What does it take to be ‘better’ than last year?

There are a number of seasoned business and marketing experts making money out of positioning themselves to help us have a better year than last year.

Selling products and services to help us upgrade challenging and unrealistic resolutions we’ve already failed at to more quantifiable objectives – and those objectives to action oriented goals.

Working through their processes will provide, they say, more meaning and more focus and allow us to really concentrate on small steps that get us closer to bigger achievements.

I had planned to write my own first post of 2015 on how I go about it. I still might, but the point to observe in most advice about goal setting is that it often fails to address two elements. Specificity and commitment.

Any plan needs to be have a long term win, a detailed approach and an understanding of the commitment required to achieve it.

All this is backed up by current published research I read from Forbes.com and the University of Scranton which suggests 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail.

So, what does it take to better than last year?

Most new year plans cover areas like work, personal finance and health. So, consider these scenarios:

1. You want to deliver A SET AMOUNT OF new business to your company.

There are lots of ways to start. Create more engaging content and serve it up to people where they want it. Set up more landing pages to secure their contact details and to start a conversation. Run pay per click campaigns with time sensitive offers. Speak at events and again make exclusive offers.

But starting isn’t enough. What do these new customers look like? Where are they? What are they in the business of? What problems do they have? Why should they buy from you? What is it going to take to convince them to give you a shot?

Winning new clients takes diligence and commitment to that fixed end point ensuring every task you undertake along the way gets you closer to where you want to be.

2. You want a new job.

You could register with recruitment agents. Apply for positions you see advertised. Ask your connections for referrals.

But that will only get you so far too. Think about what you enjoy, what you’re good at, what you have demonstrable experience in and look to match. Identify companies you want to work for and approach them.

Remember, your honed and relevant CV sent direct offers a 20% saving in recruitment fees to the potential hirer and could well get you through the door.

3. You want to lose weight this year.

Joining the gym is one way. Going regularly is another. You could go further by disrupting your training by doing different things every day. Stepping away from the biscuit tin or the liquor shelf another.

So when setting goals for the long term, think through the incremental steps, the why, when and how? Break your progress down into achievable steps.

Being better than last year means taking a leap of faith today, and everyday. It starts right here, right now. Are you with me?

A marathon, not a sprint

I’m in training for the London Marathon on 17th April, 2011.

This involves getting up early three mornings a week, running before my kids wake up, and before a long day of work, and then running an ever longer circuit each weekend.

A sixteen week lead-in doesn’t give much time to go from comfortably running 10k’s to completing the world’s most prestigious 40k. (I blame adidas for giving me a free competition place – after I thought I’d failed to make it this year!)

What is critical is ensuring the body and mind are in the best position possible come race day. A former client and marathon runner once told me that completing a marathon is in the mind, not the legs, so hiding behind the excuse of ‘not having the legs to run a marathon’ is a mute point.

That said, I’m taking the time to steadily increase stamina and distance covered so my body is ready for the demands it will be put to, and am also concentrating on the important nutritional aspects to ensure it is given the best chance of success in terms of preparedness and recovery. All with an end goal, and target finish time, in mind.

This got me thinking about business. How many companies actually have long term objectives in place when putting their promotional marketing campaigns together. Sure, campaign objectives will be set, conversion metrics measured, sales and profitability analysed.

But where is your company headed? What does it look like in three years time? What are you selling? Who are your customers? Who is working for you? Do they know where you’re headed and what it looks like? Do you have an exit plan?

If not why not? Business is a marathon not a sprint, and having that clear end goal in mind keeps you focused on doing the things required to move closer and closer to achieving it.

Image: The Telegraph