We’re only a twelfth of the way through the year, and already most people have probably abandoned their resolutions. Entrepreneurs arguably have an even harder time maintaining their goals—the demands of our businesses invariably get in the way.
But February is not too late to make resolutions and set yourself up for success in the New Year. In fact, it might be even better than the month before—if the past 12 months were amazing, January can be daunting as you wonder how you will repeat that success. If they weren’t quite so solid, it can be hard to know what to change. Entrepreneurs often find themselves inundated with requests and work, as clients set their own New Year goals in motion.
Here are three resolutions you should set in motion immediately if you want to win the New(ish) Year.
Set Goals and Stretch Goals
Goal-setting is a popular topic at the start of the year, and you’ll see lots of advice about how to go about it. The kind of goal that has worked for me is the granular, highly-focused, keep-you-on-track kind.
What this looks like at RIGHTSLEEVE is a spreadsheet shared with the whole company that breaks each sales team’s goals down into weeks. We know what each team has to contribute to the overall company goal every single week, and we discuss at the Monday morning meeting how we did. In between, we hold one-on-one meetings to go through the sales pipeline and make sure there is enough in the hopper to hit goals a few weeks out. This rhythm has become critical to keeping us on track and accountable.
Beyond the weekly rhythm, we set stretch goals for the year, which are exactly that—a stretch. They give the sales team an opportunity to gun for something higher, with a cash bonus reward as an incentive. Fifty percent of our teams hit their stretch goals in 2015, having really pushed in the last two months to get there. Stretch goals create a target beyond the finish line, which in turn creates momentum.
Plan One Thing Every Day
Many of us fall into the trap of arriving into the office and letting our inbox drive the bus. It’s easy to leave the office at the end of the day feeling as if you’ve accomplished a lot when you’ve responded to hundreds of emails. But you can easily fall into the trap of busy work—you’re busy, but you’re not tackling the stuff that’s really important.
Instead, you should have a plan to tackle at least one thing every day that is a non-negotiable. This means you must get it done, no matter what else comes across your path. It allows you to regain the power to set your priority list from the person who puts an email at the top of your inbox. It’s remarkable what you can get through if you stick to achieving one key non-negotiable each day.
When we first launched commonsku, Rightsleeve was in growth mode and we had three kids under the age of six. I was getting very little sleep, and felt constant anxiety. Cash pressures, people worries, client concerns—all of these things kept me burning the candle at both ends.
The result was that I made decisions a lot slower and probably over-analyzed things, because I didn’t have a clear head. So I started making it a priority to go to bed early and get up early. This simple shift changed everything—I had far more energy, greater clarity and was incredibly productive in those early morning hours.
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There are so many more things that could be on this list, but sometimes it’s the simplest of things that can create the biggest habit-forming impacts.
Catherine Graham is the CEO of commonsku and the President of RIGHTSLEEVE. Prior to her current adventure, she worked in banking, management consulting and at eBay Canada when it was still a start-up. On the home front she has three kids and spends a lot of time at the hockey rink, both playing and coaching. She is passionate about fostering entrepreneurship, particularly in the tech space, and is involved in mentoring through a number of organizations.
MORE GOALS, HABITS AND RESOLUTIONS:
- 9 Simple Ways to Form Productive Habits (and Make Them Stick) »
- The New Habits You Need to Succeed »
- 3 Daily Habits to Make You Happier at Work »
- How to Stop Doing The Stuff You Shouldn’t Do »
- The Simple Power of Writing Down Your Goals »
Have you managed to keep your New Year’s resolutions this year? What were they? Let us know by commenting below.