by George Hedley
As the year end approaches, you get a little stressed-out over all the commitments you have to accomplish. This added stress and responsibility brings out the worst in your personal relationships, family issues, and business pressures. Plus you know you need to make a list of resolutions you should make to better your life and manage your business or career.
So, why make New Year’s resolutions? Because you can do a better job or become a better person. Right? I am sure you admire another business owner who seems to have it together and generates more business than you do. Or a competitor who seems to get all the good jobs. Or a peer who makes more money than you do. Or a family who looks like they live the perfect life. Or people who’s children graduated from college in four years, got real jobs, support themselves, and didn’t move back home.
How do these business owners or people do it? Where do they find the time and fit everything in: family, business, customers, employees, technology, exercise, personal development, charity work, church activities, investments, and vacations? The answer is simple! They aren’t satisfied with being normal or average. They want more and aren’t afraid of doing something about their future. These successful people actually do something about improving their business, building a balanced life, and living their dreams.
A few simple New Year’s resolutions will help your business and you become better at whatever you want to work on. In other words, by deciding to do something about your situation will make you less like you currently are, and take you to a better place! I know what you’re thinking: “George I would like to be less like me, but New Year’s resolutions never work.” In my life, I have been procrastinating for twenty years to get fit and maintain a healthy weight, until I get my business running perfectly. I always justify I have too much work to do and put business ahead of working out and living a healthy lifestyle. What’s your excuse? When will you get it together? Successful business owners and managers know that growing and thriving businesses are never stationary or in-control.
Don’t feel discouraged as most people have trouble sticking to their resolutions. In January of 2000, I did a study of 500 small business owners and managers. I monitored their New Year’s resolutions and discovered after one week, 90% of them had forgotten what their resolutions were. And the 10% remaining remembered their resolutions, but were waiting to start until they had more time! People are surprisingly good at making excuses and rationalizing almost anything. It’s okay to slip up once in a while, but don’t make it a habit, or stop trying just because you got busy or stressed out.
Could you imagine a professional football coach starting the season without a written plan and specific goals to win more games than they did last year? Of course not! A great coach always takes a look at their strengths and weaknesses after the season ends to determine what it will take to do better next year. As a business owner, manager, or employee, this process of assessment and improvement is a necessary factor in achieving the goals you want in your business or career. And as an individual, spouse, parent, or friend, you also need to take a look at how your live your life and what needs adjusting. A year end review and goal setting session will get you started off towards new targets with a renewed spirit of excitement.
If you’re like most people, you don’t make new years resolutions. You figure, why waste your time committing to something you’ll never do. But, I bet you really want to change something in your business or personal life. Maybe you want to get more organized, spend more time with your loved ones, get started living more healthy, take more time off from work, delegate more tasks to your employees, find someone to help you at the office, get rid of a bad customer or troublesome employee, seek new business opportunities, or start looking for ways to build some wealth. Whatever you want, you’ll never get it without taking the first step.
The majority of people tend to postpone going for what they want their entire life. They let circumstances keep them stuck in the same place. Ask yourself:
What do I want?
What do I want to change?
What do I want to do different?
What can I do now to make a difference?
People who write down their goals and desires achieve them. Those who don’t take the time to write down and identify what they want, never make their dreams a priority and go through life searching for success. What you see yourself achieving is what you will achieve. Every time I have a target or goal written down, I stay focused on doing what it takes to make it become a reality. Take a look at these typical “ANTI-Resolutions” and look at what you may want to resolve to do in the coming year:
1. Spend Less Time With Family & Friends!
I know it’s easier to do what you’ve always done and hope things get better. So continue to spend less time with your family and friends and more time at the office. Continue to try to do everything yourself at work, stop delegating, make every decision, and stay at work late so you miss your Son’s football game. Continue to operate without a strong management team that’s empowered to make decisions without your approval. This guarantees you don’t have time to buy your spouse flowers on your anniversary. I know you have a legitimate excuse for spending less time with your family and friends. You are waiting for your workload to slow down. Or you are waiting until you pick up a more work. Then you promise to spend more time with your family and friends.
