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Goal Check-Up

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Remember those New Year’s resolutions you made in January? Now is the time to monitor your progress.

Time seems to be moving at warp speed — 2014 is already half-over. Back in January, I wrote an article giving advice on how to conquer the ever-elusive New Year’s resolution. Now that we are halfway through the trek of 2014, it’s time to take stock of our accomplishments, revisit the goals still in progress and reevaluate the aspirations that we are perhaps no longer pursuing.

If your ambitions have stunted, don’t fret. There are still six months of the year left to accomplish them. If you are having difficulty fulfilling any goal you set, you must figure out the underlying cause of that unproductive behavior. People use a plethora of possible reasons to excuse their incompletion of goals, but there are just as many solutions for overcoming challenges.

When setting goals, you need to realistically take into account your work schedule, free time and energy levels. Too often, people focus on perfection rather than just beginning the process. Do not bog yourself down with intricate rules and regulations. As Nike says, “Just do it.”

Determine your end game and the most efficient way to achieve it. If your resolution involves an extensive goal, and you don’t even know where to start, you should break the goal down into smaller steps. Once you break it down, you can determine if it is realistic or not. After all, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

To remind yourself of the importance of your goal, you need to think of its long-term, intermediate and short-term benefits. Having short-term benefits in mind helps you avoid putting off your accomplishments, and long-term benefits help you see the bigger picture and follow through to the finish line. A lack of time is the excuse most often used. When we say we don’t have time, what we really mean is that the goal is not a priority. I’m more than sure that there have been instances this year when you chose to watch TV, or just surfed the Internet, instead of using time productively. Downtime and relaxation are necessary, but we need to make our resolutions a priority as well.

When I counsel clients on buying, selling and improving businesses, I ask them to declare their top goals, values and skill sets. I then ask them to grasp how much of their time is actually dedicated to each. It’s imperative that you spend your time on your A-level, or core competency, activities. Focus on growing your company instead of working as an employee of your business. Stay laser-focused on your top priorities and your ultimate goals.

In addition, you need to be disciplined. Set an assigned time to write that book you’ve been too exhausted to begin, or create that strategic marketing plan that will finally put your company on the map. For example, I get up at 4:30 every morning in the chase of completing my next book for a few hours before I go into the office. I follow this schedule for approximately three months with the expectation that I will complete my book. This is a temporary sacrifice, but the accomplishment is so much greater than the short-term discomfort.

Understanding the reason behind your goals will also greatly benefit you in accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell my business for millions of dollars?” or “Why do I want to grow my business throughout the United States?” Knowing and committing to your reasons will help you stay on track, motivate you and ensure productive behavior.

You may also come to the realization that your New Year’s resolutions are just not that important to you. Perhaps the reason you haven’t followed through with your resolutions is because they aren’t significant anymore. Most of us have the best intentions when creating our annual blueprint of conquests, but research shows that few people actually follow through with their goals and resolutions. Now is the time to stop making excuses, and to make your goals more than a priority — make them a reality.

What were your New Year’s resolutions, and how much progress have you made thus far? What has helped you stay on track, or kept you from following through? To paraphrase a popular quote, “A year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.”

5 Tips to Check Your 6-Month Progress  
1. Analyze your goal, and make sure it’s something you really want to accomplish. Put some thought into it, and avoid knee-jerk New Year’s resolutions. Again, know your reason! If you are way off-track, reevaluate and readjust your goals.

2. If you have not made major accomplishments in pursuit of your goal, than perhaps your goal is too daunting. If so, create a series of smaller steps to reach it. Make a plan, and stick to it.

3. You must continue to regularly visualize goals. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a resolution, because these methods fix the goal firmly into the subconscious mind. Display your written goals in a prominent place where you’ll review them frequently; make adjustments when you need to. Celebrate your small successes, which will ultimately lead to your end results.

4. Make sure you have someone to hold you accountable. This is a very powerful tool. In general, making a public commitment adds motivation. If you have people in your life who will act as cheerleaders or coaches, share the goal with them.

5. If you fall off the wagon, jump back on. It is imperative to forgive yourself if you slip up. Many people fall into the trap of believing that if they stumble, they should give up. But the truth is that you don’t have to wait for next year to fulfill your conquest. Instead, realize that slipping is part of the process. Enjoy the process, as it’s the process that fuels our happiness — not necessarily the end result.

More business-conscious tips can be found in Michelle Seiler-Tucker’s award-winning and bestselling book, Sell Your Business For More Than It’s Worth.