This year is about to come to an end and, like many people, you may sadly realize that you were not able to reach the goals you had set at the beginning of the year. The most common reasons for this are the following:
· You set to many goals.
· Your goals were not “smart” enough; what differentiates a goal from a dream is the SMART criteria which means that in order to have a better chance to succeed fulfilling a goal it must be:
o Time bound
· You didn’t follow up correctly.
So, if this was your case; don’t blame yourself, better embrace your lessons learned, and let me recommend you a four step approach for 2017.
1. Divide your life into sections for better understanding
I recommend you use ten sections to indicate various areas of my life, and I believe that this is the standard that every entrepreneur should use: 1) spirituality, 2) mind, 3) body, 4) romance, 5) family, 6) friends, 7) work, 8) wealth, 9) environment, and 10) leisure and recreation. This is the way I divide my life, but feel free to define the sections that will work best for you.
The criteria I used was the following: The first three slices are related to a sense of self, such as spirituality, character, personal and intellectual growth, and health. Slices 4 to 6 are the social ones, and they are obvious. Seven is work. Eight is personal finances, wealth and personal finances. Nine is one’s environment and community. And 10 refers to things one enjoys doing to recharge, either alone or with others, such as hobbies and travel.
So where is your business?” Well, your business is a different entity than you are and it relates to two of the sections of your life: “work” and “wealth.” In my book The Three Challenges: Your Model for Personal Growth as an Entrepreneur, I go deep into explaining that you are not your business and your business is not you, and how to embrace and apply this mindset.That’s where the business resides.
2. Make and assessment of your life
At the end of every year, sit down at a quiet and inspiring place, and look at your life. Go section by section and ask yourself the following questions:
· What does success look like?
· What were your achievements, and what were your setbacks?” What did you learn from your achievements and from your setbacks?
· What were the good happenings and the bad happenings caused by external factors? These are things you were not responsible for causing, but but go ahead and also ask yourself questions such as: “Was I prepared for that? Could I have taken precautions? How did I react to it? What did I learn from it?”
· What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to keep doing? What do you need to do more of? What do you need to start doing?
· What are your outstanding issues?
Lastly, give a grade to each section, on a scale from zero to ten, based on how satisfied you are with each area of your life.
3. Re-imagine your life
Once you’re done dividing your life into sections, consider each of them and think about what you aspire being, doing, and having in your life. These are your wishes and dreams, also known as aspirations.
Think of it this way: If you were writing a letter to Santa Claus, what would you ask him to give you? Just let your imagination and your dreams flow. Section by section, think of your ideal world and what you would desire from it. These are your aspirations, and they are normally medium or long-term (three to ten years), but sometimes they can also be short term (a year or less).
4. Start taking responsibility
After you have finished writing your “letter to Santa Claus”, it is time to become Santa Claus yourself and take responsibility.
First, ask yourself this: “What kind of person do I need to become to attract the things I aspire?” Think about your ideal traits, skills, character, and physical condition. “Success is what you attract by the person you become,” according to Jim Rohn, who was a rags-to-riches entrepreneur and motivational speaker. We tend to forget the importance of working on our own character and traits. But this is something we cannot risk forgetting.
You can do that by focusing on each of the sections of your life wheel and asking that key question: What do I need to become? If I want to become a gold medal bicyclist, then I need to practice so many hours a day. If I want to become an author, I need to write one hour a day.
After you have identified your aspirations and become aware of the person you need to become, you need to realize that you will not be able to approach everything at the same time, so you will need to set priorities. Of all the ten sections, where do you need to focus first?
A way of becoming clear about your priorities is to think about two things:
1) Which section could you work on, even if it takes a big effort and a considerable amount of time and resources, so that by improving it, it would have the biggest impact on the rest of your life?
2) On which section could you apply some easy-to-implement activities that could have a big short-term benefit that would motivate you and give you energy to work toward your aspirations?
After you set priorities (I recommend no more than three), you need to set the goals. Your goals are milestones toward fulfilling who you need to become and your aspirations. Remember to make your goals SMART and to break them down into activities.
· Think on paper: Write down your thoughts during this process. This is mandatory. And write it on paper, not on the computer—you can use the computer later. Go to the park. Go to the beach. Go to wherever you feel inspired, and pull out your pen and paper. You can’t remember everything that you need to do. You have to put it down so that you have a checklist to work with.
· Get an accountability partner: Your partner could be a coach or a counselor. Or you might be part of an accountability or peer group. There must be no conflict of interest, so this should not be your business partner. Nor should your partner be a close friend or a relative or your older brother or your spouse (unless you are working on family planning). Your accountability partner will help you think through the process and give you feedback and also can help you follow up on things. For example, I found an accountability partnership through my “forum”, a group of seven of us who get together monthly to talk about our businesses and personal lives. You can have a partner for your life as a whole, or more than one partner for particular slices of your life[GC1] . John Maxwell, world renown expert in leadership, suggests getting an accountability partner for the areas of your life where you are not disciplined enough.
· Follow through with rhythm: Your self-assessment and planning exercise should be continuous, not once and done. I suggest doing the complete exercise annually before the year ends and review it quarterly. Depending on the priority you give to each area of your life, you can monitor your goals quarterly or monthly and follow up on your activities weekly or daily.
· Last but not least, enjoy the ride. Pursue happiness not only from reaching the goal but also from working towards it.
Interested in learning more on how to define and execute a harmonized vision for your life and for your business? Read more about the book here, or get it on Amazon, and start becoming your best self today.