It’s that time of year again, the time when we create our New Year’s resolutions. Do you remember what you committed to last January? Was it the additional income you were going to bring in? Were you going to start speaking to promote your book? Create workshops? Write more articles to share?

These are all great ideas, and great commitments to make to yourself and for your business for 2015. The problem is, most people forget their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February, and yes, I am being generous. So how do we change this pattern? First, let go of the resolutions and let’s start by creating some actionable goals. I am going to walk you through 8 simple steps to get your focused and working toward your goals.

Step one is understanding SMART goals:
· SPECIFIC: Is your goal specific? Making more money or growing your business is not a specific goal. Adding $100,000 to your sales is.
· MEASURABLE: Is the goal measurable? There are many measurable goals; time, revenue, frequency, etc.
· ACHIEVABLE: This is where the action plan comes in. Ask yourself, what are you doing differently, that will be the action behind achieving your goal?
· REALISTIC: This is a great opportunity to review your goals with a colleague, or coach to make sure the plans you’ve put in action can and will work.
· TIME-ORIENTED: Your goal must have a deadline. For example, I want to increase my bottom line by $100,000 by May.

Step two is to write your goals down. This theory goes back about 100 years in Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich.” In fact, there have been studies by Harvard University showing the success of writing down your goals. I know when I write them down, I’m closer to successfully achieving them.

Step three is to understand WHY this goal is important to you. There is a great expression that says, “If the why is big enough, you figure out the how.” It was less than a year ago that I was putting two kids through college at the same time. My husband and I committed to pay for their undergraduate education. We did not anticipate $100K a year for the two kids. This was a big WHY, we figured out the HOW, stayed committed and this year, with only one in school, we feel like we are on cruise control.

Step four, there is no magic formula. This is where those excuses and obstacles come into play. There are so many reasons that come up in business about why things did not go a certain way. You cannot turn your excuses into reasons; challenges and obstacles are meant to be navigated.

Step five is to create great habits. If you want to increase your sales, you create great habits around steps to increase your sales. For example, you can commit to doing 5 reach out calls to prospects per day.

Step six is simple, SUPPORT. Don’t do this alone; you do not build a profitable business without support, you cannot grow your business alone; support comes in many fashions, full time, part time, virtual. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success, ask for help.

Step seven, reach a little and impress yourself. One of the early goals that I was trying to reach was a monthly sales goal. I kept trying to reach it and I kept missing it. When I stretched, let go of what was safe, and impressed myself, I achieved it.

Step eight, you need to have a vision. Napoleon Hill says it best, see your goal as if you have already achieved it. Some people create a vision board, some people see how their life will be once they achieve their goals.

For 2015, I encourage you to get specific about what you want in your business, use these steps and create the action plan you need to build your business and live success on your terms.

Ivy Slater is dedicated to helping women business owners achieve their success on their own terms, creating the life they want to live and creating the business that supports their life. For 20 years, Ivy owned a 7-figure printing business New York City, and now Ivy works with women business owners, through coaching, speaking, and her book, “Conquering Your Fear of Money: A Woman’s Guide to Business Success.”

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