Well it’s that time of year again. The holidays are almost over with and before you know it, it’ll be 2015 or whatever year it is you happen to be reading this.
When you look back on the last year you have to ask, did I accomplish what I set out to do? Looking back I can honestly say that I have not accomplished a lot of the things I’ve set out to do over the last year. For one reason or another things changed and I didn’t get it done.
However this doesn’t go to say that I haven’t accomplished anything. I’ve managed to earn some great extra side income, start a new website, and much much more. But the real question comes down to did I accomplish the right things?
This is where I feel I’ve failed the most over the last year and where I definitely need more improvement.
In fact in this article I’m going to dive into exactly why I think that is what you can do to change that. On top of that I plan to share my goal for next year and exactly how I plan to accomplish that.
So if you are in the planning stages and want to make next year or even right now successful keep reading.
Side Note: I say right now because it doesn’t matter when you really start but I always say the best time to start is right now. So just know that it doesn’t have to be the beginning of a year to start fresh, it can be anytime you want it to be.
#1 Focus On One Thing
Do you want to know the biggest reason people fail at there goals? I can tell you from my own experiences that it’s not the goal itself or how difficult the goal might be but rather that you have to many goals.
Having to many goals can actually hurt you more than help you. Just to prove this last year I set out to accomplish 5 different goals and do you know how many of them I’ve successfully accomplished and achieved to this day?
Yup that’s right, none. The only goal I successfully completed was to start a podcast which I did do, but my success was short lived because I only made 12 episodes before I quit.
The reason I failed at my podcast was I did not give it a lot of thought before I started it about what my true goals were or what I really wanted to accomplish there. Instead I thought I needed to start one because that was what everyone else was doing.
The mistake I made was that I was letting everyone else dictate what I should be doing instead making my own decisions. Now don’t get me wrong I learned a lot from starting that podcast and I may even start one again someday but only for the right reason and not because everyone else is doing it.
On top of the podcasting goal I had four other goals I wanted to accomplish last year and with the podcast taking the majority of my time you can bet I didn’t even start the other goals.
However if I would have focused on just one goal last year such as the podcast and nothing else and worked to make that the best thing I feel I would have had a lot more success with it.
When it comes down to it their are two big issues that come with focusing on more than one goal.
The Law Of Diminishing Returns. The first problem you will encounter is the law of diminishing returns. Below is a basic definition I found on Wikipedia of the Law of Diminishing Returns.
The law of diminishing returns states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower incremental per-unit returns. – Wikipedia.
This basically means that when you add to much stuff to what you are doing you will eventually at some point actually accomplish less. In this case adding more goals to your list to accomplish will actually yield less results in the end.
Pushes You Into Overwhelm and Burn Out. The second problem with having more than one goal is that it will push you into overwhelm and eventually burn out. This is exactly what happened to me last year. Once I had my podcast up and running I seen that still had a lot of stuff to accomplish.
It was taking me a lot of work to produce a weekly podcast episode and after 12 weeks I went from overwhelm to burn out mode before I finally quit it all together. In the end I had failed to plan for how much work it was actually going to take me.
So now that we know focusing on one goal is the way to go the next step is to start with the end in mind.
#2 Start With The End In Mind
So what do you want to accomplish this year? This is probably the toughest question to answer so let me ask it another way. What is one thing you want to accomplish this year that will yield you the highest results? To a lot of people we look at goal setting like going to the supermarket.
You might say I want to accomplish this, and I want to do a little of that, and some that, but what you really should be doing is picking that one thing that will give the biggest bang for you buck.
Instead of dipping your toe in several things you want to pick that one thing that is your personal strong point and focus on that. For example maybe you like writing, or creating videos, or working with people one on one.
The big mistake people make is that they don’t evaluate what they are actually good at and where their strong points are. What’s worse is they create goals that do not match their strengths and they end up failing miserably.
Personal discovery is one skill that can put you light years ahead of your competition simply because you are willing to accept their are certain things you are good at and other things you are not so good at.
For example, I am terrible at multitasking and would make a terrible project planner but rather I’m really good at focusing on one problem and solving it. Knowing these things can help you create goals that you can actually accomplish and ones you can’t.
Once you have this goal in mind you need to visualize the completed version of it. What does it look like, how do it feel. More than that what will it feel like living the result of that goal.
For example, if your goal is to write a New York Times Bestseller then image what it would be like walking into Barnes and Noble for the first time and seeing your book on the shelves. If you can’t see the reality in your goals they likely won’t happen.
On top of that you need to be very specific of the goal you want to accomplish. Don’t say I want to write a book this year, instead say I want to write a nonfiction book on topic x and have it published no later than December 31, 2015.
Side Note: Writing a book in a year might take longer than a year so you also have to be realistic about the goal as well but I’m just using this as an example.
So take some time to determine your one big goal for the year that matches your strengths, that is very specific, and is something you could see yourself doing.
#3 Break Things Down
The next step in this process once you’ve decided on the goal you want to complete for the year is to break things down to small bight size pieces, but first I have a question for you.
What is the best way to eat an elephant?
