As you know, most goals, especially after the New Year, are foregone conclusions. Just go into any gym or health club the first week and it’s packed. In fact, gym memberships are at an all time high for the year! Go into that same gym a couple of weeks later and you’ll see a big difference as goals and New Year’s resolutions fade. The same goes for diets, time you plan on spending with your kids, relationships you’re looking to improve (or end), and some of the other best intentions.
In fact, it’s usually the second Monday after the New Year that most resolutions fall off the wagon. More good news!
In order for goals to be accomplished, they must be focused on the right things, for the right reasons, and be part of your every day. If they’re not, you won’t achieve them. Simple as that.
Here are some guidelines to follow when establishing (and ultimately accomplishing) your goals.
Your goals must be SMART which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timed. Specific enough to be understandable, measurable enough to be tracked, actionable enough to prompt activity, realistic enough to be achievable – but just barely, and timed enough to have a start date, end date, or both.
How will you hold yourself accountable? Sales people and certainly financial advisors struggle with accountability. At times, we all do! Share your goals with your sales manager or other advisors. In fact, have another advisor (or other accountability partner) hold you true to your goals and you can do the same for them. What gets measured gets done!
Be a Writer
As in write them down! Do this the old fashioned way – grab a pen, pencil, or Sharpie and write your goals down. On a whiteboard perhaps! There have been studies that suggest that actually writing your goals down (pen to paper) make you five times more likely to recall and act upon the information. There’s something about the touch and feel of your goals that make them come to life. Did you jot that down?
You have to be constantly reminded (as I do) about what you need to do and by when. I look at my goals almost every day as I’m writing my daily to-do list. Looking at my goals regularly helps me keep my daily activities in sync with accomplishing them. If your daily activities are not aligned with your goals, it’s a recipe for disaster!
Passion is simply excitement about something. I’m passionate about boxing and fitness. You might be passionate about golf, running, or whatever. In fact, I know a top producing financial advisor that’s an “ultra” runner. He’ll run 50 miles on any given day. In fact, he runs up to 150 miles a week! A bit crazy for most, yes, but that’s passion. You MUST be passionate about your goal or you simply won’t accomplish it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see how passionate you are or if you’re even focused on the right goal. Are you willing to “move time” to get it done? Invest money and energy to learn more, get better, or get it right? Do you get excited talking about it? Do other passionate people get excited listening to you? Now that’s passion! Imagine what you can accomplish if you feel this way about your goal. Are you passionate enough about your business and personal goals?
Be Aligned with your Self Image
This is related to the passion thing. I was once asked to “coach” a new advisor that had an extensive background in public relations. As we were discussing her goals, she shared with me that she can’t believe she’s selling life insurance. I told her there was no point in setting business goals because she wasn’t going to succeed as a financial advisor. She lasted three months. If your goals are not aligned with something that makes you feel good, you will fail. Simple as that.
Be Focused on the Process
Your goal can’t be about earning a certain level of income, commission, or premium (although that’s a great measure). You can have those numbers in mind but that’s the result of doing other things consistently well. What are those other things? Your process will drive the outcome. An advisor that wants to deliver four educational seminars a month has an ambitious goal. But it ends there. What needs to be done from a marketing, compliance, and logistical standpoint to make that happen? What’s the process?
Goals can have a tremendous affect on many aspects of your life. They can focus on your personal relationships, finances, sense of adventure, health and fitness, sports, and professional development.
Make a note – right now to create up to 3 goals.
(More than 3 and you’re probably pushing it.) Yes, do it NOW! If you’re in the middle of something, quickly write on a post-it indicating that on Friday (or whenever) that you will set aside some time to re-read this blog and focus on your goal(s). In fact, put your goals right in your calendar – start date!
Hold yourself accountable. Stay focused. See you bright and early at the gym.
Image courtesy of Celestine Chuaread more