We've all been taught about "SMART "goals (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited), but there's something missing from this piece of wisdom. It's something really fundamental to actually achieving this goal.
Consider this: 70% of our New Year's goals are never met; I believe it's partly because people create "should" goals instead of "want" goals.
Here's what's missing: How much you actually care about the goal.
How do you feel when you tell yourself that you should become more profitable in 2013? Or that you should lose weight this year? There is shame, failure, and disappointment attached to should goals.
When I review annual goals with clients I typically hear a sense of dread in their tone of voice. When I ask about their tone, they respond with comments like: I don't know if I can do it; I feel guilty that I didn't grow the business last year; It feels overwhelming. They simply don't feel good about their goal.
While revenue goals are critical to every business, working with them strictly from an analytical viewpoint could be a mistake. Our emotional connection to numbers is often based in fear--and that's not a very positive motivator?
So how can we reframe these worthy goals to make them more desirable and more likely to happen this time?
Let's say that you've set a goal to grow your revenues by 20% in 2013. Consider what that means to you. Does it mean that you can hire an assistant and spend more time with the family? Does it mean that you'll have the money to execute the new product launch that you're so excited about? That your brand will be one step closer to being a household name?
Always look at the emotional driver behind your goals. How does it make you feel when you think about achieving the outcome? Recognizing your good feelings will transition you from a shameful should to a passionate want, thereby creating a much higher likelihood of achieving your meaningful goals. After all, positive emotion drives action far, far more effectively than does negative emotion.
And as you're getting started in adding these five simple ingredients to your goal-setting strategies, try to take notice of a few things. Notice the difference in how you feel when you think about your financial goals from a position of want rather than should. The key here is to pay attention to your physical response. Does your heart seem to lift? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Do you feel a sense of excitement? These are the things we are looking for. If you don't experience at least one positive sensation then you haven't dug deep enough for your positive emotional connector.
1. Find a Real Challenge
Make your goal compelling and achievable--yet challenging. Brilliant minds need a challenge; otherwise boredom will set in and your plan will fall to the wayside. State your goal in writing.
2. Stick to Positive Emotional Connectors
Make a list of the positive things that will result from achieving this goal. Stay away from subtly negative statements like "I will worry less." Dig for things that excite you. Your outcome must be something that you look forward to with great anticipation and enthusiasm.
3. Create a Visual Representation
Find compelling images that represent your outcome. If an increase in revenue means that you can take a family vacation, find images that represent your ideal vacation. If it means that you will have the budget to work with a distributor who has connections to your ideal clients, find images of your prospect's logos or storefront. Cut your images out and glue them onto a poster or piece of paper. Congratulations! You have just created a vision board!
Bring others into your vision by sharing your vision with employees and others who are critical to achieving company goals. Help them to connect to it as well. Ask them what these goals mean to them and what exciting outcome they can attach to the vision. Share this exercise with them and encourage them to create a vision board too!
5. Have Patience
Now it's time to allow the process to do its magic. Make time to contemplate your vision board and feel the rewards associated with achievement. Do this daily. The more passionate you feel about your outcome the more driven you will become.
Make sure to recognize every small step that takes you closer to your desired outcome. Entrepreneurs often dismiss these achievements. Celebrate them! Recall the passion that brought you to this business--and reconnect with it often.