22 Jan Making This Your Best Year Ever!
If you ask anybody who really knows me, they will tell you that I am a pretty happy person. In fact, I would go as far to say I believe I have happiness oozing out of my pores. The other day a colleague asked me for my secret to being happy. I had to laugh because I certainly don’t have any special secret; I simply make a conscious decision to be happy. I choose to be happy.
If you want to make this year your best year ever, it starts with first making a conscious decision that no matter what, you ARE going to have your best year ever. By making this choice, you can now focus on creating your best year ever. It seems kind of silly to create anything less, yet so many business owners I talk to have not made this decision. They seem to accept whatever fate the year brings them, as if they have a way to direct their yearly course. Not because they don’t want the best year ever, but because they never took the time to define what the best year ever means to them.
Determine Your Destination
In the early 1980’s, I saved up enough money to buy a 1975 Camaro. I loved this car, and not only did it help me get noticed at high school, but it also gave me a tremendous sense of freedom to drive where ever I wanted to go.
Later that summer, a buddy and I decided to take a road trip. After carefully brainstorming the type of trip we wanted to have, we quickly planned our destination. We knew exactly where we were heading to, and created an image in our minds of what our trip was going to be like. Fun in the sun, swimming, good food, campfires, and of course meeting girls! Yes, I had quite the active imagination.
If you can imagine that your business is taking a yearlong road trip, where is it heading to? What will the destination look like once you reach the end of the year? What are your objectives? Have your sales, profit margins, and number of transactions increased? Are you attracting and converting more leads into happy customers? Are you improving your operational efficiencies? Is your business fun and rewarding? What exactly does the best year ever look like for your business?
If you have a clearly-defined strategic vision for your business, your destination at the end of the year should bring you one step closer to this overall vision. If you have not written a strategic vision, it might be a good time to do so. Planning your destination in advance, especially an exciting destination, will help to inspire and motivate you and keep you on track through your day-to-day operations.
Map the Course
Once my buddy and I planned the destination of our road trip, the next thing we did was to find a road map (no GPS in those days!). The map provided us with a visual direction of where we were heading; such as the roads we would take and the towns we passed through. We identified various milestones we would pass along the way, and all we had to do was follow the map knowing it would eventually lead us to our destination.
Once you have defined the destination for the best year ever in your business, you can then create your own road map and identify the milestones you will be passing along the way. I like to do this by starting at the destination and working my way backward. If you know what your business is going to look like at the end of the year, what will it look like the month before? What about the month before that? What needs to happen in order to keep moving forward each month? By the time you are done with this process, you will have defined your objectives for each month. Your road map will be laid out in front of you.
Plan the Trip
Once my buddy and I planned our destination and charted the course on the map, the next thing we did was to start planning the details of the road trip. We made a list of everything we thought we would need, and the things we needed to buy. We estimated the amount of time it would take us to travel, and how much money it would cost us. We continued to refine, adjust, and make improvements to our list until the day had come to hit the road.
Once you have charted your year-long course with your monthly objectives, you can start planning the specific tasks that need to be done in order to reach them. Even if you are not sure how you will accomplish each task, write them down on a master list and estimate the amount of time each task will take. Since I often underestimate the amount of time a task will take, I usually take my estimated time and double it just to be safe. Next, how much cost to finish these tasks, and will completing these tasks require the help of others to complete them? With the road trip planned, you can now hit the open road.
Hit the Open Road
After planning out the details of our road trip, it was time to hit the open road. We followed our map, stopping and refueling at the places we identified on the map. One-by-one we passed every milestone until we finally reached our destination.
Gaining forward momentum on the road means completing each of the tasks that were identified in your plan. I like to plan my week by scheduling these tasks on my calendar. I reserve specific times for when I will work to complete them. I believe this is such a crucial step, even though scheduling tasks does not seem to come naturally to me. However, if I fail to schedule tasks on my calendar, they will not get done; plain and simple. I know and understand this about myself, so I have learned to treat all tasks as appointments I set with myself, and treat it with the same importance as I treat any other appointment I have.
Enjoy Your Best Year Ever
I hope you have made the decision to make this your best year ever! Once you have a clear idea of the destination you’re heading to, even if you get stuck or lost along the way, you can always get back on the road and keep moving forward. My hope is it will give you a chance to reflect, to brainstorm, and to get excited about what you can accomplish during the year. What do you plan to achieve over the next year? Is it going to be your best year ever? I hope so. Pick up a pen and paper and start planning your road trip now!
To Your SUCCESS,