It’s another new year. For many people — including myself — this means it’s another fresh start, another chance to set and achieve goals. Forget the failures and disappointments of 2013 and earlier. We’ve got 2014 and beyond to start over.
I suspect that’s the reason why we’re always optimistic about New Year’s resolutions. A new year holds so much promise. I have my own personal list of resolutions, and I can only hope that I stick to it up until the end of December. I won’t pretend that I’m better than anyone else, but I really try my best to go beyond the first month to achieve my goals.
I’ve found that making small targets and doing periodic reviews help me keep on track. A few years back, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to lose weight, so I kept two goals in mind: One was the weight I needed to shed after a year, and one was the weight I needed to shed every month. It was overwhelming for me to think of the total weight I needed to lose, so I divided it into 12. Thus, at the end of every month, I checked how many pounds I lost and how many I still needed to shed. Whenever I met my target, I gave myself a mental pat on the back for a job well done. Whenever I failed, I simply shrugged off my feeling of regret and immediately worked toward meeting my goal next month, which I took as a chance to restart. Guess what? I shed all the weight I needed to lose that year, and I felt proud to have achieved my goal.
Because that tactic worked so well for me, I decided to apply it to my other, less personal list of New Year’s resolutions — my business goals. As CEO of Tolman & Wilker, I have goals for the company at the start of every year. And yes, just like the weight I needed to lose a few years ago, achieving some of my business goals can at times seem overwhelming. But there’s more at stake here, because it’s not only me who’ll benefit if I meet my business goals. On the flip side, I’m not the only one who’ll suffer I fail to meet them, either.
Setting and achieving business goals can put a lot of pressure on anyone – whether you’re a leader responsible for the company’s corporate performance, or an employee looking to accomplish your own professional goals. The key to success is to make a list of your goals, and then set small targets that will help you work toward achieving the big ones. I do periodic reviews, not necessarily monthly. Sometimes, I have to do the reviews weekly or daily, or as needed. If I do fail to meet a target, I make a fresh start right then and there. I don’t wait for a new day or new week — let alone a new year — to push me to do what I need to do. I seize the moment and make the most of it.
The key to meeting long-term targets — whether they’re business goals or personal resolutions — is commitment. But understandably, commitment is not an easy thing to sustain over the long term. However, setting realistic goals that can be achieved within a short period of time can get you started. The philosopher Lao Tzu once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. If you fall down in the middle of your journey, get up and walk again.
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