As you get stuck in to 2015, feeling like time has evaporated and your ‘to-do’ lists from 2014 remain seemingly untouched, the ever dreaded question starts floating around your friendship circles, family and, importantly, workplace!….

“Have you got any New Year’s Resolutions?”

Well… How did I get on with last year’s?… Can I even remember what they were? The truth is quite a difficult admission.

I failed at last year’s resolutions!

Does that mean I achieved nothing in 2014? No. Quite the opposite. But I managed my achievements without a plan, blindly working with a gusto of hope and determination. Which begs the question – how much more could I have achieved if I had set some quality objectives?

Statistics show us that a shocking 92% of New Year’s Resolutions will not be achieved! That’s astonishing! Is it because we are lazy and incapable of making changes in our lives? Is it because we set out to achieve unrealistic targets? The first hurdle to achieving your goals is to simply set objectives. So if you have some in mind then you are off to a good start. The next challenge is to ensure that they are as effective as they can be.

Here are my top 5 tips to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions and making effective objectives.

  1. Don’t generalise.

When it comes to objective setting, the trap we all fall in to is being too vague. “I’d like to earn more money this year” or “I’d like to be more successful at work”. Solid goals are built upon specifics. Make sure you pinpoint the area in which you want to improve and home in on the small changes that will make the biggest differences.

  1. Measure the success.

Now that you have a specific goal in mind, define the success criteria to measure it by. If you want to earn more money – how much? If you want to lose weight – how much? The trick is to ensure that you are permanently conscious of where you are with the goal and how close, or far, you are from achieving it. This will act as a powerful, and focussing, motivator.

  1. Know your limits.

There are two different camps with the achievability of goals and some will tell you to ‘lower the bar’ to give yourself a realistic chance, while others may tell you to ‘reach for the stars’. We are led to believe, by the age old adage, that you are either a ‘glass half full’ or a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person. The reality is that most of us sway between the two and we are driven by very different motivators dependant on situation, circumstance and mood. Be sure to set your sights as high, or as low, as you need to ensure that the motivation is upheld. If high goals excite you, go for it! If achieving lots of smaller targets keeps you going, there is no harm in that either. The important thing is that you set objectives that are right for you.

  1. By when?

Once you have a clear goal, set yourself a deadline. Just because it’s a New YEAR’S resolution doesn’t mean it should take you a year to achieve it. Diarise your milestones and have a clear end date for each of your goals.

  1. Plan the work and work the plan.

The main reason for failed objectives is poor planning. If you have a goal to achieve a target sales revenue, weight loss or business objective, you need to figure out how you will achieve it and ensure that you plan the activity required in to your diary.

Backward planning is a technique we cover within our sales training. If a sales person needs to sign up 10 new customers in Q1, how many proposals, meetings, telephone calls etc. are needed to get there? Using your own analysis you will be able to apply your conversion rate to the calculations and work backwards. E.g. If 1 in 4 proposals sign up, then you need to submit 40 proposals to get your 10 deals. If 50% if your meetings result in a proposal then you need to have 80 meetings.

1 in 3 decision makers you speak to on the phone could agree to a meeting. So you need to speak to 240 decision makers. So that’s where you start. You can then ensure that you diarise the activity that will enable you to achieve your targets.

You cannot be upset at the end of 2015 that you didn’t achieve your objectives because of the work you didn’t do.

So, if you intend to set some resolutions for the New Year, put some thought into ensuring that you are setting yourself effective objectives.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!