Category Archives: Goals

Setting Goals, Not Resolutions

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind” – Seneca (Roman Stoic philosopher 4BC – 64AD)

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is typically time for resolutions. This year, instead of resolutions, how about setting some goals instead?

What is the difference between resolutions and goals? Resolutions tend to be fairly non-specific generalities such as: “losing weight”, “getting organized” or “getting in shape”. However, goals tend to be specific and focused. Goals are: “I am going to lose 15 pounds by March 31st” or “I am going to run a 10K road race in May of 2010”. Resolutions are abstract, goals are concrete; resolutions are promises, goals are contracts.

Even though your life may be strewn with the wreckage of previous resolutions now abandoned, I want to encourage you to try it again this year, but this time take some time and set concrete goals for 2010. To assist you in developing a spirit of resolve as we face the future of a new year, here are 5 reasons you need to set goals for 2010 and 5 tips for setting effective goals.

Reasons to set goals.

  1. Goals establish direction for your life. If you never set a goal, how will you know where you are going?
  2. Goals identify results. If no goal exists, how do you measure your progress?
  3. Goals challenge you to grow. If you never set a goal, how do you move out of your comfort zone?
  4. Goal setting gives you confidence. Your frustration is immediately lowered when vagueness and doubt are replaced by focus and concentration.
  5. Goal setting is the foundation of success. A builder cannot construct a home without first outlining a blueprint. A pilot cannot fly a plane without first submitting a flight plan. A minister cannot deliver his sermon without first framing his message. You cannot design an extraordinary life without a solid foundation – goals.

Tips for setting goals.

  1. Goals must be specific. State clearly what success means. You will not “Eat better”, you will “limit your intake of saturated fats” or “consume 2000 calories per day”.
  2. Goals must be measurable. Have a clear target. You will not “lose weight”, you are going to “lose 25 pounds by June 1, 2010”.
  3. Goals must be reasonable. Make sure your goal is attainable. Don’t set a goal to sell $250,000 in 2010 if you’ve never sold more than $100,000 in one year. Have a reasonable basis to expect success.
  4. Goals must have a plan to attain them. If you set a goal to get 100 new customers in 2010, make sure you have in place a method that can generate 1.923 new customers per week or 8.333 new customers per month.
  5. Goals must be written down. A goal is nothing more than a wish until it is written down. Write your goals down on a 3”X 5” note card and keep it in your calendar or pocket. Written goals must then be taken out and reviewed daily, if not more often.

Clearly defined goals and strategies are the single most important structure in the long-term effectiveness, profitability and sustainability of your business or career. Focusing on one’s goals helps make life more enjoyable and gives one a greater sense of control in their life.

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Becoming Better

What are you doing today to become better tomorrow? Input Your Brain

Last evening, I had the opportunity to speak to the Brainerd Chapter of the IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) about networking. The presentation is called “Work the Pond” and is based upon the book of the same title by Darcy Rezac. It is a great resource for anyone wanting to update or improve their networking efforts.

These individual members of IAAP came together as a small group with the purpose of learning something new. Today, they know more about how to network (and improve their businesses and personal lives) than they did yesterday. How many will use this new knowledge and put it into practice? Hopefully all of them, but even if they never use the knowledge gained, they are better for having heard it.

The neat thing about this group is that they have meetings every month at which they have an education program. That shows a true commitment to improving themselves and their profession through exposing themselves to new ideas and information on a regular basis. How many of us are guaranteed to learn something new on a regular basis?

I respect and appreciate other professionals who are willing to sacrifice their time (after regular work hours) to gather together to improve themselves, learn something new and become more valuable to their organizations.

My hats off to you IAAP and thanks for the opportunity to share.

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The Best Fertilizer for YOUR Garden

“The best fertilizer for any soil is the shadow of it’s owner” The best looking gardens are created not by chemicals or soil quality but by the sweat of the gardener as they weed, hoe and tend to their plants.

There are two attributes that separate achievers from those who are just getting by. These attributes are a great attitude and taking ownership. Without these two, you have little chance of passing mediocrity, much less attaining excellence. With these two, you can accomplish anything.

The neat thing is, both of these attributes are a matter of choice. Your attitude is comprised (among other things) of your desire to achieve, your vision of where you’re going and how you react to that which happens in the world around you. Books have been written on the subject of attitude. However, ownership (or responsibility) is not talked about quite as much.

Ownership means taking personal responsibility for viewing and handling situations as if you owned them, even if you don’t. In other words, even if you didn’t create the mess, if it affects your results or the results of your employer, you need to take responsibility for cleaning it up.

Do you take ownership of what you do, or do you just put in time as if you’re serving a jail sentence? Do you watch the clock or the bottom line? Ownership means going above and beyond “good enough,” ensuring the job is done at the highest level.

Taking ownership means the difference between someone who dreads what they do, and someone who thrives on what they do, and are proud of their accomplishments after the fact.

When you own something, you take better care of it. You take responsibility for it.

Taking ownership of your little piece of the earth will create better results for you AND your little piece of the earth. Keep in mind that you own your life, your career, and your future success.