This popular resolution is made by 50% of people every year. But most never achieve it. Why? They don’t make their dreams specific and write them down. To achieve your goal of spending more time with loved ones, you must make an actual commitment and write it in your calendar six months in advance with permanent ink. One method to insure you do it, is to buy tickets. For example, buy tickets to your local professional football or baseball team for the season and commit to take your family and friends to the games. Join a private golf or tennis club and commit to play every week with your spouse, children, or friends. Get tickets to the symphony and commit to take your spouse to dinner and the concert.
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of most business owners and managers, it is no wonder that ‘enjoy life more & take more vacations’ is also become a popular resolution. Get hotel reservations and airplane tickets one year in advance of your next vacation to make sure you do what you want to do. And don’t take your cell phone or computer!
2. Stop Your Fitness Program!
After all, too much exercise can be bad for your health. Plus if you don’t workout today, you’ll be more rested tomorrow and then can workout even harder. Working out also reduces your ability to be at work more hours, take on more responsibilities, and make more money! So, when you finally make enough money, then you can afford to buy some workout clothes that make you look fit, join a gym, and get on a program.
I belong to a country club that has a great health club and workout facility. When I go there early, I always see several very successful business owners working out every morning. How do they make time to exercise? They have determined fitness benefits their performance at work and home. After their workouts, they go to the office around 8:00 am or 9:00 am. You could never do that, right? Why? Commitment to your health is second to being the first to arrive at the office to get everyone scheduled for the day. And the health of your company is dependent on you getting to work first and leaving last. Besides, to set an example, you must work more hours than anyone else in your company! I guarantee your company could not live without you for an hour or two every morning while you were exercising.
Regular exercise has been associated with more health and lifestyle benefits than anything else, except air! It reduces the risk of cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy, gives you a positive attitude, and makes you feel better so you can be more productive. Even Presidents Bush and Obama have enough time to workout every day. What’s your excuse? Is your daily life busier and business commitments more intense than the President of the United States?
What about the fitness of your company as well? Are you also examining what needs to improve, where you need to trim the fat, or what areas need to get fit? Look at your business fitness goals for the next 12 months. Think about your future and imagine what you want to be different or better one year from now. Consider these following areas you may want to improve:
__ Customers __ Personnel
__ Management team __ Training
__ Quality workmanship __ Service
__ Scheduling __ Sales
__ Marketing __ Estimating
__ Engineering __ Technology
__ Subcontractors __ Suppliers
__ Job Profit __ Productivity
__ Company profit __ Company equity
__ Reduce debt __ Financial systems
__ Operational systems __ Field systems
__ Project management __ Equipment
__ Banking __ Bonding
__ Insurance __ Your paycheck
__ Investments __ Time off
__ Fun __ Other
As you consider each business fitness area above, think about what is working well and what might need improvement. For example:
- Do you have a customer you want to fire?
- Where are you wasting money?
- How can you be more efficient?
- What improvement areas are needed with your staff?
- Do you have a void in your management team?
- Do you need to develop a better banking relationship?
- Is there a faster way to complete your projects?
- What can you delegate and let go of?
- How many hours do you want to work?
- How much money do you want to make?
- Do you want to seek investment opportunities?
- What should you stop doing?
- What should you start doing differently?
3. Gain 175 Pounds!
After all, skinny kids look worse than heavy ones. Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight by studies. So it’s not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are important factors in sticking with a weight loss program. My problem is that I keep forgetting I gave up sweets for 2009. So when I’m out to dinner with friends and they order desert, I don’t want to make them feel bad by turning down desert as well.
In your business, where should you add some weight to lessen your load? Perhaps you need to add a professional office manager, accounting manager, project manager, estimator, or field superintendent. When you add a real pro who can help take some of your workload, you’ll be able to focus on the priorities that will increase your sales and improve your bottom-line. Decide what area you need the most help. Bite the bullet and find the best manager available to help you.
4. Spend More Than You Make!
Live way, way, wayyyy beyond your means is the new normal in business and personal life. The younger generation is entitled to have it all before they earn it. Who could image living without the latest iPhone, or laptop computer, or a new car to drive. The point is to have enough income so you can buy a bigger house, drive a faster car, and own a bigger boat or motor home. You also must eat out every night and rent a tiny cool apartment in the hippest part of town. After all, a dollar borrowed, spends the same as a dollar earned!
