Small-business owners have to set expectations for themselves. These resolutions can come in many forms, but the one thing they all have in common is that they offer concrete goals to pursue, either personal or professional—and can be tricky to actually accomplish.
Entrepreneurs need to develop a skill for creating realistic, reachable resolutions if they intend to succeed. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what their trick was to setting effective resolutions or goals and then achieving them, and how those methods could be adapted by others. Here’s what they said:
1. Establish smaller goals.
To keep yourself accountable to achieving new resolutions, you have to establish microgoals. Often, when teams set a larger milestone, it can feel a bit overwhelming. However, if you break that up into microgoals, you turn a massive commitment into smaller and more manageable targets. This helps you build the momentum that you need to accomplish all of your resolutions.
2. Be specific.
When planning a New Year’s resolution that you actually want to keep, you want it to be realistic and attainable. To do that, focus on concrete goals instead of general ones. Resolve to lose 20 pounds instead of just “being healthier.” Resolve to read a book every month instead of just “reading more.” Give yourself specific goals and you’ll be more likely to actually complete them!
3. Keep them with you.
Write your goals down and keep them with you, and review your progress in a timely fashion. If you don’t, it will typically turn out to be a waste of time since you’ll be that much less likely to follow through with them.
4. Implement self check-ins.
I hold myself accountable regularly by checking in with myself, and answering two questions: What am I tolerating? and What am I avoiding? The answers serve as a gateway to create real and honest change.
5. Know your ‘why.’
Resolutions are never easy because they require consistency and discipline. And they may even be harmful to people’s confidence if they fail to follow through. From my experience, having a clear idea of why you’re doing it is the best motivation. Also, it’s important to remember that even if you stumble, you can get up. It’s not the end of the world; you can still achieve your goal if you keep going.
6. Be realistic.
It is easy to set huge goals that you hope to one day achieve in your career. But in doing so, you are setting yourself up for failure. You have to set goals that are realistic. Begin with smaller goals that will put you on a path toward reaching the larger ones.
7. Tell other people.
If you have someone in your circle that you trust, such as a friend or family member, let them know about your goals. Ask them to hold you accountable and check in with you every now and then to help you make sure you’re staying on track.
8. Create a timeline.
Breaking down a broad resolution into smaller goalposts and creating a timeline for them gives you a clear idea of when you have to hit each goal, and you’ll be able to measure progress. You’ll also feel rewarded with a sense of achievement as you reach every goalpost.
9. Write them down.
If you keep your resolutions in your brain, you aren’t helping to manifest them into existence. Take the time to write down what you want to accomplish so you can reread it and reinforce it into your everyday life.
10. Create accountability.
Utilize both team and tech in order to create accountability. Your team may be your family and your friends. Let them know what you’re doing and ask for their support. A quick text from a friend asking if you’ve achieved your goals can be incredibly motivational. Secondly, use tech! Simply set reminders for yourself on specific dates which will pop up on your phone, setting benchmarks.
11. Imagine you’ve accomplished them.
Envision that you are already that person who has accomplished your resolutions. This is a great way to make sure that you stick to the good tasks you want to do. Simply tell yourself, I am not a person who does X, or, I am a person who always does Y.
12. Make it have meaning to you.
Pick something that has deep meaning to you. When you are able to firmly know why you want to hit a resolution, it is easier to keep. Instead of simply saying, “I want to save X amount of money,” write out “I will save X amount of money so that I can start my business and find creative freedom.” The creative freedom is what you really want, and savings is how you will get there.
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