Hey, goal achievers – Happy New Year! By now, you’ve probably done the hard work of reflecting, brainstorming and planning your 2021 goals. So, I want to outline three practices that can increase your likelihood of goal achievement!
This time of the year is exciting – we tend to have a renewed sense of hope and anticipation as we have the entire year ahead of us to achieve our goals. It’s critical, however, that we recognize the year ahead won’t always be easy. And one thing we learned from 2020 is that it won’t always be predictable either.
There will be days this year that feel harder than others and times you might be disappointed. Feelings of fear may emerge that you need to work through and situations that could lead to frustration. I realize this isn’t the most super positive start to a blog. But it’s critical that we learn to become determined and committed to what is important.
I think we can all agree that 2020 was way different than we ever thought it would be. But yet, there were still people that were able to persevere and achieve. I believe it’s because these individuals had practices in place that helped them with their achievement mindset – practices that helped them focus on what they wanted to achieve, and practices that helped them pivot in the time of need.
I am going to share three of my favorite practices so that you can develop this achievement mindset and excel in the direction of your goals here in 2021.
Number One – write a short-term vision statement.
If you listened to the morning routine episode of my podcast, this will not be the first time you hear me promote the power of a short-term vision statement. Here’s what I know to be true. Just because you hear something once doesn’t mean you will act or implement it right away. This practice is so important that it deserves to be mentioned again. And again.
I hope that learning about a short-term vision statement once again today will inspire you to write and read your own short-term vision statements throughout the year. I’ve been reading short-term vision statements for about nine years. Some years, I was more disciplined about reading them than others.
I have found two evolutions that have inspired me to consistently read my short-term vision statement over the last year. First, I now write my short-term vision statements quarterly. I know some people write one-year visions – others write their vision statements twice per year. But I love a quarterly short-term vision statement because it gives me the chance to evolve my beliefs, habits, processes and skills four different times throughout the year.
Quarterly vision statements have helped me exponentially grow in the direction of my goals. Also, to be honest, I got bored reading the same statement over and over for six months. I personally like shifting my short-term vision statement several times throughout the year. It keeps the vision statement fresh and relevant to how I am growing and evolving.
Changing up my short-term vision statement quarterly has inspired me to read my statement much more consistently throughout the year. Last year, there were very few days I skipped reading my statement because I found it to be exciting. I love starting my day by connecting to what I should focus on over the quarter to achieve my goals!
My version of a short-term vision statement stems from a concept in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. In the book, Hill outlines six steps for turning desires into wealth. I refer to the six steps as a guide when writing my short term vision statements.
Step One – Pick a date. You should write your short-term vision statement with a future date in mind. As I mentioned, I recommend quarterly statements. So, the Q1 statement date should be set for March 31.
Step Two – Go back to your goal planning notes. If you still need to outline your 2021 goals, take a break and listen to Episode 13 of my podcast for my goal setting formula. For your short-term vision, identify a couple of goals that will put you on pace for achieving your most meaningful calendar year goal. I tend to include business, personal and family focuses in my short-term vision statements. Remember, your goals should be specific.
Step Three – Determine what you are going to give in order to achieve your goals. Consider the beliefs and habits you need to evolve over the quarter. This is where you get to be honest with yourself and write out those beliefs that hold you back, fears you need to work through, or priorities you should honor to achieve your goals. If you need some ideas, reference the answers to your reflection questions or review the spot analysis you completed during your goal planning session. This is also where I like to include affirmations or reminders to myself to silence the negative mental narratives. I’ll also describe how I want to show up as a business owner, wife, and Mama to Scarlett.
I believe step three is the heart of your short term vision statement. The more you practice writing these statements, the more this part will speak to you. One of my favorite lines that I included in past vision statements is I am confident, I am vulnerable, I am fierce, I am happy, and I am rich. As I read these “I am” statements, I get a ton of energy around the direction I am growing to bring these statements to reality.
Step Four – Write out the strategies and activities you need to consistently execute in order to achieve your goals. Now, remember, consistency does not equal perfection. Consistency means you are showing up about 80% of the time, doing what you need to do in the direction of your goals.
In step four, you might also consider processes you need to put in place or skills you need to build. Keep the activities simple – it is so easy to get distracted with quick fixes or the next best idea. But after coaching hundreds of people to achieve their goals, I can say it’s often the basic and fundamental activities repeated over and over that leads to success.
Step Five – Write out what you wrote in steps one through four in paragraph form. The key to success is making sure your statement isn’t too long to read daily. I also like to insert quotes from books I’ve read or podcasts I’ve listened to, or even conferences I’ve attended as extra inspiration.
Step Six – Read your statement daily. Hill actually recommends reading your statement twice, once in the morning and once at night before you go to bed. To be honest, I’ve yet to develop the discipline of reading my statement twice per day. But I do start my day by reading my short-term vision statement. When I was first building this habit, I set a daily reminder on my phone to prompt me to read my statement, just in case I forgot. I also kept my statement in a frame next to my bed. I wanted to set my environment up in a way that reminded me and inspired me to connect to my short term vision statement.
