So the new year has dawned and with it, your lofty “resolutions.”
This year I’m going to lose weight! Become witty! Earn more money! Impress my boss!
Boy, as you sat around the fire on New Year’s Eve, or on Jan. 2 when you were back at your desk, those sounded so great, so noble, so ambitious. Until a week or so in, when you thought, hmmmm. How exactly would I meet those resolutions? And how would I know when I arrived?
Don’t despair! You don’t have to become a resolution reject. Instead, you can re-resolve to keep your resolutions by making them SMART. And no, we don’t mean “intelligent,” but rather:
- Time Bound (that means they have a deadline)
Using this formula means that each resolution literally draws a road map. If you’re a list lover like me, it will allow you to checkity check things off on a regular basis…sort of a gold star chart for adults.
As an example of this in real life, why don’t we SMARTen up one of the business-related resolutions above: “Earn more money.”
What an awesome goal! Who couldn’t use more money?
But, more money how? A raise? Why should you get a raise?
A new job? Where? When? How do you know the new job will pay more?
And how much more money? Ten percent more? $10 grand more? What if you got a $250 bonus? Is that good enough?
See how that resolution is too vague to be achievable?
Let’s assume you are a salesperson who works on commission. Your resolution could then look like: “I will obtain two new clients and get more work from two additional clients in the next six months to increase my commission pay 10 percent.”
Now THAT’S a resolution!
It’s specific as can be.
It’s measurable: you either do or don’t hit the goal.
It will be actionable (we’ll add that part later).
It’s realistic: it’s not like you said you were going to double production next month.
It’s deadline oriented — you’ve given yourself six months which is enough time for it to be possible, but not so much time that you are going to lose interest.
Where many resolutions fall down is in the “actionable” stage. Let’s take our example and put some actions to it.
You want to find new clients. Does that mean you’ll make five canvassing calls per day? Set three appointments per week? Send out one mailer? Ask two existing customers for referrals? Go through your files and call 3 old customers per week? Use Google to find likely prospects? Attend a monthly meeting of a professional association? Volunteer for a committee within it? Join a networking group?
As you can see, each “main resolution” presents opportunities for any number of “sub resolutions.” And, each one of these action steps becomes its own resolution, since in and of itself, it can be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Bound.
So, the next step is to choose the actionable steps you’d like to take and write those down, making sure they follow the SMART criteria.
You might want to forecast out a few months at a time, or you might want to just focus on the upcoming month:
Week 1: Develop a prospecting mailer; mine old contacts and conduct a Google search to compile a mailing list; get the schedule for my professional association meetings.
Week 2: Send mailer. Find an appropriate networking group. Set meetings with 2 current contacts to assess their needs and ask for referrals.
And so on…
Keeping track of your progress as you move forward will help you see where you need to adjust or add to your actionable steps to ensure that you are making progress toward meeting your resolution.
Whatever you resolve to do this year, make sure that your first resolution is to make it SMART!
by Cathie Ericson