Make Every Year Better Than the One Before: 2 Steps for Achieving Big Dreams When it comes to achieving our dreams, the small things matter. From my experience, the small details are the things that can lead to BIG results. And the good news is, it only takes a few steps in the right direction to make a huge difference in your business, in your relationships and ultimately your life. So the question is, what small things matter? Before I get into this, just know that internally, you’re probably going to have the knee jerk reaction of “oh I know this”. But knowing it and applying it to your life are two totally different things. So I encourage you to take it in and then ask yourself about how you could apply it to your business. Deal? Ok let’s go… 1) You need to know what you want to accomplish. Sounds obvious right? But if I asked you specifically what you want, would you be able to tell me? Unfortunately, most don’t. They may have a vague idea. But it’s “fuzzy” at best. Imagine if you jumped in your car and had no idea where you wanted to go? What would be the purpose of getting in the car? (for parents with young kids… you get a “pass” if you answered “to get my kids to sleep” LOL…. but that’s the only real reason you’d get in a car without knowing where you wanted to go). Unfortunately, too many of us live this way in our business and in our daily lives. At best we have rough targets of what we want to hit. Perhaps it’s sales or list growth or retention rates we want to aim for. But they’re too broad. It needs to be specific and clear. They should be so clear that if I asked, you’d be able to tell me right away. And if I asked 3 months from now, you’d say the exact same thing. So that’s the first priority – getting clear on what you want. Without that clarity, you’ll constantly flounder. The most important element I believe you and I need in place to achieve big things in our lives is a goal setting PROCESS. The second most important element you and I need in place is to develop a goal-achieving PROCESS. 2) Have a goal setting process in place. Many times we have clear and specific goals. But we don’t have a process for accomplishing them. As business owners, the goals are not enough. We also need a process for achieving them. For years, I used the same goal-setting process over and over. The problem was, the process was broken. And my goals were terrible. It’s why I used to get anxious towards the end of every year. In fact, I used to hate December, because it would send me into a total tailspin. I’d find myself reflecting on the year realizing that I hadn’t accomplished any of what I set out to do. Naturally, I’d be in a bad mood and would feel awful about things. Add to that the cold weather and grey skies of winter . . . it wasn’t fun. But here’s the “duh moment”… even though I kept getting terrible results, I didn’t make any change to my process. I kept doing the same thing I had always done. I just told myself that I had to try and be more disciplined this year. It was the same thing over and over again. I would start by writing down my goals. AND by doing this, I’d feel really good about them (and yes, my goals were SMART –you know, specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound). But that was never enough. Because fast forward to the end of the year and I’d look at the list and realize that I hadn’t accomplished anything that I had set out to do. Setting goals wasn’t the problem. It was the process of achieving them that was completely broken. One year it dawned on me… if I don’t fix this, I’ll continue to fall further and further behind where I want to be. So I started to work on my process for achieving the goals I would set. Today, my process is much different (and I’m getting far better results). It’s thanks to a process that I learned from Michael Hyatt. It’s designed to set you up for success each year, AND it helps give your goals more context and meaning. Doing this made all the difference for me. So here’s what my process looks like now . . . Every January first, my wife and I leave our home and get a hotel room in Toronto. Now, don’t get any funny ideas (you cheeky monkey!). We’re there to basically plan our entire year 🙂 Doing this away from home has been very important for us because it helped us “block the time”. We tried doing it at home one year and we ultimately got distracted and it wasn’t as effective. The whole process takes about six hours and we follow a specific set of steps guided by Michael. We watch his videos and then he walks us through his Best Year Ever process. Then after each video, he provides an exercise and a series of questions to answer. We reflect individually first. Then we share our answers and reflect together. The crazy thing is, it’s been amazing to see what this has done for our marriage as well. Reflecting and setting goals together has definitely deepened our relationship, because we’re having valuable discussions about our dreams, vision, and what we want to accomplish. And through it, I’ve gotten clear on how I can best support Amy and likewise, how she can best support me. Most importantly, it’s helped us get clear on where we were aligned with our family goals (and where we need further discussion! LOL). But it’s a far healthier way to come at it. But as it relates to my career, Michael’s process has also dramatically improved my “success rate”. Do I hit my goals every time? No. But do I have a higher success rate than before? Heck yeh! So what’s the takeaway with all this? If you and I aren’t satisfied with the results we’re getting, then we need to look at changing the process we’re currently using (just like my old process was not working for me). You’ve got to change it up. You’ve got to find a process that DOES move you forward. Otherwise . . . you guessed it. . . your results are never going to change. I look at that goal list now and it fires me up, because I realize we made so much progress this year. And if I really dig deep, what I’ve realized is that reaching the goal isn’t always the thing that feels the best. It’s making forward progress toward the goals. That’s what brings the greatest satisfaction. So even if I don’t accomplish the goals, I still feel good about them because I’ve made forward progress. These are two small ideas… but they produce big results. Know specifically what you want to accomplish Create a goal achieving process that gives meaning and purpose to your goals I’d love to know more about the processes that you use for achieving your goals. Let me know in the comments. If you have any questions about the process I use, let me know that in the comments too.