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Moments well spent

Brian Tracy, master organizer and goal setter, advises us all about the importance of the “now” –  the moment we lHourglassive in. He encourages us in every decision we make to always be mindful of our goals. One of his basic tenets of his program is that we must constantly order our activities so that we are always moving towards our goals. In other words, whatever we are doing at any particular moment in time, that activity should be bringing us closer to our goals.

Another important point he makes is; just because something is urgent does not mean it is important. We will always have to deal with life’s little emergencies – fires will always need to be put out. However, if you are spending too much time fighting fires, when do you have time to plant trees?

When are you going to read that book? When are you going to write that book? When are you going to take that class? When are you going to give that speech? Sing that song? Start that new business?

It is the activities we pursue in the present, the decisions we make every moment that create what we are and what we are to become. Moments well spent bring us closer to our long-term goals; closer to the important stuff. If you don’t have time during your day to actively pursue the important stuff, you may need to do some thinking about what is truly important. Good Luck!

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Two Days That Don’t Matter

Calendat page

There are two days in every week that one should never worry about; yesterday and tomorrow.

Yesterday no longer matters because it is dead and gone. No matter how much one would like to go back and change yesterday, it is forever beyond one’s control.

Tomorrow, with its uncertainties, promise or possible adversities is nothing more than a blank slate. Indeed, tomorrow is not promised to anybody, it is only a possibility.

The only day that matters is today. The awesome thing about today is that it is here, now, and one can actively do something about it. One can start a diet today, which if followed faithfully, will result in a much better tomorrow. However, that tomorrow will never come except for good decisions made during a continuing series of present moments. In order for any plan to work, one must keep in mind that the decisions made in the present will make themselves known only in the future. Each present moment, each decision, brings with it the possibility of bringing us towards the future that we envision or one which we will regret.

One can start writing a blog today. One can hire a new employee today. One can make amends for past offenses today. One can start a new marketing campaign today. All one has to do is decide today, here in the present – now.

I have been planning, for the past months, to start writing a weekly e-mail newsletter. I planned it yesterday (when my yesterdays were still today), I am going to send it out tomorrow. However, I am going to write it today.

What are positive steps are you going to take today to make your tomorrow a better day than yesterday? What vision of the future are you going to start creating today? What decisions can you make now? Good Luck!

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Time to Bring Out the Chainsaws

A recent analysis in thChainsawe Wall Street Journal claims that this as been the worst economic period since the 1930’s. By just about any measure, this recession beats every other downturn since World War II.

Personally, I can safely state that this has been the worst economy I have ever experienced, and I’ve been around since the 60’s. At 19 months (since December 2007) this is the longest period of reduced GDP since WWII.

However, there are signs everywhere that the end is in sight. The stock market seems to be making a comeback. Media reports are beginning to feature economists telling us that the worst is over. Indeed, after the daily barrage of bad news last winter, it appears that the worst of the terrible financial storm is behind us. Metaphorically speaking, the cyclone has passed and now we face a long period of clean up.

Anyone who has run a chainsaw to clean up storm damage knows that the easy part is cutting down the damaged trees. The hard work is the tedious process of cutting the downed timber into pieces and carting the pieces away. (I won’t even get into converting the stacked wood into firewood.) Similarly, we face a long, hard process of getting the economy back to something resembling “normal”. There is a great deal of financial carnage to clear away. There is still a great deal of consumer debt to be paid off. The lost wealth of the financial collapse may not be recovered for 10 – 20 years (for some, never).

The good news is that it now appears that it is safe to come out and pursue the process. The time for hiding in the basement and riding out the storm is over. It is time to get to work shaping your business for the future.

So, what does this mean for your marketing?

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Loch Ness Monster, UFO’s and “Low cost” – Do they really exist?

I was asked rNessyufo1ecently to provide some “low cost” ideas for a group of businesses. The request prompted me to revisit the whole concept of “low cost” when it comes to promoting a business. To be sure, there are plenty of “cheap” trinkets, gadgets & gizmos available in the marketplace – if that is truly what you want.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as “low cost”. The immutable law of “You get what you pay for” rules in the world of advertising & promotion as it does throughout the rest of the world. You may find a “cheap” way to advertise, but what will it cost you in the over-all image of your business?

When you are looking for a “low cost” idea, does that mean you want to look cheap? In other words, do you want the image and branding of your business to make the statement that you are not willing to invest any more than the minimum in presenting yourself to the public? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with presenting that image to the public – as long as that fits into your positioning statement.

You don’t need to drop a bunch of cash into promoting your business, but you must invest SOMETHING into your marketing efforts. If you don’t have cash for advertising & promotion, there are other ways to get your message out. You can get involved with networking groups, give classes, provide free samples, write a blog, spend time on personal calls and many others. Time and effort invested now will pay dividends when the economy starts to come back – and it will.

The bad news is, even in today’s depressed marketplace, there is no free lunch. Cheap is still cheap. It may be fashionable today but you will have to live with it in the future. The good news is that starting today and moving into the future, this is a great time to promote your business. The playing field is less crowded and the everyone is just like you – trying to figure it out. Invest some time now and you will see the payoff in the future.

Want some ideas? I’d be happy to let you use my brain for awhile – just let me know.

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