Number Two – implement peer accountability calls.
At this point, you have clear goals. You know why you want to achieve your goals, but you might still struggle to follow through. Why is that? Well, goal achievement often requires us to get out of our comfort zones. We need to get uncomfortable to work through fear or take risks.
When we set our goals, we are usually super excited and actually over-anticipate our ability to follow through and achieve. As we progress on our goal achievement journeys, we can get derailed, off-track and sidelined by fear. Having a weekly peer accountability call is a surefire way to maintain your initial goal enthusiasm and receive the support you need to act courageously in the direction of your goals.
This year, I’ve started my Mondays with a peer accountability call to set myself up for success and motivate me to keep taking steps in the direction of building my business. My peer, Meredith, is a dear friend. We’ve been friends for somewhere around 16 years (the exact moment our friendship was established escapes both of us). We were both in the first year of leading and growing our businesses when we decided to start these peer accountability calls. We had both left corporate roles with a lot of comfort and predictability to ride this roller coaster of entrepreneurship and thought we could really benefit from regularly connecting to discuss what is happening in our business.
I appreciate that Meredith and I do not serve the same clients or even work in the same industries. This was by design – I specifically wanted to receive feedback on growing my business from someone who is also growing a business but can provide a different perspective.
If you are looking to grow yourself or take your business to the next level, here is how you can establish your own peer accountability calls.
First, identify your accountability partner. This should be someone you are excited to connect with weekly and are open to sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Honesty is key. There should be a desire in your heart to follow through on your commitments to avoid disappointing your accountability partner. In other words, if you care deeply about this person, and don’t want to let him or her down, then you’re on the right track of identifying your peer accountability partner.
Second, you should pick someone that is a peer. A mentor is someone that’s ahead of you and can teach you how to get to where you want to go. A peer is in the grind right along with you.
Third, schedule your calls. My peer accountability calls used to be on Fridays to debrief the week, but we switched to Mondays and I love it. I use these calls to set commitments for the week ahead that align with the priorities identified in my Friday Ritual. It’s the perfect way to jump back into the workweek with some inspiration and support. The calls are set on repeat each Monday with no end date. Of course, we adjust our calls as needed, but having them on our calendars means we are much more likely to maintain the momentum of these calls. Peer accountability calls only work if you are consistently keeping the calls.
Fourth, plan out your agenda. It can be very tempting to turn these calls into social reconnects. However, after a brief catch up, we dive into business. We rotate who shares first based on who has a pressing business problem to solve or celebration. If you are just getting started, I recommend rotating who shares first each week. Our call agenda includes sharing wins, discussing challenges, reviewing our prior week’s commitments, and setting new commitments for the week. There is no shame in our game if one of us doesn’t fulfill a commitment. We work to understand why and discuss ways to avoid the same outcome in the future.
This year, I’ve learned that if I don’t honor a commitment for a couple of weeks, it’s usually because there is fear present. And I need to work through and talk about my fear on this peer accountability call. Neither one of us are perfect. But we found that we thrive when we can support one another and challenge with care. It has been so critical to hear someone else’s perspective of my progress, to hear someone else share ideas on how I can grow my business, and to have someone to discuss the struggles of growing a business with weekly.
The last thing I will say about peer accountability calls is expect your relationship to evolve over time. Our peer accountability calls started as monthly calls but then evolved into weekly calls when we both recognized we could benefit from a higher touchpoint of communication. Having the foundation of friendship and understanding one another’s goals makes these weekly calls incredibly meaningful and one of my most important meetings.
Number Three – establish an intentional development plan.
Identify books to read, podcasts to listen to, or courses you want to take in the new year. As you strive to achieve your 2021 goals, there are likely some new processes you need to implement or skills to build in order to achieve your goals. Pick one thing to start learning and identify the books, podcasts or courses that can teach you that topic. There is a wealth of information available to all of us, and so much of this information is free!
In 2019, I had a goal to listen to one podcast per week. By the end of the year, I developed a rotation with some of my favorite podcasters like Rachel Hollis, Ed Mylett and Jenna Kutcher. Looking back, I now realize I went through a crash course on starting a business by listening to these experts. Surround yourself with subject matter experts to absorb information that will be helpful on your goal achievement journeys. Pay attention to how these experts think, what they believe, how they spend their time and the influencers they are following so you can catapult your own growth.
Another way you can catapult your growth in the new year is by collaborating with a coach. I’ve had the opportunity to hire a couple of coaches throughout my career. And I can say they have been, without a doubt, some of the best investments I’ve made in my business and in my career growth and development.
Stay tuned for a blog detailing how to look for, interview and choose a coach that can help you on your goal achievement journey. And until then, keep celebrating your weekly wins, noting your lessons learned and identifying your priorities for next week so you can consistently progress in the direction of your goals!