With 2017 eyeing the door, and 2018 knocking on it, many people will be taking this time to reflect on their previous year. They will look at what they were proud of, what they could do better, and areas where they will change. They will make resolutions, large resolutions, defining ways they will better themselves in the year to come. They will enter 2018 ready for action, prepared to keep their resolutions, no matter what…
…and ultimately will drop them within a week. Mark Twain put it this way: “New Year’s Day – Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
As a small business owner, you may feel obligated to change something this year to make yourself more productive, more successful, or just to be able to handle the pressure of running a business better. Perhaps you’ve tried this before. And you may wonder why it hasn’t worked. The answer is fairly simple.
Resolutions are broad, sweeping, changes to habits or character. They are rarely practical, almost never clearly defined, and are not easy to track. You can write them down, but how do you measure how close you are to achieving them? If you want to improve the way you do things in 2018, don’t make resolutions: set goals.
The difference between a resolution and a goal: “Exercise” is a resolution. “I am going to exercise more this year,” said many, many liars over the course of time. It is broad, vague, and altogether too ambitious. “Lose two pounds this week” is a goal. It is clearly defined, easy to keep track of, and manageable. Furthermore, if you accomplish this goal, you can up the ante next week.
A good example that is more applicable to the small business owner: you may resolve to do more with social media this year. However, this leads to an unfocused approach to social media marketing that may very well do more harm than good for your brand. A better approach would be to set a goal. For example, increase Twitter followers by 10% this month. This gives you a clearly defined, trackable goal that then influences your marketing strategy.
The great thing about setting manageable, short-term goals is that they eventually develop habits. As you work to increase your Twitter followers, you’ll find that you develop good marketing habits, like posting every day, responding to customer comments, and sharing content. Overall, I think you’ll find that consistent goal setting is the best way to increase productivity, and build a better business.