Ok. I know the title of this blog post sounds a bit direct and in your face. Well honestly, it's meant to. As we move into the new year with our New Year's Resolutions and our business goals for 2014 all nicely laid out, it hits me that I don't really believe in creating New Year's Resolutions and/or goals just because it's the new year. Some may say that's a bit un-American. And personally, my son was quite shocked when he asked me what my New Year's Resolution was and I responded with, "I don't have one because I don't believe in it."
Let me explain. Every year, especially at the beginning of the year, people "commit" to changing their behaviors -- doing something different -- through new goals or resolutions. People talk about needing to lose weight or needing to start a new workout regiment. Some talk about creating a strict financial budget in order to slim down on expenses. And others talk about spending more time with family, traveling more, or even starting a new business. And the list goes on.
It's not the actual resolution or goal that I have an issue with. It's more that I don't believe in talking about all the things I need to change just because it's the beginning of the year. It's the talking and the beginning of the year that are of issue for me. In my opinion, too many people do too much talking and not enough doing. I don't want to be one of those people.
Don't get me wrong. I am wholeheartedly on board with and believe in creating goals. People and businesses alike should always be striving to improve. Furthermore, research supports the fact that creating and, specifically, writing down your goals is the best way to achieve committed change. So yes, establishing business or personal goals is important and necessary to continuously moving forward in a successful manner.
But in order to create true behavioral change, we must Stop Talking and Start Doing. Create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timed) goals, write them down, and then start taking action. I recently spoke to small businesses on a teleseminar about how to stop depriving themselves of what they deserved through taking action. And that is the theme again today. You want to do better? Great! You deserve that. But the only way to truly get what you deserve is to stop talking about what it is you want and take action by jumping in and doing it.
As I coach small business clients throughout the year, I continuously remind them to think strategically and create an actionable action plan. We don't wait until the beginning of the year to figure this out or to get started. Creating change can happen throughout the year. So I specifically share with them these 5 Steps for Creating Change.
1) Determine what is it that you want? And Why? Be honest with yourself. And be realistic. The "why" is critical. If there's not a strong enough "why" to the behavior, you won't want it badly enough, and you won't follow through.
2) Create a Macro Action Plan. This means create a "Big Picture" plan for where you want to be. If you determined what it is and why it is that you want to create some change, you need to have a plan on how you are going to get there.
3) Create Bite-Size To Do Lists. Take your "Big Picture" action plan and compartmentalize it into smaller digestible bite-size to do lists. This makes change a lot less overwhelming and much more doable.
4) Obtain an Accountability Partner. This person is going to serve as your cheerleader, your support, and your litmus test for achieving your goals. Your accountability partner could be a friend, colleague, or spouse. Or you could hire a personal coach who will provide objectivity and accountability. In short, this person is anyone you trust and whom you know will keep you accountable to the goals you established.
5) Now...Take Action. It's that simple. Stop talking about all of the things that you want to do differently and jump in with both feet and start doing them. It might be hard. It might be scary at first. But I assure you that if you were honest about what you need to change and why, then taking action to make the change will be worth it.
Commitment is much more than words. Words don't make things happen. They don't create the change itself. Only ACTION will make the difference.
What are you going to DO about making a change in your business? In your personal life? What's holding you back from making a difference in your life?