How Your New Years Resolution Will Lead You To Failure & What You Can Do To Change This
This is quite a long post, And I’ve formatted it to provide my story with takeaways in each section. If you want the action steps… Scroll to the last part. Enjoy!
If I Stuck with a 2015 New Years Resolution, I’d be dead in a gutter. Maybe not a gutter, but I would NOT be where I am today, that is 100% for sure. December 17th, 2014 was a day I set a resolution, I hit rock bottom and was going nowhere. It was the day I took control of my life and I decided to never be in this miserable place ever again.
My New Years Resolution was to focus on my consulting client (I had one) and newly formed Amazon Business that I had started with a business partner, Cathryn.
This new focus had actually provided me with the ability to leave my day job in January 2015, a perfect way to start the new year, with a fresh slate. Within our first two months our Amazon Business grew to about $9,000 per month, and I had a solid retainer with my consulting client ($3,000 p/m).
Some of you might think this is great… and it was… but if this was the only thing I focused on, it would have ended up not so well. I’ll tell you how focusing on these goals only would wind up a borderline disaster.
The Reality of Year Long Goals
Here is the problem with year long resolutions…
THEY ARE TOO LONG!
When people set these year long goals they procrastinate. Thinking they have a ton of time to put everything in place, and then the end of the year comes and they have not started.
They set a goal, reach it within a few months and don’t expand or grow.
I somehow fell in both categories.
The consulting business was used to “pay the bills” and the Amazon Business was used to build a passive monthly revenue stream.
Turns out, our Amazon $9k p/m was up and down do to our inventory depletion & long shipping times (both of which we figured out, but we were not expecting) It took several months of waiting around to fine tune everything- and if you know anything about Amazon, there’s a lot of hurry up and waiting that happens with this business model.
As for my consulting business, I hit my goal and didn’t decide to look for any new clients. On top of this, my monthly consulting retainer was out of contract only a few month into 2015… not ideal…
If you think you have time to get your goals done, you’re wrong… there is no guarantee that tomorrow will be here. Do everything you can to get to your goal, take the steps, learn something that will get you there, push yourself.
If you hit your goals, don’t plateau, don’t settle; create a new goal and aim for that, and if you hit that, create another one. Set goals that scare you, that test you, that make you stretch.
Fun side note: Raise your hand as high as you can… go ahead and do it, who cares if someone is watching. Do you have it raised? Now that it is raised, I want you to raise it just a little bit higher. Did it go higher?
See, in the beginning I said raise it as high as you can, but you didn’t, you only raised it kinda high. When you really stretched that is where you should set your goals.
Knowing When to Pivot
When you feel like there are too many outside and inside forces effecting you from reaching your goals, you need to make sure one of two things.
1. Is this the resistance?
2. Is this telling me to pivot?
You have to know when to relinquish some of the things you have already invested in. Whether it be a business, project, relationship, job, school, or personal item.
Big example: just because you’ve been with a person for a long time, does not mean you need to stay with them, at your own physical and mental wellbeing & happiness.
Small example: just because you’ve purchased an article of clothing last year and it still has the tag on it, does not mean you need to keep it in your closet for another year
GET RID OF IT!
As for business and entrepreneurship, being pigeon hold into something isn’t a very good feeling, especially when others are relying on you. And I didn’t like what was happening with all the external factors that were coming into play. These were not resistance, which could be mistaken for a pivot. (note: Important to know the difference- find out more about resistance here)
I felt a pivot needed to be made, but didn’t know exactly what it was. I kept my senses up for what was coming.
Takeaways: Know the difference from resistance and something telling you to pivot. The voice in your head that says you can’t do this, that’s resistance. The feeling you have when something stronger is calling you, that is a signal to pivot.
My consulting client was ready to make a their own pivot. And I was told with short notice that they would not continue our contract.
This is the type of pivot that makes you take immediate action. An external pivot.
What did I do- I started to get clients.
I put in a ton of effort to generate as many quality leads as possible. And sure enough.. only a week or two after I started, I had 3 clients on retainer.
Sometimes these external forces make you pivot- and in the long run, they push you to greater heights. In my case, more clients, learning to hire and outsource a team, and focusing on growth.
Takeaway: Use these external forces to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. These are some of the most raw and eye opening pivots that can happen. Take them as they come, but make sure you don’t give up on you’re true mission and goal.
The internal Pivot was literally in my lap. I had created a day planner for myself to keep track of everything I had to do for my consulting business as well as the Amazon business.
I also integrated some lifetime goals I wanted to reach, as well as morning and evening gratitude sections, and I came across many quotes throughout my day, I figured if I saw one I liked I made a spot to write it in as well.
Cathryn Lavery had noticed this day planner and pulled out something that had a similar makeup- daily tasks, goals, gratitude, etc.
Should we create a printed and bound one for ourselves? Should we mass produce this? Should we get peoples’ feedback?
This was the start of The SELF Journal which we started in May.
We launched our project on Kickstarter in August and by September (34 days of campaign time) we had got over 6,000 customers and raised over $322,000 dollars.
Not a bad pivot.
What helped here was that we were already business partners and we knew what each other’s strengths were.
Cathryn- Design & Content; Growth & Marketing for Me.
It was a perfect combo for this new business. On top of this it allows us to help other people we care about. Other people who are right where we were/are. They are us… and we love to help them through our products, services, and messages.
Takeaway: These internal pivots are always for the better. A new product, a new service, a new business all together. They will align you, your team, & customers to their best. It will be a win, win, win all around. It does however mean that something must be given up. In our case… it was our Amazon business… so we could focus all our energy on BestSelf Co.
How to Set 2016 Up For Success
Now you might say, “great.. but how can I know when to pivot?” or “what is the point of setting a goal then”
I’m not saying you should toss your goals aside. No No.
And only you know the right time to pivot.
Here are the steps that I think you should take in order to set goals, achieve them, bail on them, or pivot.
1. Make sure you craft what the end would look like.
When this goal is completed, what does it look like? who is with you? what does it feel like?
Picture what the end result will look like, regardless of what the vehicle is that get’s you there.
2. Do the hard thing
The hardest thing to do is often times the right one. If you need to close up shop, do it. If you need to change your messaging, niche, or your service completely, do it. There may be times that you think to yourself, I must be crazy for doing this… that may be the only right question to ask yourself.
3. Take time to reflect
Most people grind, grind, grind until they get to their goal… but they miss all the Amazing things they pasted along the way because their head was down and they didn’t see them. Make sure you take some time to reflect one where you’ve come, and where you’re going on your way to goal. Who knows, you might see a shortcut.
4. It’s about the process
Setting goals is important. Reaching and striving is a great thing. Constantly pushing yourself to be a better human is important for not only yourself but everyone you encounter. The goal is only one piece of the puzzle. All the other pieces are the road, the journey, the experience, the lessons you learn, and the people you meet along that journey to your goal. Focus on goals that will let you live the richest life possible while getting there. The process is what matters.
Takeaway: When you set your resolution for 2016. Make sure you set yourself up for anything that may come along in your life. Be flexible, listen to your heart, and understand that there are many avenues to the same goal. Just do one thing… try and make yourself better, each and every day.
For more resources on setting shorter term goals, check out these resources here.