This post is publishing the week after Valentine’s Day. Many of you may have already forgotten about your New Year’s Resolutions. By this time, more than 35% of us have abandoned them altogether. Statistically speaking, only 8% of those who set goals for the new year actually reach them.
I set seven very explicit goals for myself this year, dealing with everything from business and finances to spending more time with my kids. They’re probably very similar to yours. I’ve set goals in the past as well, but have never really managed to gain the traction I’m on now. This year is different – I’m focused, kicking butt and taking names. What’s different? There have been several, but just one pivotal thing has kept me in line more than any other thing. Today, I’m going to share it with you.
Before I get to the “No. 1 Thing,” I want to take a step back and explain the process a bit better, because it helps set the context for the trick I’m going to explain later.
The plan you start with matters a great deal. If you don’t have a proper process for dictating and following through with your goals, you’re more likely to land on the side of those that didn’t improve much this year.
The plan I followed was Michael Hyatt’s “5 Days To Your Best Year Ever” course. Over a series of videos, Michael explains a definitive process and key tools that you need to set great goals, and then go out and achieve them. If you consistently struggle each year to not only achieve something more, but just to get started on figuring out what to achieve, I highly recommend you spend the money to take Michael’s course. It’s closed now, but opens again at the end of the year and I highly recommend you check it out. I’m not being paid to tell you any of this – I just really like and recommend Michael’s program. It works, if you follow through on it.
I won’t spell out Michael’s whole process, but I will share the bit for me that has made the most difference.
The No. 1 way to stay on top of your goals this year
Do you know why you haven’t accomplished much in the way of your goals this year? Because you don’t even remember them. And the reason you don’t remember them is because you don’t review them.
Yeah, review. That’s really the clincher. Oh sure, there’s the process of setting smart goals to begin with, but it’s all moot if you don’t take the time each week to go over your goals, track your progress and check your next actions.
How to do this the right way
Reviewing your goals is every bit as simple as it sounds, but there are still some critical pieces that need to be in every review in order for you really gain a solid understanding of your progress and stay on track.
Write it down. You’ve already heard that people who write their goals down are already closer to actually achieving them than those who don’t, it’s an important part of the review process as well. Keeping a consistent weekly log and tracking your action items–including when you’ve completed them–in some sort of written format (I use Evernote) will keep you organized. It may not look like much right now, but you’ll be thanking me in September, when you’ve got a solid 8-9 months worth of notes, action items and milestones in there.
Give yourself enough time. This isn’t a quick thing that you can check off your list each week inside of five minutes. A good thoroughly weekly review can usually take about an hour or more, and it’s worth the time to do it right, otherwise you’re not helping yourself.
Keep it regular. I believe that if you’re skipping all around the calendar to do your weekly review, you’re not taking it seriously enough. It’s extremely difficult to keep a regular review if you don’t…y’know, keep it regular. Pick a day of the week and a time and block it off in your calendar. I do mine every Sunday night at about 9:30pm. You’d be surprised at how great it feels to unwind your week on paper and prepare for the next one–leaves you feeling accomplished and motivated at the same time!
It’s about more than what you did. Sure the primary reason for reviewing your week is to document what happened and prep for the coming week, but it’s also much more than that. I’ve found that reviewing my goals can help reconnect me to my “why” and other motivations I have for reaching my goals. As much as I hate doing the administrative side of my business, this is one task that I actually look forward to each weekend. For me, there’s really no better way to end the week.
So there you have it. Have you fallen off the New Year’s Resolution wagon? Don’t worry! Pick yourself back up, write them about and get tracking! You’ll be surprised at the progress you can make.