New Years is the time when majority of people set “resolutions” for the upcoming year. Whether it’s making more money or losing weight, many people set resolutions that unfortunately will never be attained, and there’s a big reason why.
They are only planning the “what” and not the “why”.
Now, I’m not talking about people who aren’t serious to start with. Those people were destined to fail. I am talking about people who were serious and set a goal they wanted to achieve, but fail.
Before we get into the why, let’s make sure the basics of goal planning are in place. Whether it’s business goal setting or personal goal setting, the format is the same. Let’s take a look of the necessary components of goal setting.
1. Destination: What is your goal? Losing 20 pounds? Revenue, profit, client count, or it it more personal?
2. When: What is the deadline of your goal? Was it by year end or another date? Remember the old saying, " A goal without a deadline is just a dream"
3. How to get there/Action Plan: If I am driving from LA to Las Vegas, I know I have to take Hwy 15 North. I know if I hit the towns of Barstow and Baker along the way, I am well on my way to Sin City. Do you know how to achieve your goal? What is your action plan? Do you have markers/milestone to know you are on track? If your goal is losing 20 pounds in 6 months, what is your monthly or weekly milestone?
4. Cost/budget: What is the cost of my goal? Financial, time, sacrifices... Again, if my goal was $1M in revenue, what is the cost of achieving that goal? Increase in spending on marketing? Working an extra 10 hours a week? Not going on an extended vacation this year?
5. Guide/Assistance: If you have never achieved this goal, the best way to accelerate your learning curve is to speak to someone who has. Do you have a mentor, a peer, or a professional that can give you an insight into how they achieved this goal? If your goal is to lose weight and you know someone who has lost weight and actually kept it off, this may be a good person to speak to.
6. Resources: What do you need to help you achieve the goal? Extra staff? Technology? Do you know need other resources, such as additional education, training, or a coach/consultant?
7. The unexpected: Do you have a contingency plan? What if a key employee or partner leaves or falls ill for an extended period of time? What if the economy has a down turn or a large competitor enters your market? Spend time on the "W" weaknesses and "T" threats on your SWOT analysis and develop plans to overcome them. If you are not sure what a SWOT plan is, there are many free resources online. Just Google "SWOT analysis"
Now that you have the basics laid out, it’s time for the key component of goal setting that will help you achieve it…the Why.
Simply knowing what you want to do, but not knowing why you want to achieve it is meaningless. There is no emotion attached to it. The why has to have meaning to you personally.
For example, say that you want to personally sell $300,000 in new business premium this year. While that may be a good goal, and you may have even laid out all of the steps above, that is still not be enough to help you succeed.
What's missing is your why.
What is your why? Why do you want to sell $300,000 in new business? If your answer is “because I want to make more money,” that’s unfortunately not enough to help you succeed.
Years ago, I had a sales rep that reported to me who was always a solid contributor. Let’s call him Bob. Bob consistently hit quota and was a good teammate to everyone. The frustrating part for me and my VP was we both knew he was capable of more. My VP would always come in the office and find an opportunity to talk to Bob. He often dangled the “president’s club” trip and recognition as the carrot for Bob. Unfortunately, it never seemed to work.
One day, I pulled Bob into my office and had a heart to heart with him. I told him he was a valuable contributor to the team, but asked if he was satisfied with his income level and if he had aspirations to be promoted to sales management. He told me he wanted to make more money and that his goal is to be a manager. I then asked him if the President’s Club trip was an incentive for him. He smiled and answered,
“No. I don’t really care about recognition and I don’t really want to spend 5 days away from home to hang out and drink with a bunch of people I don’t know.”
I then asked Bob, “Why are you here? I know you work hard every day, but what makes you push through the hard days and weeks? What’s the main reason you work hard every day?”
He paused for a minute and answered, “My daughter.”
Bob’s daughter was 2 at the time and he just went through a divorce, so he only sees her a few days a week. He went on to share with me he works hard every day so he can provide a life for his daughter he wanted to give to her, but he’s not quite where he needs to be to fully achieve that. He also wanted to be there for her every day at the designated time when he's allowed to see her.
We went on to drill down on what that really meant. The income required to give his daughter the life he envisioned. The time and flexibility he wanted so he can spend quality time with her, along with other details so we can develop a plan to help him achieve his goals.
Even though Bob’s “why” was always his daughter, he had not put that into his goal planning. He didn’t develop a personal and professional goal associated with his daughter as the why, the emotional anchor, until that day.
Bob finished the year as a top rep and achieved President’s Club (to his dismay). He was also promoted to sales manager the following year.
I shared “Bob’s” story to illustrate the importance of knowing your why. President’s Club and recognition wasn’t his why. Even more money on the surface wasn’t his why. The emotional significance that was his why, was his daughter.
So if your goal is to make more money, it’s not just about how much, but also why? Why do you want to make that money? Is it to buy a house? Why do you want to buy a house? What does it truly mean to you if you bought that house?
If your goal is to lose weight, It’s not just how many pounds, but why? Is it so you can walk your daughter down the aisle in six months? Is it to never go through surgery again? What is the emotional significance for you?
So, what is your why?
What’s the emotional anchor behind your goals? What would it mean to achieve those goals?
What is it going to look like?
What is it going to feel like?
What would you and your loved ones be saying if you achieved those goals?
Take the time and feel the emotion of that why, then you can truly plan and set your goals. Your why is the true reason for your goal. Remember that when times get tough. It will help you push through and help you reach your goals.