With the New Year, many of us are in planning and goal setting mode. This is the time we take stock of our territory, account, financial, and personal sales goals.

We begin each year with the best of intentions – focusing on the basics: better responsiveness, enhanced listening skills, more effective time-management and sharper business skills. Although within a month or two most of us have settled back into our pre-resolution routine. In fact, it’s been recently reported in a University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology study, that while nearly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8% of them actually achieve their goals.

How do we break this cycle and create habits for success?

The key to kicking off the year with a successful goal setting process is to focus on SMART goals. When setting goals for 2017, ask yourself if each goal is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Activity-based, Realistic and Time-bound. If each goal you set meets these criteria, your odds of success are greatly increased.

  1. Specific: Is your goal or resolution specific enough? For a goal to be specific, it needs to not only contain information about the end result, but also information on the steps necessary to get there.
  2. Measurable: A goal isn’t a goal if you can’t measure your progress toward achieving it. As the authors of Switch, Dan and Chip Heath put it, “Some is not a number and soon is not a time.” Do you know where you are today and where you are going to have to go to accomplish your goal? Can your progress be measured and if necessary, recalibrated?
  3. Activity-based: To accomplish your goals, you need to do something. What is in your control that you can do? Have you identified the activities that need to be completed? Do you understand the potential barriers and do you have a plan to overcome those barriers? If more prospects are your goal, think about the daily, weekly and monthly activities that you need to schedule and complete to find them, mind them, and cultivate new business. Use our personal activity planner to help you calculate those goals and develop a plan.
  4. Realistic: A key pitfall of many goal-setting initiatives is setting unrealistic goals or goals too daunting to accomplish. Ask yourself… can I do this? Is it possible? While it’s important to stretch towards difficult goals, don’t set yourself up for automatic failure by aiming for something unachievable.
  5. Time bound: When will your goal be achieved? It is important to set deadlines and hold yourself accountable to the timeframe for goals to be met.

A final piece of advice

Is your goal written down? Written goals ensure much more focus than fleeting thoughts and verbal commitments, so write them down and then put them in two places:

  1. At your desk- This is one place that you will see it every day!
  2. By your bed- Each night, before you go to sleep – look at it and then do this most important item: Visualize yourself achieving your goals!

What are your goals in 2017? As you set your goals for the year, use our worksheet to apply the SMART goal setting principles to increase your likelihood for success!

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As Founder and CEO of Visualize, Scott spearheads the company’s overall strategic direction, planning and execution. Scott has over 25 years of experience in sales and sales leadership, building profitable companies.

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