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How to Make Sure You Follow Through on Your Goals: 2016 Edition

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How to Make Sure You Follow Through on Your Goals: 2016 Edition

By Pat Flynn on

Welcome to 2016! Can you believe it’s here already? I can’t—but here we are. As we finish up our New Year’s celebrations and get ready to get moving again in our businesses, it’s time to think about not just what our goals are for the year, but how we’re going to stick with them.

Goals are great, of course. They’re like an address we punch into our navigation system that tells us which direction to go.

Keeping up with our goals, however, becomes the real challenge. In this post, I’ll be sharing three quick ways that you can stack on top of each other to give yourself the best chance of following through with your goals.

This post is short and to the point on purpose, because if you’re anything like me at the beginning of the year, you’re chomping at the bit to get started.

Let’s begin…

#1—Take One Bite at a Time

Have you ever heard the expression, “The only way to eat an elephant is to take one bite at a time”?

I don’t condone eating elephants, of course, but when it comes to the metaphorical elephant that is our goals, the only way to eat them is really one bite at a time.

Take that goal, chop it up into little bite-sized achievable pieces, and then start with the first one, and leave the rest for later.

With number goals, like earnings, traffic, and subscribers, this is fairly easy to calculate.

For example, this year my plan is to add an additional 100,000 people to my email list. This means that every month I should be adding 8,333 new subscribers. Broken down even further, that’s 1,923 per week, or about 274 per day.

Because I keep a close eye on where my subscribers are coming from and conversion rates throughout my site, I can make improvements both in terms of getting more traffic to the site and conversation rates into my opt-in form to achieve this goal.

The trick is when your goal isn’t necessarily numbers based, and for this type of goal I’d love to share a page out of The One Thing by Gary Kellar and Jay Papasan, titled Goal Setting to the Now.

I love this exercise because it not only focuses on the goal that you have, but what ONE Thing you can do today to help move the needle.

2016 goal setting

In this exercise, you’re working backwards from the big goal, creating smaller time-based goals along the way by keeping in mind a single action that you can take to meet that goal. By far, this simple exercise has had the most dramatic effect on my productivity, and I highly recommend that you think this through with the goals you have in mind not just for 2016, but beyond.

#2—Create Goal Supporting Habits

Last year, when I tackled writing Will It Fly? (which comes out in less than a month!), it was a huge struggle for me at first because I tried to write in any gap I could find in my schedule during the day. I thought I was hustling and doing the right thing because every extra piece of time I had I would sit down in front of my computer to write.

Well, I didn’t have much to show for it.

It wasn’t until I made writing routine and habitual, at the same time every single day, that the words started to flow out of me and into this book.

Habits are extremely important because when you get in habit-mode, you’re not even consciously making decisions to do things anymore, you just do them. Habits, of course, can work against you too, but when you decide to build habits that support you and your goals, you’re setting yourself up for major success.

Creating (or removing) habits is a huge topic, of course, one that may lend itself to a few podcast episodes in the near future, however if there’s one resource I can give you to help you establish these goal-supporting habits, it’s James Clear from JamesClear.com. Check him out—he never disappoints. He has what I consider to be the best content online related to habit forming.

I also interviewed Tony Stubblebine, co-founder of Lift.do (recently changed to coach.me), in Session #80 of the SPI Podcast where we talk about forming habits and reaching goals.

In addition to business-related habits, I have many personal habits I plan to incorporate into my life here in 2016, primarily related to meditation and gratitude.

What’s one new habit that you could incorporate in your life that would support you and your goals this year?

#3—Find People to Hold You Accountable

Accountability is the top strategy that I’ve used throughout the years to help me stay on track and knock out my goals.

Accountability comes in many forms, but primarily I’ve benefited from connecting with others who I share my goals with, who know what I’m looking to achieve, and why. These people check in with me along the way, and will be there to help guide me back on track if I ever get off of it.

Sometimes, all you need is one other person to help you and it can make all the difference in the world. It’s like that gym partner who keeps you motivated on those days you just don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to let them down, but you also want to show up and motivate them too.

The people that have helped me the most are those in my mastermind groups, and I also have more casual and less frequent skype calls with others I’m close with, too. Whenever I’m down or just not feeling the energy, these people always lift my spirits up and get me back to where I need to be.

Find and define one person who will become your accountability partner this year for each of the major goals that you have. Set regular check-ins with each other during the year, and knowing there’s someone on the other end following along will be huge in motivating you to keep going, because when the “honeymoon period” ends after January is over, it becomes a real struggle.

To Recap, Here’s What You Need to Do if You Haven’t Already:

  1. Take your big goals for the year and chop ‘em up into bite-sized chunks. Then, focus on that first one thing.
  2. Decide on incorporating a habit into your life that is going to help you support your goals.
  3. Find at least one accountability partner who is going to help you follow through. Set regular dates to meet and check in with each other.

Boom! Now you’ve got some weaponry to help you smash your goals for the year. Now go forth and conquer!

If you have a moment, share one goal you’re looking to achieve this year with the rest of the community in the comment section below!

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