We’re just hitting our 2nd week into the New Year and I’m sure you’ve all been busy bees, jotting down your intentions to make this your year. Like the Best. Year. Ever. (RIGHT?!)
Or don’t you believe in New Year’s resolutions anymore?
That’s cool; I don’t really dig the term resolutions either. Sounds too much like absolutions, which in my warped brain starts making me think I need to be absolved of my sins for not achieving x or x resolution from last year.
No thank-y Hank-y.
A Little Back Story
I have broken lots and lots of resolutions in years past but I haven’t yet tired of making them anyway. Only these days, instead of labelling them as resolutions, I am labelling them as intentions. Things I AM going to do, or WILL do, or DOING dammit… no matter what.
- I will spend more time with my kids and create amazing memories.
- I will start doing yoga and become a flex-y pretz-y.
- I will lose 50lbs and become an ass kicking goddess.
- I will take singing lessons because I adore it.
- I will launch a neighbourhood campaign against global warming. OK, so maybe not that last one, but you get the picture.
FYI- these are just a couple examples of things I wasn’t able to achieve in the ghost of New Year’s resolutions past.
And yet, I still like to think that putting down my thoughts and ideas on paper is one step closer to making them come true. Writing down what I want to will do for the next year helps me plan and get my ass in gear making things happen.
The good thing about having your thoughts spelled out clearly before you is that you are almost forced to make something of them, because now they’re not just abstract ideas in your head- they’re actually staring you in the face, waiting for what you’ll do next.
Seriously, if intentions could talk they’d be like “neener, neener, neener, why haven’t you made me real yet?!”
Then I’d get all defence-y and start talking back, saying “well I just fracken will make you real, now won’t I?! Right NOW! So there.”
Listen, I don’t know why, but putting things on paper just works. Don’t pre-judge yourself and dismiss this simple but important activity to help kick your biz into overdrive.
Yes, you are bound to fail at some things and yes you will not always be able to really bring to life all that you have planned and promised yourself, but it’s the principle of the thing that counts.
Writing them down spurs you into action, so that at least you’re working towards them rather than letting wispy little thoughts twirl around in your brain, totally worthless.
And when the end of the year comes, at least you can tell yourself that you really tried to do everything that you planned to, but perhaps Lady Luck wasn’t on your side. Just the act of making promises to yourself can be hard, let alone keeping them… so don’t hit yourself over the head if you don’t always live up to perfection.
Remember, it’s not just our personal lives that need some spring cleaning and a good change. Entrepreneurs like you (and yours truly) can benefit a whole damn lot from the positive changes and fresh innovations that come from well-planned New Year intentions.
Make a Good Change
If there’s one thing you should remember about making your New Year intentions for your business, it’s this: set goals that are achievable and realistic. Natalie reminded me of this recently (I can’t remember what specifically of hers that I read, dang it all), and my old coach Ron Stebelton used to tell me this all the time as well… use S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. AKA SMART. (Smart right? Hee.)
See, nothing is wrong with trying to lose 10 pounds over the coming year, but it’s probably not realistic for you to plan on expanding your business five times over in the same span of time—unless you’ve already been experiencing that kind of rapid growth and know you can keep it going.
If you don’t, it might be better to shelf that dream for now and wait for when you’re truly ready.
Making goals that are improbable will only serve to frustrate and confuse you, burn up your resources and distract you from other, perhaps more lucrative and satisfying stuff you could be doing. Start stupid-small if you have to, to keep your motivation and sense of achievement up.
A business intention for the coming year should be based on facts and sustainable strategies, not fantasies. Otherwise how will you hope to make them a reality?
After you’ve made your list, be sure to put that thing somewhere extremely visible so (1) you will be constantly reminded of the goals you’ve set for yourself and (2) you have something tangible to check off for every goal that you achieve.
Strive to complete at least half of the list so that it won’t be just an exercise in futility but a real big step towards becoming the successful entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be.
What’s Your Plan?
I’ve already written a post about some of my 2011 intentions, both personal and business related. But I went ahead and put together a few other things I will achieve within my business for the year 2011 that I didn’t mention before (smack me if I did, I’m a dork like that!) and perhaps you can apply some of these intentions to your own business.
And remember- a little change is good for the soul! It’s like a breath of fresh air and a break from all the things you’ve been so used to.
So here’s to a bigger, brighter and better year for you!
Start with a goal and work from there.
Okay, so maybe I’ve been parroting this over and over in different posts, but you can bet your ass that proper planning is and always will be one of the best roads to success. Being clear on what you are trying to accomplish does away with distractions and confusions, letting you laser target your focus and unleash your inner awesome. Focus is something I struggle with daily, along with planning, so take it from one who knows… DO IT. It will make a huge impact on your success.
Relax every once in a while.
So all of us are workaholics!
Yeah, and? What’s wrong with that?
Not a damn thing. As long as you can work at 100% efficiency nonstop, and I don’t happen to believe anyone can. Humans are not perpetual motion machines and we all need a little R and R every once in a while. Think of your breaks as a way to take yourself of the “weeds” so to speak, so that you can go back with renewed energy, clarity and fresh ideas.
Develop new products and services.
Perhaps you’ve long been toying with the thought of launching a new product on the market, some hot new commodity that will leave your competitors in the dust and skyrocket your brand right to the tippy top of the heap. Now is the perfect time to make that happen. Don’t just daydream about the idea: work on it, polish it up a bit, and put it out into the big, bad world. You just might be floored at what happens next.
Learn something new about your industry.
The problem with working too long on something is that you develop a tendency to do tasks in a formulaic manner, almost on auto-pilot; forgetting all about uniqueness and charm and personality. Take the time to read up on your competitors and on new trends in your niche so that you will have something new to offer to your people. Trust me they’ll reward you well for it.
Improve your relationships with your customer base.
Today the big buzz word for business is relationships. It’s not enough to simply know your right people, because now they also have to know you.
It’s a give-and-take kind of thing you have to work at and develop and not just a one-way street. Your customers and clients want to know who it is they’re dealing with. And they would appreciate it if you listen to what they have to say just as much as you appreciate them listening to you and your sales pitches. Show ‘em so love already!
Get it? Got it? Good.