A pandemic is no excuse for giving up
If you aren’t doing well with your business goals this year it is very tempting to declare that it isn’t your fault – it’s Covid 19’s fault and it is outside of your control. But of course that just isn’t true. Sure there hasn’t been a Pandemic for a century, but if you look around you there are people and businesses which seem to have had a plan to cope just sitting in their planning arsenal.
They are just changing and growing despite everything that has happened and they are not only achieving their business goals they are over-achieving them. And they had no more warning of this crisis than you did – they are just handling it differently.
You have a choice to make every day about how you will handle obstacles that come between you and your business goals. You can react to them and give up or you can deal with them and make adjustments then continue on with what you are determined to achieve.
How much do you want to achieve your business goals?
The starting point is your level of commitment to your goals. Do you really want the results they will bring you or are you just going through the motions because you aren’t sure what you should now be trying to achieve with your life and your business.
The problem is that you can’t fake commitment or even hope like hell that it will turn up. Your business goals either excite you and make you determined to achieve them or they don’t. And if they don’t then no amount of trying to be motivated to drive to towards them will make the slightest difference.
So what can you do about goals that you aren’t committed too? Well, digging a large hole and burying them is probably a good start.
And once you have done with that there is time to think about some new business goals that you can really be committed to and with a more than a quarter of the year left there is time to achieve part if not all of these new goals.
Or are you just afraid of failing (again)?
But what if you are committed to your original goals but you have allowed fear to hold you back? Then for these goals you need to be realistic. Can you cut the goals in half? Or maybe make them goals that you could achieve over the rest of this year and all of next year?
Half a goal achieved is much better than no goal achieved. And a goal achieved over a longer time period but nonetheless achieved is just as wonderful.
It’s time to stop gibbering about how hard everything is and to decide that you will get started again. You have hopefully sat down and sorted your business goals out so here are some ideas on how to get back on track to ensure you achieve them.
Every day is a second chance
Write a new business action plan first. What are the first few steps you need to take to get back on track with these great goals that you are determined to complete successfully? Is there a way to make these steps even smaller so that you will find it even easier to start tomorrow morning?
It really doesn’t matter how small those first new steps are just so long as you take them and keep taking them. Stop overwhelming yourself with how much you still have to do and just get started. You will never make a change in your business life until you change one daily habit. So focus on just one small change and make it as easy as you can to get started tomorrow. Not next week, or any other day which may work better, but tomorrow.
Just focus on the next 24 hours and do what you can
And once you get started on this new direction then try to do just a little better today than you did yesterday. Not a lot better just a little better. This allows you to practice improving and feeling successful and this will lead to the motivation you need to keep on going. You need to take action to overcome the inertia that has been slowing you down and once you get moving you will find the momentum to continue will grow and grow.
Another important little rule when you restart working on your business goals is to only compare yourself to you. Stop comparing yourself to others and what they seem to be achieving and selfishly focus on yourself. You can change you and only you but not by comparing yourself to everyone else.
Improve yourself just a little at a time and enjoy the new feelings of quiet happiness you will feel. When you spend time deliberately moving toward your business goals you will be improving in whatever area you are working on. Practice is like that – the more you do something in a deliberate way the better you get at it.
It’s a slow process but quitting won’t speed it up
Now you need to make sticking to your action steps easier and simpler to achieve. Make sure that the steps you need to take are in your face every day. Put them on the fridge, on your office wall, on your screen saver. Anywhere and everywhere that they will remind you to get started and keep going. You may find it helps to take 5-10 minutes at the end of each working day to set your space up to be ready to get started immediately when you come into the space tomorrow.
Like leaving your running shoes out where you almost trip over them to remind you to go for a run you can leave visual clues to remind your brain that you really want to achieve your business goals and that you are not going to let anything stand in your way. Especially not a lack of preparation. So sort yourself out and make it visually clear to yourself that this is serious. It will make a big difference in ensuring you get started as soon as you can each day.
Try a new approach
If you haven’t tried scheduling to manage your productivity maybe giving it a go will be a catalyst for permanent change for you.
Set out a weekly plan with different sized blocks to suit different activities. If you are a bit of a visual person then chuck plenty of colour in. If you’re a numbers person then add plenty of them to keep your brain happy.
