It's that time of year again.
Soon we'll see gyms swarming. Healthfood aisles stripped bare. Newly polished resumes flying through the air. And social media buzzing with new campaigns for running shoes, meal replacements, online classes...
Whether business goals or personal, the start of the new year is a time for reflection and dedicated growth. Whatever that means to you.
The purpose of making New Year’s resolutions is to start down a 365-day path of self-improvement. Replacing bad habits with good ones.
Self-improvement, like any other exploit, is a matter of practicing tactics to support a strategy.
When’s the last time you ran a year-long strategy?
Here's how I think about goalsetting for business, health/fitness, and personal success.
How to not fail at your goals
You know about SMART goals, right?
SMART goals are:
The trouble starts with specificity. Most people promise themselves something hopelessly generic like:
Build my business and clientele
Get back to writing/painting/music/dancing
And they’ve forgotten about it a month later. Back to the same old habits. Why? Because they didn’t narrow the focus. The scope was too big.
So let’s break it down:
Let’s say I want to lose weight.
Great, how much weight?
Ohh, 15 pounds should do.
That’s specific and measurable. Just hop on a scale at intervals and watch the lbs melt off.
Is it achievable? Certainly. I have plenty to spare. And there's a lot of fun ways to lose 1.25 lbs in a month.
Relevant? Of course. I’m a confirmed glutton. I need good goals to keep myself healthy.
The crucial next step (and where most people fail) is breaking the goal into timely increments.
Taken all at once, any goal can seem daunting. But if you break it down over 52 weeks, it's a whole lot more manageable.
Here’s the process:
Each pound of bodyfat stores about 3500 calories
So 15 lbs means 52,500 extra calories stored
Impossible all at once—that’s a month without food
But across 1 year it breaks down to 1000 calories per week
Can I cut 1000 calories each week for a year? Of course. Any American can.
Run 5 additional miles = 500 calories
Quit daily soda/coffee drink = 500-1000 calories/week
Fast for 24 hours = ~2000 calories
Walk the dog for 30 mins = 100-200 calories
Ok so let's say you're an entrepreneur or small business owner...
Your goal is to fix up your website and get more regular with your marketing.
There's a lot involved in that process, in terms of outlining strategy, picking platforms, researching SEO, writing, rewriting, etc—but for the purpose of goalsetting, most of it falls into various types of reading and writing.
Here are some tasks to break it down:
Read 20 pages of a good book about marketing/writing
Read 2-3 articles about website elements (and take notes)
Find 2-3 existing websites and take notes on what's compelling or otherwise
Write for 20 minutes
Write for 2 hours
Write 10 taglines
Set up your own system of requirements and repetition. How often will you do each task? Are different tasks worth more or less than others?