A New Year’s Execution Plan

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the past year – we celebrate our successes, accept our defeats, and shake our head in confusion at some of our choices.

It’s also the time when we set new goals for our business and ourselves for the approaching year. But why do most of us fail with achieving our goals? Because we make big statements like “I’m going to double our sales numbers this year” or “I’m going to lose weight” without thinking through our strategy and execution plan. We like the feeling of elation we get by making such grandiose statements, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we cop out, or we don’t know where to start. You need to look at your goals in small, bite-size chunks rather than the big picture otherwise it can be too overwhelming.

Don’t live another year in regret because you didn’t make a plan!

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 First off, we need to have a talk about living a balanced life. You may find that some of the things I touch on will turn into more New Year’s Resolutions. It’s safe to say that the all of us are already managing these pieces within our own lives:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Sleep
  • Eat

What’s missing? Relaxation and exercise! Yes, it’s odd to put both of those words in the same sentence, but I’m not suggesting you do them together.

It’s amazing how many people feel they don’t deserve any down time to do the things they enjoy. If you don’t give yourself this time, you will burn out. Fast. Take one day off a week – don’t answer work emails and don’t take meetings or phone calls. This is your time to decompress – whether it’s reading a good book, visiting friends, playing hockey, drawing, and so on – make it your own. You deserve it after the hard week you put in, and you’ll be re-energized for the new week ahead.

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Exercise is also essential if you want to maintain a high energy level to be able to get through each week. If you find it boring, then keep searching until you find what interests you or you’ll never keep it up. Once you get into a good routine (which is the hardest hurdle to cross, but definitely achievable),  your body will actually ache when you miss a workout. I promise. You can do 30 minutes a day, five days a week, right? Piece of cake! You’ve got this…

I can already hear what you’re saying – “I have too many commitments. I can’t fit all of this in.” Part of this process will be re-evaluating what you’ve committed to in order to see if anything needs to go. Stop feeling like you have to say yes to everything that is asked of you. You don’t have to allow others to put their expectations on you. It’s up to you to lead your balanced lifestyle.

So, rounding back on the list we talked about earlier, I’ve already added two items to it:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Relaxation
  • Exercise

How are you going to manage all this you wonder, in addition to the “real” resolutions you want to make for yourself and your business? With a calendar! If you don’t use a calendar – START NOW! If you don’t think you need one, then stop reading this post because I won’t be able to help you. I’m serious.

Good, you’re still here. If you own a cell phone, you own a calendar. Use it. If you prefer paper, go out and buy a daytimer. The goal here is not to schedule every waking moment because life always throws us unexpected curve balls. If your entire day is scheduled and you get a curve ball, then you’re already behind the game. Be realistic.

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Now onto your real goals. What is your end game this year? To improve your company’s productivity? To go after a different type of clientele? What about climbing a mountain? Whatever the goal may be, you need to do your research on the elements involved in achieving that goal and work backwards. Make a list of each key step and add a time frame to it. Can you manage half an hour each day or two hours one day, and skip the next day, all keeping in mind that you need to take a day off to avoid burn out? Of course you can.

To recap, here’s what you need to do:

1. Make a list of your current commitments
2. Re-evaluate your commitments and decide if anything needs to go
3. Get a calendar
4. Schedule in your typical activities: work, exercise, relaxation, time with family and friends
5. Write down your new goals
6. Research, research, research – what steps do you have to take to achieve your new goal?
7. Work backwards from the end game to develop a time line
8. Schedule it into your calendar – and be realistic!

We’re the ones that put pressure on ourselves to achieve these goals, so loosen up a bit. Each day that you spend on your goal is one more day that you’re further ahead than the next. Be proud of that!

Make sure to post in the comments section, along with me, what your goals are and follow up with progress updates.

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