Before we get started this week, first, an exciting announcement! Our baby girl, Grace Lee Uhl, arrived on January 20th at 3:18 pm weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and measuring in at 19 1/2 inches long! It was a pretty quick and definitely intense labor, but thankfully everything went along swimmingly. She’s been an absolute joy to add to our family and Weston just adores her and his new role as big brother, as you can see below! Welcome to our world, Baby Grace!
Now onto this week’s post! As we’re now 6 weeks into 2020, you’re back into your routine, and the excitement of the New Year has been over for quite some time now. Resolutions are probably almost completely forgotten by now, and your goals may be suffering the same fate as well. But they don’t have to be. There is a way to help them not only survive, but thrive. Well, three ways really. Let’s talk them through.
1. Keep Yourself Accountable
The other day while eating lunch with Weston he asked me, “So, did you make any sales today while I was at school?” I answered, “No, no sales yet today.” His reply? “Ugh, why not? Why haven’t you made a sale?” And while my answer was, “I don’t know, because its only noon.” what I really was thinking was, hmm, is he right? Should I have already made a sale today?
Now how does an overly sassy, and highly pressuring 3 year old (who apparently thinks he’s also a business coach) relate to you and your design firm reaching your goals? Well, accountability. And while I had at no point told Weston, “hey kid, keep me focused on my sales goals and regularly ask me how it’s going.” It did still give me a bit of a surprising jolt when he asked if I had in fact made a sale that day.
Why? Because when we share our goals with others, we’re simply more likely to achieve them. We know that possibly, at some point, they may ask, and we don’t want to be embarrassed when we answer. We don’t want to be in the position where we have to say, “oh yeah, about that..” Or, “Oh yeah, that… anyways, look over there!” in order to divert their attention and inquiring minds.
Instead we want to be able to say, “Almost there!” or “Done!” or “Already surpassed it and now I’m going above and beyond!” Accountability forces you to stay focused in your work, in your day, in your goals, simply because you don’t want to tell someone else that you didn’t achieve something. It’s one of those few, few times that peer pressure and fear of embarrassment, are actually a good thing.
This is why Masterminds of all kinds are just so popular, and effective, these days – because there’s that built in accountability factor. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars each year to make sure you’re staying on task and on target to meet your goals thankfully.
What you can do instead, is just share it with other people who believe in you. Whether that means sharing it with your spouse, or your friends, other designers that you know, or even a supportive Facebook group that you’re in (or if you want to be really bold you can post it for everyone to see), simply telling them what your goal is will make you vastly more likely to achieve it.
And if you want to go a step further, ask them to periodically check in with you on your progress towards that goal. Make it a monthly meeting or a monthly check in on the phone. Whatever makes sense for you, give yourself a regular time to share your progress with those who are going to keep you accountable. And if it makes sense to associate a completion date for your goal (this works best for goals that focus on actions being completed rather than results being achieved), be sure to share that with them as well.
For me, this technique has worked wonders. Whether it was getting a job in Dubai right after college, or having a certain amount of sales in a certain year, I’ve almost always shared my goals with those closest to me in order to make sure they keep me honest, and on task. And I’m so glad I have as the results were always drastically better when I did. Try it out and see if you don’t find the same.
2. Stick to 1 Goal
Now, once you’ve told those closest to you what your goals are, you may want to try something else – focusing on one goal at a time. This is definitely not something that I can take credit for (I heard of it on one of Tobi Fairley’s podcast episodes) as I’ve just started doing this in my own life, but I can attest to its impact.
In the past, I’ve created a list of goals that covered different areas of my work. There were often one or two in the marketing category, one or two in the sales category, one or two in my service offerings category, and on and on it went. I often had a listing of 7 or 8 total goals that were my focus for a 6 month period. Sometimes they were in a sequential order, but often times they were simultaneous, especially when across category.
However, once I heard Tobi’s podcast and started to reflect back on that strategy and its results, it did make me realize that I often felt a bit like a chicken with my head cut off. I was always running back and forth between one goal and another, often with lesser results than I wanted. Why? I wasn’t letting myself be completely dedicated to one thing. I was spreading myself too thin, in too many areas, eventually causing me to come up short on almost everything.
So now, I just choose 1 goal at at time. And then I stick to that goal, just one total goal, not per category, until its completed. I focus and focus and focus on that, and then once that’s done, I move on to the next goal. I then hyper focus on that, and once that’s completed, I move on to the next one.
This has allowed me to do two things. One, give myself a break on a completion date when I’m focusing on results rather than actions. And two, easily decide where I should be spending my time. If my goal is to grow my blog follower list to a certain number, but I’m focusing an enormous amount of time on starting a new service offering, that’s clearly not in line with my goal. So, I shouldn’t be doing it. I should instead be focusing all of my energy on that one goal, until I get there.
Realizing this and using this as a way to decide whether or not I should be spending my time on a task, has been a huge time saver for me. Not only do I keep from wasting my time going back and forth between tasks. I also don’t have to waste time thinking on what I should do next with my day. The answer is always clear, focus any work time that’s not dedicated to client projects, solely on tasks that will help me achieve my one and only goal for that time. Just imagine how much more efficient your days, weeks, and months would be, if you did the same thing.
3. Write it Down & Look at It Daily
So, what’s the last and final thing that you can do to increase your likelihood of not only sticking to, but actually achieving, your goals? Write them down. Write them down and look at them daily.
Although I’ve heard a variety of different numbers on the impact of writing goals down, most of them are around 40 or so percent. That’s right, simply writing down your goals means you’re 40% more likely to achieve them. Sounds like you should get a pen and paper out right now, doesn’t it?
But at least for me, that’s not enough. Just simply writing my goals down, or in my case, typing my goals out, isn’t enough to keep me going and focused. No, I need to also see them daily. I need to be reminded, visually and constantly, what my goals are in order to keep me on task.
For me, this means printing them out and keeping them taped onto my bathroom mirror. Now yes as designers I know you might think ugh, that won’t look right visually, and you’re absolutely right. It is ugly. But it’s also incredibly effective. It’s so effective in fact that if I notice that I’m allowing my days and weeks to get quite a bit off track, often times the number one reason is, because my goals aren’t up on the mirror.
Maybe I took them down to clean the mirror, or maybe I took them down because they were complete and I hadn’t had time to put up new ones. But whatever the reason for their absence, their absence alone was the cause for my wandering efforts in my work. So go ahead and accept a bit of ugly, and tape that goal of yours up on your bathroom mirror.
Keep Your Focus Throughout the Year
So as you continue your work throughout these remaining 10 months of the year, and your focus goes in and out, and your effectiveness goes in and out, remember three ways to bring them back. Three ways to make you that much more likely to reach your goals, career or otherwise:
1. Keep yourself accountable by telling others what your goals are.
2. Stick to 1 goal at at time.
3. Write down your goals and look at them daily.
Simple as that. Now ok, achieving a goal is never really simple. But by using simple strategies, you’re that much more likely to successfully achieve them. And I don’t know about you, but employing simple strategies to make me that much more likely to achieve something, is definitely worth at least trying.
Write in the comments below, how do you successfully keep yourself and your design firm on track to reach your goals? I’d love to hear!
And if you’re ready to make providing an exceptional client experience the goal you focus on, check out the listing of guides and resources available to you here!