Don’t forget to allow yourself breaks, rewards and fun. There is nothing more boring than a schedule that only contains work and more work.
If you hate the thought of scheduling then try something else which you haven’t done before. Change just one routine at a time and find what makes you happy and motivated. For some more ideas check out the ideas in my January article https://thebizcoachnz.com/how-to-take-action-and-achieve-your-goals-in-2020/
The start is what stops most people
Getting started can be the hardest part of achieving any business goal. The end seems so far away and so difficult to achieve but with a tiny step you can get underway. Don’t scare yourself off by deciding that you have to start with a really big step. Just focus on actually starting and let the success of beginning drive your motivation to continue tomorrow and the next day and the next.
And if you find yourself slowing down again – just get moving with another small step and a big reward for not giving up. After all that’s what you would have done previously isn’t it? But now you are lean, mean, goal-achieving machine. Or something similar.
Live it, be it, do it
Having you ever thought about how easy your life would be if you just automatically worked on your business goals without thinking about it? No fighting with will-power or won’t-power just a seamless transition into productivity.
Well it is in your power to do this now. You need to take productivity and turn it into a habit. Something you do automatically – like the hand you hold your toothbrush in or the second thing you do when you get out of bed every morning.
Imagine if getting stuck into your most important work was just as automatic.
Well it can be this easy. Think about how you developed your other habits. You simply did the same routine for enough times that it became a habit. And that’s how you can treat goal achievement.
Begin with practicing a starting routine
At first you will have to focus on each step to get you started everyday but in time it will become a habit. And, that’s all you have to do at first – practice starting.
Once you have the starting nailed then you will probably find that practising a distraction avoidance routine will move you into the next stage of productivity. Your routine could include turning off notifications on your computer and phone and putting up a do not disturb sign. Whatever you need to do to keep you on the business goal achieving track and off the drifting away road you can put into a routine which, with practise, will become a great habit.
Of course it will take time and you will need to keep practising but then you can put in place a routine for celebrating your milestones as you achieve them. You can’t just focus on productivity you also need to encourage your brain with pleasure and celebration.
For many of you this will be the strangest routine to practise because you become so used to giving up before achieving your business goals or moving from achieving one goal straight onto the next. Stop that right now and set up your reward routine.
When you are starting with a small step the rewards will be small too but as you get bigger and bigger parts of your goal done then ramp up the way you celebrate. If you start with a happy dance then finish with the biggest treat you can manage.
The next big obstacle is when you near the finish
It would be nice if we were like athletes running in a race. We would see the end in sight and push just a bit harder so we can finish in the lead. Sadly, in life nearing the completion of a business goal can actually cause you to slow down and lose momentum. This often happens when you aren’t sure about what will come next.
Maybe working on your goal is satisfying but the achievement of it will take you out of your comfort zone – maybe your expectations or other’s expectations will be higher for you once you have completed it. And that can be very uncomfortable for you.
You might just need a visual sign of the winning tape. A signal that you are in a better place because you have achieved a goal that you really wanted to achieve. It can be anything which is meaningful for you. You might plan a big, important reward and that will give you a deadline to meet. Because it wouldn’t be right to celebrate an achievement that is still unfinished would it?
See the end of each business goal clearly and understand how your happiness will be greater once you have finished it. Again this might be something that you make a routine for and practise so you become more and more used to finishing.
Expect more of yourself
Stop fighting the old you. The person who wrote marvellous business goals but never achieved them. That was then and this is now. This is the new you. Embrace that and stop worrying about the past. You can’t change the past – you can’t rewrite history. And you don’t know what the future will bring. That’s something that you are yet to find out about. You can only live in the now and if you do this more fully, more productively and more happily then you have a better chance of really enjoying your future.
Take practical steps to develop great habits towards improving your business goals achievement and watch how this transforms your whole life and the lives of those who matter to you most. Just think about how life will be when you achieve your goals and how exciting it will be to set new ones because you know that you have the power to achieve them too. You can do this – just take that small first step and you really will smash those goals.
© Robyn Forryan 2020
The Biz Coach NZ