Last year I resolved to keep my house cleaner. I fantasized about not having dishes in the sink, about dog-hair free corners, and crawling into a made bed every night. In keeping with that one simple resolution, I cleaned like a madwoman on January 1st. The result? A showroom quality house. Sparkling.
By the end of January 5th, the house looked like the Insane Clown Posse had moved in.
You could say my resolutions went awry, but on the upside I’ve learned a lot about how to totally screw up a great resolution and I’m wiser for it.
Here are a few ways to keep your resolutions in check.
1. Define Your Goal
Don’t make sweeping subjective statements to describe your resolutions. “Keep my house cleaner” probably means something very different to me than it does to Martha Stewart. Instead, I could say that I want to keep my house clean enough that my Mom could come by and stay at any time without making me a nervous wreck. Not my mother-in-law, it’s too much pressure to floss the baseboard cracks. Not my sister, she’s too forgiving.
Imagine that your resolution is to get more clients. Frame it in a way that means something definite like ‘Make contact with 50 new client leads’ or ‘Get 100 new likes on Facebook and 50 new followers on Twitter’. Descriptive and actionable. Now THAT’S how a resolution should be.
2. Set up Small Goals on Your Way to the Big One. Fictional Business Resolution #1: Make contact with 50 new client leads.
Before you get started, you need to know how you’re going to achieve your goal. You could ask your clients to recommend you to someone they know by offering a referral discount. You could respond to 5 Jobs Board posts on Earnest per month. You could start a YouTube Channel and offer one easy tutorial on how to do something your business is good at per month. (Plumber? Compare drain de-clogging solutions. Painter? The right and wrong way to tape your baseboards) Whatever your resolution, break it up into actionable goals.
3. Measure those small goals. I’m not talking spreadsheets, I’m talking simple ways to gauge how effective your goals are at helping you achieve your resolution.
Back to Fictional Business Resolution #1: Make contact with 50 new client leads. Break that down to something more tangible: 50 new client leads a year is about 4 per month. By breaking it into smaller goals it’s easier find out if you’re referral discount is working. If you made contact with 20 new leads in the first 2 months, you’re well on your way. If you didn’t get any, you need to try a different method. By making your goals measurable, you don’t get all the way to November and realize you’ve only made 2 new client contacts and go into panic mode. Plus, you’re getting closer to your goal all year long and learning a lot about how you work best and you get to do LOTS of number 4.
4. Celebrate Every Victory, No Matter How Small Seriously! You should honor every single new client contact that you make in 2014 with a mini-dance party (whether real or in your head) because you’re actively achieving your goal and that is no small thing.
You should reward yourself for the steps you take too! You decided how to break your resolution up into measurable goals? Dance Party! You put your referral discount promotion up on your Earnest Storefront? Dance Party! When you reward yourself for every scrap of progress you make toward achieving that clearly defined and measurable resolution, you’re not just doing something you said you would, you’re kicking serious fanny. It’s more fun, it becomes something you want to do, it boosts your confidence, and gives you the motivation you need to keep going.
My personal Business Resolution Achievement Soundtrack of 2014?
What a Feeling from the cinematic classic film, Flashdance.
Blog post done! Dance Party time!