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Set Intentions, Not New Year’s Resolutions

We have all seen and heard it. People making New Year’s resolutions, gyms being packed in January–and once February rolls around, all good ideas are out the window. In my humble opinion, it’s a recipe for failure, because it’s not about the end result but a starting date.

If we were to set intentions, rather than making resolutions, we would probably be more successful in keeping the promises to ourselves. If we want to lose weight, our goal shouldn’t be to start dieting on January 1st or 2nd but to set the intention to eat healthier and exercise more throughout the entire year.

If we want to be more successful in our business endeavors, we should look at eliminating waste, setting meaningful objectives and then working toward that goal. Any of those intentions can start at any day of the year, that’s the beauty about it. A Tuesday in July is as good a day to set an intention than January 1st.

Know your goal, review the process and set an intention.

Make resolutions when it matters

Resolutions and goals shouldn’t be set based on a date, but on a need. If you feel that something is not working, sit down, review and reflect. Paint a visual picture of where you want to be next year and make adjustments accordingly. Most humans are not wired to make drastic changes, so essentially if we make drastic changes, very often we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Make a plan

In sales, it’s all about closed business. It’s about working smarter and not working harder. More sales calls could lead to more business, but only if we target the right people. The intention should be to increase sales by a certain percentage over a certain time period. As a first step we should review our sales/workflow process and see where we fell short the previous year.

For example, if we had 25 good prospects in the pipeline and we only closed 2 then we should look at what happened during the sales process that prospects didn’t become clients. Maybe there wasn’t enough qualification. Maybe we pushed too hard and in the course pushed the prospect away. There could be many reasons, but just blindly increasing activity without knowing where the pitfalls are only results in more activity and not in increased business.

Set yourself up for success

If we make resolutions that we don’t keep we feel like a failure and it will take a long time until we attempt another try. Usually, it’s another New Year’s resolution the following year. Having a goal and a plan, being reasonable and methodical helps us staying on track. If our goal is to increase business over the course of a year, it also allows us to make adjustments and we will not feel that bad if we make mistakes.

Being realistic helps us reaching our goals

Nothing wrong with dreaming and reaching for the stars, but it’s important to be realistic and to break down the process into small steps. Once you set your goal, make sure that you allow for a path that will lead to success. Manage expectations with yourself. It’s always important to manage expectations whether it’s with our children, with our clients, with our prospects or our friends. We should never over-promise or under-deliver. The same holds true when we make a promise to ourselves. Being realistic and reasonable will help us succeed.

Celebrate your achievements

We are so easy to judge ourselves, to look at the things that we didn’t achieve rather than celebrating our success. Thomas Edison once said that he didn’t fail 99 times, he just found 99 ways how not to do it. In that spirit, we should view every setback as an opportunity to learn. It’s really important to celebrate the little things in life, especially in sales. There is so much rejection from the outside world with additional pressure from management that we need to find the time to pat ourselves on the shoulder.

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