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New Year’s is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. Chances are many of us resolved to make changes in our lives as we counted down to the New Year. Maybe the decision was to find a new job or drop a few pounds. Unfortunately, whatever our intent, by March most of our New Year’s resolutions will be nothing more than a memory.
But this year can be different. This year you can turn your resolutions into results. If you’re serious about making changes in your life you need to start by setting goals: concrete, measurable goals.
The first step is to figure out your main objective or long-term goal. Be specific. Generalizations like “I will get into shape” or “I will increase my business” don’t work. Goals need to be specific statements of what you intend to do. For example, “I will lose 10 pounds in two months” or “I will develop 10 new clients this year.” Once you have your goals in place, you can create a plan to reach them.
Creating A Plan
Let’s get more specific. If your goal is to find a new job or build your business, networking should be part of your plan. But, “more networking” is too vague to be a goal. There are too many variables. You need to ask yourself questions like: More than what? Who should I meet? How will I measure my success?
Last year, I decided that I needed to work on my network. To be more specific, I wanted to create a network of people with similar values that I could rely on for information, introductions and support. That was my long-term goal.
Now, I love the flexibility of having a home office. The down side is that working from home is isolating. Through my online business I met people from all over the world. However, I knew very few people locally. I realized that if building a network was my long-term goal, I needed to get out of my house and meet people.
My short-term goals were to find a few local organizations and make one new connection a month. But, where would I start? Fortunately, I knew someone who gave me a few places to begin. She told me about two local organizations: the Entrepreneurial Woman’s Network (EWN), where I would have the opportunity to meet other small business owners like me, and Women In Management (WIM), where I could touch base with corporate women.
The following month, I visited both groups. The women I met there shared information on other organizations that might be a good match. Over the next three months, I visited several different groups. Eventually, I joined two that 1) seemed to offer lots of opportunities to make connections and 2) allowed me to meet people who could help me increase my business.
Did I meet my goal? Yes and no. On one hand, I developed several wonderful business relationships. Some have evolved into social situations as well. But, I had plenty of setbacks too. Meeting people was time consuming. Sometimes my overtures were ignored. Relationships fizzled. Yet today I have the beginnings of a strong network.
What do you want to achieve this year? Be specific. Start by developing a statement of intent for each objective. These are your long-term goals. Next create short-term goals help you reach each long-term objective. Short-term goals serve as stepping-stones. They will lead you where you want to go.
Change isn’t easy. It takes commitment and a lot of hard work. Having a plan will make the process easier. This year make the time to develop your goals. Go one step further and write them down. Review and update them periodically.
Don’t try to accomplish everything at once. Be content to move one-step at a time. And if you think one step isn’t significant, remember : “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Confucius)
Want a step-by-step guide for developing your Goals? Download Stop Dreaming & Start Doing: A Practical Guide for Getting What You Want With SMART Goals from amazon.com today.