As a new year begins, you may be saying to yourself, “This year is going to be different. This year I’m going to accomplish my goals!” But what will make this year any different from past years? Did you rush in the final weeks of 2014 to attempt to check off some of your annual goals, or did you accept the realization that your goals would just have to wait for a fresh start in 2015? Regardless of your answer, to reach your goals this year, the difference is all in the planning.
Here are four steps to accomplish your “plan A” before you end up defaulting to plan B months from now in an attempt to play catch-up.
1. Map Out the Details of Your Plan
Most advisers create a business plan (let’s call this plan A), but only accomplish a variation or a small percentage of their business plan by year’s end. Why is that? Because most individuals do not compartmentalize their goals down to manageable daily activities. Having an overall vision of success is important, but having tasks broken down into steps that contribute to that vision is a core component in your desire to succeed.
2. Create Your Daily Discipline
Once you know what you need to do on a daily basis, set a consistent time to do it. Take prospecting, for example—to grow your business you must prospect daily to ensure it becomes a daily habit. I recommend you prospect first thing each morning, before interruptions and other items consume your schedule. Reward yourself for accomplishing your daily goals; it will help reinforce your prospecting behavior. It may sound like a silly thing to do, but it truly does have an impact and will make you think before you procrastinate or substitute a task instead.
3. Realize the Domino Effect
As you continue to build your daily discipline, you will notice that your pipeline is filling more steadily, that you are setting more appointments, that you are meeting with more people and closing more business. The more structured and effective your activity, the better your outcomes will be as they pertain to your plan A.
4. Reap What You Sow
As you move through this process, you may encounter setbacks. Be open to making course corrections. If you are sticking to your daily discipline and you are not experiencing a domino effect of success, then it’s time to determine why by identifying your challenges, and finding and mapping out the solutions.
Having a plan of any sort requires planning, and yet so many individuals skip this step and find themselves wondering 12 months later why they couldn’t fulfill their goals; don’t let yourself be one of them as we embark on a new calendar year.
If you’d like help mapping out your 2015 goals, email Melissa Denham, Advisor Solutions’ director of client servicing, at Melissa@advisorsolutionsinc.com to schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session.
Daniel C. Finley
St. Paul, Minn.