In your business, if you can’t afford a new backhoe, lease one or two or a whole fleet. This will force you to hire a mechanic, buy a service vehicle, and rent a bigger yard to house all of your equipment. This way you’ll have to work real hard to make the payments and cover your monthly overhead, if work doesn’t come in as expected. And the new economic stimulus will hopefully provide enough opportunities for you to keep your fleet working at least some of the time! Investments, getting out of debt, or a savings account. Who needs them. I’ll wait until I can afford to save and invest.
A positive New Year’s resolution is to get a handle on your personal and business finances. As you have heard me say many times, you must know your numbers to grow your business and make a profit. Many years ago, I made a resolution to live the ‘GOOD’ life (Get Out Of Debt!) When your debt is shrinking, your savings growing, and your investments pay the bills every month, you can make good decisions about your future. When you are strapped, you make desperate decisions and often make poor choices just to keep afloat.
5. Get Completely Stressed and Out Of Control!
Stress is a good thing to have. When you’re stressed, you wake up at night and make those valuable lists that help your business and personal life become better. Stress helps you multi-task and never be in control. Besides, if you get in control, you can’t get enough things done in a day. So sweat the small things, take care of every detail yourself, and worry about all those little things you don’t have control over.
In business, only a few things are worth stressing over. What are your top three priorities in your company? I suggest the only things business owners need to stress about are sales, revenue, and customers. When you have enough sales and customers, the rest can sort itself out with good systems and people. How many more hours will you dedicate to your top three priorities over the next year?
6. Keep Doing What You’ve Always Done!
When you learn new ideas, you don’t have enough time to do all the things you’ve learned. So not learning new things is a great way to get by in life. Read less books and stop trying to improve. Besides, too much learning can really wreck your head. I suggest you watch more television as an alternative solution to your predicament.
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to start new initiatives, most are not equipped to actually make them happen. People who don’t commit to written resolutions or goals, continue doing things the same way. They get trapped in what I call the “un-comfortable” zone. They know they want to break out of their situation by doing something different, but don’t. They live with continuous dull pain, stress, and discomfort rather than do something new, exciting, or different. People get used to their situation and stop trying to better themselves. They make excuses like: ‘I don’t have time right now to make changes,’ ‘I’ll start in a few months,’ ‘I’ll wait until after the elections,’ ‘I’d better not do anything different now until the economy gets better,’ or ‘I don’t have enough resources to try new things.’ You can find the time if you really want to achieve your goals. What do you want, dull pain or positive results?
Rate each area you identified as a wish or resolution on a priority scale. Rank the top priorities an “A”, the next level priorities a “B” and the least priority items a “C”. Now rank each category from the most important priority to the least important in descending order. Your ultimate challenge is to identify three or four areas you want to focus your energy on over the next year. I personally can only work on three or four things at once. Any more targets or goals are what I call “goal overload!”
Write it now!
Now for the fun part. Write down your new years resolutions for the next year. First, write down the one HUGE thing you want to accomplish this coming year. Next, write down 3 goals you want to achieve in the next 12 months and how to achieve them. Be sure to be specific and make your targets measurable. For example: a target to add more customers is not a goal. A goal to add 5 new customers averaging $100,000 per year each in contracts is a clear target to aim at. Next give each goal a deadline. For example: we will add one new customer every 2 months for the next 10 months starting January.
My Huge Target: _____________________________________
Goal #1: _____________________________________
Goal #2: _____________________________________
Goal #3: _____________________________________
Keep your goals in front of you so you can refer to them often. Post them on your office wall for all to see. Also put them in your day-timer and another copy in your wallet where you can look at them daily. When you see targets in writing, you stay focused and constantly think of action plans and steps to achieve what you want. When you don’t have written targets, you tend to go with the flow and let non-important activities become your priority and fill your day. By using the year end as a trigger to sit down and write out your goals and identify New Years resolutions, your future will become what you want it to be. Don’t wait another year to identify what you want. The clock is ticking!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
George Hedley is the best-selling author of “Get Your Business to Work!” As an entrepreneur, popular speaker and business coach, he helps business owners build profitable companies. E-mail: email@example.com to request your free copy of “$ure $trategies To $urvive A $lowdown!” or sign up for his free monthly e-newsletter. To hire George, attend his “Profit-Builder Circle” academy or be a part of an “Executive Roundtable Group” call 800-851-8553 or visit www.hardhatpresentations.com.
George Hedley HARDHAT Presentations
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.hardhatpresentations.com
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