How to Achieve Your Goals in The New Year

Achieve your goals

During a recent survey on successful people, it was discovered that one of the main difference between the top achievers and the rest was that those in the top 10% had clearly defined goals.  When the researchers probed deeper they found that the people who were in the very top ranks of the highest achievers were distinguished by the fact that they had their goals written down.

The tragic thing is that most people wish for far more than they will ever need, but because of an inability to set realistic goals they end up with far less than they could have attained.

Why do so few people set goals?

  • They have never been told about it.  Although they could have at some time experienced the pleasure of a short term goal setting and getting, they don’t realize the importance of consciously setting goals.
  • Fear of failure.  Many people never try anything for fear that it won’t work.  They often do not realize that the superachievers are just human like them and that they have put in very long hours of work to achieve their success.
  • Procrastination.  We intend to do things, and make goals and change our lives but somehow we never get around to doing it.

How to set and achieve your goals for next year

What is your overall business aim for next year?   Would you like to start a business, expand your business, expand your client base, create a new range of products or services, or simply to earn more?  There are five measures to set and achieve your goals.

1.  Is your goal clearly defined?

This is where most goal plans fail.  It is useless to have a goal to earn more this year.  You must know how much more you want to earn.

Take the example of a passenger ship.  What would the results be if a ship were to chart its course in “some port in the ocean sometime in 2014?  Compare this vague goal with “I wish to expand my business so that it can earn me $4 million this year.”

2.  Is the goal believable?

Do you think you can achieve what you have set out to do?  Your goal can be ambitious, but if you prepare a detailed plan you might see that it is quite possible to achieve.

3.  Is the goal keenly desired?

Without a strong motivation, you will stray off course.  You must really want it more than anything else to be able to achieve it.

4.  Do you have a detailed plan?

Do you know exactly how you are going to reach this goal?  Have you broken it down into a step-by-step process?  Have you prepared a budget?  If you are unsure, you can learn from the experience of others who have attained something similar.

5.  Are the benefits vividly imagined?

You need plenty of continuing motivation to give you the strength to remain steadfast in the face of all the temptations that will surely come along.  Picture yourself in 5 years’ time, having achieved your goals, living the benefits that achieving the goal will bring.

Once a detailed plan is drawn up, you realize that what until now was a vague dream, can be readily translated into reality.  You become excited about your goal and have no trouble seeing yourself do the hard work to get the reward and then being able to enjoy an early retirement free from money worries.

So how do you get started to achieve your goals?

Starting is always the hardest thing and in goal setting, it pays to start small and build up some confidence with little successes.  Once you start to do this the excitement of having accomplished the little things will lead you on to the harder tasks.

It has been proven that the completion of cycles (or tasks)  provides us with energy and that a lot of uncompleted cycles in our life makes us fatigued.  If you get out of bed late one morning, fall over your shoes, stagger out to a kitchen full of last night’s dirty dishes, climb into a filthy car full of rubbish and then face a desk covered in papers you will understand how tired a myriad of uncompleted cycles makes you feel.

Once you get into the habit of finishing a job before you start the next, you will discover a whole new energy source.

Try the following exercise next weekend.  Get a sheet of paper and write out a list of those things you have been putting off that need to be done around the house.  Now write against each item the time it will take to do, and write on the list when you intend to do it (today or tomorrow).  Next, get stuck into it and make sure you keep at it until it is all finished.  You will be amazed at how good it makes you feel and how much energy it gives you.

If you are serious about running a successful business, you will need to master the art of setting and achieving your goals.  If you can do it, and it is not difficult, your success is guaranteed.

Ensure excellent customer relations through thorough record-keeping

The other day, I visited the doctor for a routine check-up.  On arrival, I was informed that my file had been lost, and I therefore had to fill in all the information again.  Not only that, but the receptionist had the attitude that it was my fault the file was misplaced!  All the information regarding previous visits was lost, and it took quite a while to sort out my medical history with my physician before the actual examination could begin.  I was not impressed.

The next day, I had a query with my internet service provider.  When I phoned and gave my name, the receptionist immediately had access to my file, and could respond quickly and appropriately to the query.  The problem was sorted out professionally, increasing the company’s credibility in my sight, and I thus feel free to recommend them to others.

This got me thinking about how important good record-keeping is for a small business.  Beside the legal obligations regarding documentation, your satisfied customers are one of your most crucial assets, as you cannot run your business without them.  One way in which to ensure the most positive relationship with each customer is through taking extra care with good record-keeping and archiving.

As a small business owner, it is easy to overlook the value attached to good record-keeping.  This job is often given to the lowest paid employee.  It is far easier to shove documents into a file than to pay someone to index and sort them.  In fact, most businesses do not know they don’t have their important documents until they need them!

This is a potentially dangerous situation, and could cost the company at best an inconvenient amount of lost revenue.  For instance, if you have a proof of delivery document to the value of $500 and you lost it, technically the client does not have to pay.

Good record-keeping is not a stand-alone function but rather a support function to other aspects of running a business.  Beside the legal requirements, good record-keeping is also good for PR.  Customers are always impressed if you can draw a file easily or deal with any issues that require documentation to clear up.

Clients want to know that they are regarded as important by a company.  They are far more likely to go back to a business that attended to their query or problem quickly and professionally.

These days, it is so easy for customers to complain about poor service via the internet.  Good record-keeping can assist in keeping the bad word-of-mouth rumour mill at bay and even in gaining a few good references.

If you want to enhance customer satisfaction through correct documentation procedures, contact Virtual Productivity Solutions to help you develop an easy-to-use documentation system for your small business.

The tickler file – then and now

I first encountered this very simple but effective system when working for a lawyer years ago.  Every time we worked on a file, we would reschedule it for follow-up after a certain time.  For instance, if we sent a letter of demand to someone, we had to proceed with further steps if the person had not responded within 14 days.

The tickler file is a system meant to tickle your memory, and to help you keep track of details you don’t want to think about or have lying around on your desk.

This is how we used it.  You have 31 folders – these represent the 31 days of the month.  In addition, you have 12 folders, one for every month of the year.

The daily tickler files help you organize the papers you need for projects that need to be done on a certain day during the current month. For instance, you have sent out a quotation to do work for a client, and you want to follow up within 3 days.  You just stick the quotation (or a small note) into the daily tickler file to be done in 3 days’ time.  Another way to use it is to track whether you need to remind someone about a payment due.  When planning your day, you consult the tickler file to see what you need to do.

As you do each item on the appropriate day, you discard the reminder.  If you cannot do it on a particular day, reschedule it in the file (but make it a top priority, so that it does not get postponed too long).

The monthly tickler files are there to remind you of long-term items.  You could, for instance, have an index card in each folder containing the birthdays for that month.  It is also for items like insurance that you update yearly, or when you’d like to follow up something, say, in six week’s time.

Of course, there is a paperless solution to the Tickler Files.  Best of all, it’s free.  Have a look at FollowUp.  Once you have registered, all you have to do is make a quick note of when you want to be reminded about something, along with the details (eg. Contact details, file details, etc).  FollowUp will send you an e-mail to remind you at the right time.

What systems to you use to remind you of what needs to be done?  Are there easier ways to do it?  Please comment below.