Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kick-Start Your Intentions

Happy Post-Holidays!! The 2007 Fall Retail Season is over, and I'm sending out a big thank you to everyone for your support. I am tired, but happy, and really eager to tackle 2008. January is a huge month for intentions, goals, plans. *Intentions* being the key word. We seem to start with the best of intentions, but many of us don't achieve our set goals during the year - often for reasons that WE control.

With that in mind, here are my goals and plans for 2008:

- Narrow the focus. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, I'm aiming for more mastery over less things. That kind of goes along with my "quality over quantity" mantra for my personal life, but for some reason I've not been consistent about applying it to the business. But I've found in recent years that as my focus narrows, I'm better able to perform the tasks I'm good at. The other tasks can be (and often are) outsourced, as time and revenue permits. Don't be afraid to give up some control and hire help if you need it. Doing so will keep you focused on your own skillset of tasks and help you work much more efficiently.

- Set goals and consistently aim to achieve them. When I don't have clearly defined goals, I tend to get lost. And overwhelmed. And wonder what the hell I'm doing. Most of my goals have been very loosely defined, and I think that's caused a lot of trouble mentally and even physically. Working toward clear goals, on the other hand, makes me super-productive, because every morning I know *what* I'm working toward. And I'm a big list girl - I love the satisfaction of checking off "done" tasks. The trick, for me, is to remember to put those tasks in my planner list to begin with.

- Remember to enjoy (schedule it in if you have to!) some personal time. Getting away from the workplace, whether that's in your home or outside of it, reaps major benefits (again, both mentally and physically). You'll come back to your work invigorated and with a fresh perspective. Hang with friends, take an afternoon off and play with the kids, or just spend some quiet time pampering yourself. The rewards are immediate.

Discipline plays a key part in achieving our goals, whether that's to be fitter and healthier, or to be on target for our careers, or to make room for additional personal time. Merriam-Webster initially defines discipline as punishment, and I think most of us view discipline that way. But I like this definition much better:

5 a: control gained by enforcing obedience or order

b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior

c: self-control

So remembering what you want the end result to be, and working every day to achieve that result (practicing self-control), will effect change. Flip it in your mind - it's not a punishment, but a factor for achieving your goals. View discipline as a positive instead of a negative, and you'll be much more likely to *stay* disciplined.

I think the difficulty most of us face - me included! - is that we get mired down with the big picture. We want to make a huge change, and it's overwhelming to be at Point A and see it all the way down at Point F...but once you've taken stock of that and set your daily (or hourly, weekly, whatever time frame works) goals, you just have to focus on the small steps.

By the end of this week, I intend to have a revised business plan written, along with the smaller steps to achieve the goals I set. That means that every morning when I get up, I see that goal in my daily calendar and I am spending time on it - in small increments, because to do it all at once is too overwhelming. And I have a reward in mind for getting it done. I'll post later in the week how it's progressing, and y'all can keep me on track if necessary.

What are your plans and goals for this year? Drop a line if you feel like sharing. I'd love to hear them!


Original post date: 01/03/08

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