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Tuesday
Jan242017

Holding Yourself Accountable {In Three Easy Steps}

I love setting goals and making lists of potential accomplishments. Each year, I write down several personal and business related goals for the upcoming 12 months. This list always includes an income goal for the year. In the past, I’ve written it down in December or January and not given it much consideration thereafter. Until, of course, the next calendar year rolls around and it’s time to do it again. Then, I would inevitably realize that I did not meet the goal I set. Not even close.

This year, I wanted things to be different. And, so far they are. I’ve exceeded my January goal by more than 46 percent and we still have a week to go! How did this happen? Was it just blind luck? I don’t think so. I implemented a couple changes and I credit them with my successful start to 2017.

First, I made sure that my goal was realistic. In past years I’ll admit I was guilty of just writing down a number that looked and felt good. I didn’t really give it much thought or research what it would take to get there. This year was different from the get-go. I looked at my numbers from the recent past and tried to gauge what I thought would be decent, acceptable growth from last year. I settled on a number 40 percent higher than 2016. Although a little lofty, I wanted to challenge and push myself, especially since I felt I didn’t do that last year.

Second, I broke down my goal into manageable chunks. By this I mean I simply turned my annual goal into a monthly one. I simply divided my goal by 12 to see what it would take for me to get there. This accomplished a couple things. First, it gave me clarity as to whether my goal really was realistic and achievable. I thought it was. Secondly, it forced me to think through various sales scenarios. What would I actually have to sell to meet this goal? What promotions could I offer to fit with my overall editorial calendar for the year? While there wasn’t detailed planning taking place, I did think through the year and what it would take to stay on track.

It makes sense to me that if I can consistently meet a monthly goal, I will be considerably above my total goal by December. Many of you may be in similar situations. Much of my income is generated at the end of the calendar year, before and during the holiday season. Meeting a monthly goal during the first half of the year will hopefully take some pressure off when it comes to promoting our Holiday Gift Guide and other similar promotions.

Lastly, I made a commitment to keep my goal front and center. Each week I create a to-do list so that I can keep track of tasks that need accomplished. At the top right corner, I wrote down my monthly goal. Each time I’ve made a sale this month, I’ve crossed it out and wrote what’s remaining to meet my goal. Today, I was able to cross the number off completely and instead write how much I had exceeded it by. Wow, that was a good feeling! Now, more than ever, I am committed to slaying the 2017 income goal I had set.

It has been easier than I thought to stay focused. By being realistic, breaking down my goal into manageable pieces and keeping it front of mind, I’ve been able to be successful. I’m looking forward to continuing the trend throughout the year. I’d love to hear from you! Tell us about how you hold yourself accountable in the comments!