I can understand if you’re a bit puzzled at this point but the answer is one bite at a time, and this is the same exact way you need to look at accomplishing your goals. One reason many people never accomplish a goal is that we look at these massive goals and think how am I possibly going to achieve this.
The answer is to chunk things down, way down. In fact your goal is to break your big goal down to small achievable task. What’s more they should be task that you have complete control over.
For example if your goal is to earn $25,000 with your online business this year you can’t control that but if you know that in order to hit your goal you need to create an online course and get 50 people who pay you $500 to join the course you would have to focus on the things that you can do find those people who will join your course whether that’s writing more content for your blog, improving your sales funnel, or finding a JV partner.
Let’s go back to the book example, if you wanted to write a bestseller book this year you could set a word limit that you want to hit everyday. You could also set up an out reach program and plan to reach out to 5 different influential podcaster who could interview you and help you spread the word.
On top of that you want to break your goals down to 20 minute bite size goals. For example maybe one goal is to create a cover for your book. Here are a list of things you could do that would take 20 minutes to do.
- Research covers designs you like on Amazon.
- Put a job description together for Elance.com
- Submit the job on Elance
- Review offers on Elance
- Generate 20 possible title ideas
- Make the final cover selection.
Each one of these jobs takes no more than 20 minutes to complete and the great part is when you break things down this way you can see right away what needs to be done next and never be left guessing.
So take time right now to see exactly where you are and break your goals down to subsections and 20 minute task.
#4 Take Consistent Action
Want to know the fastest way to achieving success fast? The answer is to take massive action immediately. One of the most common issues I see people make especially during New Years is to wait until January 1st to get started.
The truth is you should never wait to take action but you might say I have to complete this or I need to get this out of the way first. This is the telling sign that you are on your way to failure. On tip successful people live by is that they don’t wait for anything.
On top of that if you are consistently pushing your goals aside it’s not that you don’t have the time to start them or that you need to absolutely have something else done first it that you have a priority issue.
This may be a bit hard to swallow but if you haven’t taken action before the first of the year when you already have your goals determined you are already looking for ways to push them off and not do them.
The simplest thing you can do at this point is to just start. Starting is usually the hardest part to doing anything new. Think of it this way, if you have to push a parked car in natural it can be very hard to get it moving but once it’s moving it won’t take nearly as much energy to keep it moving.
This is exactly how starting something new is. I can remember when I first started this blog and thinking how am I going to publish one high quality article a week. At first this was very hard for me, but now my average article runs around 2000 words or better without breaking a sweat.
From here you want get on a consistent schedule. I’ve found this to be extremely tough with things like family, bills, Facebook, and whatever else you can think of to clutter up your life but I’ve found a great technique that I’ve been using for a few months now that works extremely well called the Pomodoro Technique.
If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro Technique here is the definition that Wikiapedia gives it.
The Pomodoro Technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. – Wikipedia
The great thing about this technique is that it forces you to work hard for short period of time helping you work with time and not against it. On top of that it helps you eliminate burn out by only working in 25 minute intervals and then taking a 5 minute break.
Then every 4 cycles you take a longer 30 minute break. Doing this allows you to stay recharged and fresh. It also forces you to cut out distraction like Facebook and watching more cat videos on You Tube.
If you would like to learn more about The Pomodoro Technique click here.
The final step that I use to help take consistent action is to build a progress chain. Everything I do revolves around a progress chain. For example when I write a blog post for this site each week my goal is to see how many weeks I can keep it going.
You can implement a progress chain in a lot of ways, from managing your budget, to doing your business. The trick to keep things going and never quit.
So now that I’ve armed you with some simple hacks to help you take consistent action the final step is to enjoy the journey.
#5 Enjoy The Journey
Here is a great quote by author Greg Anderson that I really like.
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. – Greg Anderson
In the final step of completing your goal you have to understand that the destination is not your focus but rather the journey. What I mean by this is if you don’t like the journey you have to take to accomplish your goal your chances of completing it is slim to none.
This is something I was challenged by a recent mentor of mine when I was creating this very site. He told me if you don’t enjoy what you are doing then you are doing this for all the wrong things.
More than that you’ll never be happy with the result that you achieve either. This is where knowing thy self as I mentioned earlier comes in. Know what you like to do and what you don’t like is very important in this process and is the fundamental foundation to your success.
The doesn’t go to say their aren’t people who are successful who hate what they do. The thing is you could make thousands of dollars a month but if you hate what you are doing you will lack passion and passion is one of the key ingredients to happiness.
Now you might be wondering well what if you only like a certain part of what you want to do? My suggestion is to fill the holes by outsourcing these task to others.
For example going back to the book example I personally love to write but one part I hate to do is edit. Editing is my least favorite thing to do. This is where I would hand the book off to a qualified editor and let them do the thing they love doing, editing.
So take a moment and learn what parts of the process you enjoy and what parts you don’t. This will make the entire process that much more fun and enjoyable.
What’s Your Goal For The New Year?
Now that I’ve shared this in depth process I’m using to achieve my goal this year what is your goal? What is the one thing you want to accomplish this year or if you are reading this on any other random day of the year?
In my next article I’m going to lay out the exact details of my plans for the New Year to give you a blueprint to follow. So for now take a moment and share you top goal for the year in the comments below.