We are a week into the New Year, so congratulations – you have survived the first week of 2022. What are you going to do with the remaining 51 weeks this year?
As I discussed in an earlier post ‘Eat the Frog’ – in order to be successful and achieve our goals in 2022 we need to be willing to focus on difficult tasks early and often and tackle our goals with actionable steps.
80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail because they are not powered by actionable steps. You have to have a workable and realistic action plan to move closer to achieving your goals.
So, while the concept of resolutions is important – let’s redirect the mindset to Goal Setting. Goals are sustainable and something ongoing that we can work towards and built upon. Resolutions often are tied to a sense of urgency and panic – ‘I need to lose 10 pounds.’ Resolutions are driven by right now, in this moment – which means they are bound to fail because if you haven’t lost that 10 pounds after one trip to the gym you say ‘what’s the point.’ Resolutions lead to burn out. Goals lead to long term action and growth .
Trust me – I have had that ‘gym’ experience and resolutions left me feeling more ashamed than productive.
So how can we break this cycle of resolution – with no solution?
We all work differently so we need to start with a concept that Simon Sinek has mentioned ‘Why.’
I’ve not read his book, but in my own journey from failures and successes, stumbling blocks and lessons – Why is a powerful and important driver. If we don’t have a ‘why’ that motivates us to improve and growth we will burn out and that leads to bitterness, passive work and regrets. Especially in the time of COVID when are emotions are barraged by fear and anxiety.
I’ve included some steps that have helped me set up my 2022 journey. Hopefully these help you as well. We all are different and it is okay to adjust to what works for you – but remember you cannot accomplish without action. God can part your Red Sea but you have to walk across it to reach the other side.
Quick Tip: I recommend getting a journal, my manager recommended the Full Focus Planner, or you can get a journal with your favorite artist or sports team. Keep this journal at your desk and use it as a check in point at least once a week. Another option is using your Outlook or GMAIL calendar to keep track of reminders and have a space for recurring 2022 goal notes. Be creative – make it fun and accessible for the way you work.
Start with WHY:
I am a worker who will pour my heart and soul into a job/project/volunteering and work so hard that I have not thought about the Why. The Why usually is I’m wanting to help others and I am determined to get the job done, but that sometimes isn’t enough. We need a WHY that can withstand the highs and lows – especially in sales. If you are working your tail off just to make money (which we do) – that is part of the equation but it will leave you broken when you have that one off quarter, or your organization messes up attainment goals. You need to have a WHY for sales. Why am I in sales. Money – yes, but why do I want to make the money. Why am I in sales beyond money. What motivates me when I’m in a rough quarter.
For me it is several factors: 1. my faith, I trust in God and want to do a good job. WORK-ETHIC is important to me – but not slave labor – we need to have self-care in that work ethic to ensure we bring our best. It is crucial to have a ‘WHY’ that spans your journey. Work-ethic – but that why is powered because I want to serve – to help others. So even if I’m struggling to hit quota – why do I keep working to achieve – I want to reach customers to help them solve problems.
Make two Top Ten lists of things that are professionally and personally important to you. From there you can formulate a ‘Why summary.’ Keep this at your desk, or on your phone – it will help drive you.
Professional Why: Do a good job, mastery of skill, learning new skills, helping customers
Personal: Earn a living to pay off my mortgage, earn money to travel to National Parks, support animals in need, have freedom in my time outside of work for creative and business writing and painting landscapes
Follow up with ACTION
You have your WHY, consider that intrinsic motivation, but with that you need external and tangible steps to make the goals stick.
Action is most effective when with take the big picture plan and break it down into small daily steps. Don’t overthink or get overwhelmed by the big picture…the big picture should be a motivation but it is not your daily goal.
What works for me is to write a list of every goal I have for the year. I think rank those by priority and then I make a summary of what I would need to do to make that goal happen. What smaller actions would it take to achieve that benchmark.
Ex: I want to write a novel and get a publisher. I would need to set aside time daily (20 minutes after work) to type 500-2000 words. I could finish the book in 3 months. Then would need to find an editor and then submit the novel. I realize this is a process. Why am I doing this? I love to write and create stories. What: I need to block off time to write every day – even if it is only 10 minutes.
Ex: I want to hit my annual quota. Well we first need to figure out the amount of pipeline that would take and historically how many opps you need to create to realize that pipeline. You then set a goal to target 20 prospects a week and set 5-10 meetings, etc…While this will take time – it will lead to quota attainment/over attainment.
REWARD YOURSELF AND BE FLEXIBLE
Celebrate your small wins. You get a sale – even if it is $1000 – celebrate it – realize you are working towards your goal. Take time to learn from each action – what is working – what’s not working and be flexible to change and tweak through the year. That is how we grow and that is what helps goals become reality. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss actions – just pick yourself back up and start again. This is a journey and you will reach the destination as long as you wake up and take steps forward (or backward to reassess and improve) every day.
While there are tons of wonderful organizational formats and tools for sales professionals I love the SMART Goals because they hold you accountable. To learn more about SMART Goals click here.
S: Specific – be specific with your goals and actions. The Goal itself can be fluid – I want to hit quota/I want to write a novel – but the actions that power the goal must be specific.
M: Measurable – and with specifics you need a way to measure the goals to hold yourself accountable. Actions need accountability. Set a timeline specific to the goal and break down those actions into measurable steps. Ex: I will book 10 meetings this week – reflect – did I do this by Friday – if not WHY? What do I need to do to improve – accountability with action
A: Attainable- Too often we fall in the trap of creating pie in the sky goals that are not attainable. Then we feel cheated. Don’t do this. Be realistic. Sure 1000% attainment is great, but what do I need to do to get to 150%?
R: Relevant – In sales you need to focus on revenue generating activities. If you are not doing this then the action isn’t relevant. Revenue generating activities does include – self development -improving your skills through LinkedIn Learning, Sales Coaching, Podcasts, but focusing only one area (self-development) and never picking up the phone (or vice versa) will lead you to underachieve, even if you hit your goal
T: Time-based – Just like sales professionals want to tie down a prospect with a ‘timeline’ we too need to hold ourselves accountable with time-based actions. These don’t have to be ginormous goals in a small time, but you need realistic time-based goals
I know this is a lot of info, but hopefully it is helpful. This tips have helped me and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and advice on best practices for goal setting and attainment.
And as promised my goals:
- Learn the product at my new job and develop a mastery at demoing and discovery
- Target at least 10 clients a week and send out 10 prospecting emails a day.
- Follow-up with ‘cold call’
- Focus on revenue generating activities
- Hitting Quota is important – but as I’m new in my role I also need to be realistic about expectations and focus on building longterm best practices for future success with my company
- Edit my novel (written several years ago) and submit to agents/find a publisher – working on editing twenty minutes a day
- Continue to pursue my passions with art and music. Blocking off time for piano, painting and voice
- Blogging – I love to write and will block off time for writing.
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