create great expectations and better results in 2019.

1. Expect success, regardless of appearance 

Most unsuccessful entrepreneurs keep finding failure because they keep expecting failure. It is a natural response to expect the worse after a few setbacks and disappointments. Only a successful leader holds the vision in spite of obstacles and continues to expect the best even in the worse scenarios and when everything is telling him or her to quit.

The reason most people do not expect success is that they fear being disappointed. We all have heard adults tell us as children, "Don't get your hopes up." Most of us have been conditioned to expect mediocre results rather than believing in the impossible. We hold back our expectations and even brace ourselves for the worse-case scenario and we often get mediocre success in return.

When I was struggling to grow my business, I played it safe. I invested very little in expenses because I was waiting for the revenue to have permission to spend it. I was caught in a vicious circle of just enough.

Everything changed for me when I took a big risk by hiring a mentor. I had a certainty that this person could guide me and I would be successful even though I had so many failures. The investment was scary and almost the cost of my entire year's revenue, but something amazing happened. Within one month of starting this program, I made my entire investment back. If you are going to believe in your success, you must back it up with action and investment. 

2. Don't bring past failures with you.

If you spend too much time focusing on what went wrong in 2018, you are wasting energy on creating something new in 2019. No matter what has happened in the past, you can always start with a fresh mindset, focus on possibilities and new beginnings rather than expecting to repeat past failures.

Of course, you do not want to just ignore failures and live in a fantasy of hopes and dreams. There is a benefit to examine the failures in a critical but not criticizing way. Look objectively at your actions and feedback to see what can be improved. Even strategies that did not pan out can give you information to improve on in future decisions and ways you do business. You can stop seeing them as failures but as learning and growing as you build your company.

3. Visualize your ideal outcome.

Every entrepreneur starts off with more failures and setbacks than wins in the beginning. What helped me stay focused and inspired is to engage in a daily practice of visualizing myself having the outcome I wanted and expecting it to happen. Strangely, when I expected good results I got them. 

When I was trying to get a publisher for my book, I would visualize signing the contract with my preferred publisher and then I got a book deal with J. Wiley & Sons. I visualized getting interviewed on television and was then given a monthly segment on our local news channel, which led to more radio and television interviews nationwide. Of course, you have to take action to receive your vision, but the vision comes first.

When I did not get a certain result, I expected that whatever showed up was leading me to something better. A dissatisfied employee led to finding an excellent sales person. A bad marketing agency led to finding a great in-house marketing director. Low sales on a service led to a shift in focus to a larger program that brought in more revenue. I kept holding the vision in my mind and my attitude of expectation aligned with that vision.

If your attitude is about expecting success, you may not see the success right away, but trust that you reach your goals in ways that will surprise you. While it is challenging to start a new business, the right mindset can make it so much easier. I encourage you to practice expecting success and watch your business grow to the next level.