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Make your list, check it twice! Keys to effective goal setting.

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As of this writing, there are only 10 days left until the beginning of 2015.  I thought it would be appropriate to write about goal setting and doing it effective!

Back when I was running stores, at the beginning of each year I would write down my goals for my business.  I’m horrible at handwriting so naturally I would type them, print them out, and file them in a place that would force me to look at them very often.  Personally, I would have these goals too.  We call them New Years resolutions.  However New Years resolutions have become something that we almost always abandon within the first two or three months of the new year.  Follow these 5 steps to insure that you don’t abandon your goals and most importantly, that you achieve what you have set out to do!

1.  Must be in writing.

We used to have a saying around the office that if its not in writing is doesn’t exist.  Think about this; each time we are doing something important like buying a house, leasing a building, or signing a contract it is in writing.  We even say things like, “Wow I can believe they agreed to do that, you better get it in writing!”  We have placed a significance in having things in writing for them to be valid.  Goals must be in writing. Remember, if its not in writing is doesn’t exist!

2.  It must be yours.

The goal must be yours.  Your spouse, your parents, your girlfriend all want good things for you too.  However your goals need to be yours, not what someone else wants for you.  Take ownership of your own goals and they will be powerful.  You won’t have passion in achieving someone else’s goal they have set for you.  Don’t be shy, write YOUR goals down!

3.  It must be specific.

Don’t be vague.  Write down specific goals.  This will not only help you achieve your goals it will also keep you from getting overwhelmed by a vague target.  Sometimes we even set bite sized goals that are all part of achieving one big goal.  Its ok, but be very specific when writing down YOUR goals.

4.  Set a time limit.

A self imposed deadline is key to achieving your goals.  Be reasonable, but set a deadline.  Example –  I want to open a new location by June 30th.  Or, I want to have that credit card paid off by July 7th.  If you just simply say you want to payoff your credit card, you might eventually reach your goal, but setting a time limit will put that goal into action, mentally, so that you can charge forward and cross that one off your list within the time frame you have set.

5.  Must be measurable.

Probably the most important, next to having the goal in writing.  Goals have to be specific, in writing, yours, have a time limit and they must be measurable.  I want to increase revenue 20%.  I want to lose weight is not acceptable.  I want to lose 30 pounds is measurable.  Give yourself a measuring stick so you can measure the progress!  You can’t win if you don’t keep score, again be reasonable but also be aggressive with your measurable goal!


Back in the cell phone days our management team implemented this 5 step process at the beginning of each month with our front line team members.  This was an interesting approach that deviates from the typical business model of telling your team how much production you need from them, we asked them what they thought they could do in sales for the upcoming month.  Once this process was completed, our team member provided projections were recorded electronically so that the whole company could see what each others goals were.  Interestingly enough, those projections were almost always MORE than what our company projections would have been if the management team was setting the goals without the team members input.  Amazing things started to happen; because these individual goals were in writing, and because they were set by the team member, not by me or management, and because they were specific, measurable, and had a time limit we had team members winning each month!

This is one real life business example of setting goals.  Goal setting works, if done correctly.  My favorite quote of all time derives from goal setting- “You hit what you aim at, and if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time!” – Zig Ziglar

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Less than 75 days till Christmas! How’s your budget?

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I love Christmas, it my favorite time of year!  The holidays in general, great time spent together with friends and family.  Also great weather!  I am naturally a cold weather person so the winter is my favorite time of year.  Don’t get me wrong by March I’m looking forward to those hot summer days but like I always say, you can also put more clothes on but  you can only take so many off!

Every year my family decides that we are going to draw names to determine who buys who a Christmas gift.  However by the time the big day arrives, usually one or many of us have purchased gifts for all the kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews and anyone else I’ve left out.  The December budget seems to be the hardest budget to do at the Davis household.  If you are doing a budget and doing one correctly,  you need to be doing one each month.  That means in December you must budget for gifts.  Not that I don’t want or enjoy giving gifts what enjoy the least is going over budget!  Also for us, and maybe you too, our utilities seems to be the highest in December!  Here are a few tips to help you stay within your budget during the Christmas season:

1.  Shop the deals.

Looking for deals in the local paper and online is key this time of year.  I come from retail and love it.  The most fun retail months are November (Black Friday) and December.  Retailers are forced to be competitive this time of year so take advantage of that!  Also, don’t forget the online stores who are chomping at the bit to get your business.

2.  Make a list.  (check it twice)

When holiday shopping make a list.  Have the discipline to get only what is on your list.  Guys are really good at this!  Most guys, myself included, have zero interest in “shopping” at the mall.  If you have a list, you know exactly what you are going in the store after and somewhat of an idea of what it cost.  That way its easy to budget!  Remember, the goal here is stay within your budget and not have regret about buying things that you really can’t afford.  If you overspend it kind of takes the joy out of the season.

3.  Stay away from plastic.

I have several friends who use plastic for the “points” or “rewards”.  Using a credit card can be very dangerous especially at Christmas time.  I don’t need to put all my expenses on a credit card so that I  can spend $100,000 to get a free airline ticket.  I don’t really care if I earn “cashback” on purchases that I “would be buying anyway”.  What’s in your wallet?  CASH!!  Budget what you are going to spend and withdrawal that as cash and leave the cards at home.  Frankly, the only plastic you should have is a debit card, but leave that at home too!  I was at a retail store the other day and my purchase was $4.64.  I immediately reached for my debit card not even thinking about the $20 bill that I had in my other pocket.  We have become a plastic society and cash is almost obsolete for some of us.  I remember when I was a kid and just got my license.  I also remember paying $.99 for fuel!!  Ok, I’m not that old but still, we didn’t really have debit cards.  We had cash.  And if you had no cash, you didn’t buy anything!  This works for staying on a budget.  My wife still pulls out enough cash to cover our food budget each month.  Once the cash is gone, we have hit our budget!

Following these points will help keep you in the Christmas spirit.  It will also keep you from having regret in the new year!

Resources: 48 Days!

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