If there is one time of year I can really switch off it is Christmas.  I mean mentally switch off.  Clearly there is little physical switching off when you have children and house guests and their dogs.  In fact, I was thinking to myself at 5pm one day when I had not stopped cooking, cleaning, tidying, sorting etc. ‘How the hell do I run a business normally and fit all this stuff in?’

But it’s that MENTAL space – the headspace – I am referring to and which is sooo vital. 

When it comes to New Years there are always plans, or resolutions to come up with.  Many of them never happen and we will come to why that is shortly, but without that headspace of Christmas, they wouldn’t happen at all.  Because our heads would be too full to have any clarity around goals. 

And it made me realise that one of my goals for 2017 must be….having enough headspace on a regular basis. 

You see, I love being busy.  Perhaps you, like me,  love having ‘too much’ to do.  However,  maybe there are times when you feel a bit of overwhelm?  Perhaps sometimes you get to the end of the day, having literally not stopped, and wonder what on earth you have been doing? Those are the times when you have not had enough ‘headspace’.  When you haven’t clearly planned your day or week, month or year, you can run busily around doing lots of stuff and achieving little. 

Now, we did achieve a lot in 2016 – 400% growth can’t be bad.  However, this year we need to be a bit more planned and not just run at 100 miles an hour towards every goal.  So I need to create the space for sticking my head above the parapet on a regular basis and reviewing and adjusting our goals. 

And to get back to the question of why most goals/New Years resolutions etc. are not achieved, the answer is – because the goals were not right in the first place. 

You might find it interesting, as I do, that most people are not very good at coming up with (the right) goals.  The reason that most New Year resolutions fail is the same reason that most business goals fail.  It isn’t because people haven’t worked hard enough (well sometimes that is part of it).  It isn’t that the goals are unachievable, because in most cases, they are perfectly achievable.   No, the reason most goals or New Year resolutions fail is because the goals are not right.

When I say not right, I mean not the right goal for that person or business at that time.  They are therefore not committed to achieving them.  Conversely when you have the right goals, ones which you feel passionately about, then it is actually pretty hard to miss. 

You may have already set your goals for the year.  But if you haven’t and you want my best tip on how to decide what your goals should be, then think about how you want to feel.  It is a bit like sales – if the sales person / advert / product on the shelf appeals to your emotions then you will buy it. 

If you try the dress on and you look FAB, it doesn’t matter if the dress is £50 more than you planned to spend, you will find some ‘logic’ to justify it to yourself.  You will tell yourself that you will get a lot of wear out of it, that it will do for summer or winter, that you have so many accessories that will go with it that you don’t need to spend any money on buying a new necklace and shoes, and that makes the dress good value.  It you WANT it – you will make it happen.

On the other hand, if you are NOT bought in emotionally, it doesn’t matter how logical and achievable the goal, you will not be committed to it and therefore it probably won’t happen.

So, don’t start with the goal.  Don’t start with the figures.  Don’t start with – “well we did 500k turnover last year and so we should go for 600k this year”.  Start with how you want to feel when you look back at 2017 this time next year. 

If you want to feel accomplished – what will make you feel accomplished? Getting your first book published?  Taking a qualification?  If you want to feel you have developed as a person what will make you feel that? Learning a new skill?  Volunteering?   If you want to feel excited – what would need to have happened to make you feel excited.  Planning a trip to Kilamanjaro?  Training for a marathon? Taking your business to IPO?

If you can start with the emotion and then put the goal around it – that will make it much more likely to happen. 

Good Luck with that – and remember – if you need any help with your business growth goals – we offer 3 free strategy sessions a month.  We can look at your people strategy, your recruitment strategy, your social media and marketing strategy or anything else you want to pick my brain about.   This month’s slots are all gone but get your name down for next month, if you want to borrow my brain for half an hour!  Email me at [email protected]