The quest for self-improvement can have a profound effect on your personal life, your resume writing business, and your overall success. There are several approaches that you can take to reinvigorate your life and career. (And there's been some mention on career association e-lists recently of burnout, so reinvigoration is an important benefit of self-improvement.)
This week, in a series of blog posts, I'm going to highlight four of the most powerful self-improvement tools available. The first is The Power of Effective Goal Setting.
Why Goal Setting?
Goal setting is a learned behavior. By this I mean that — like all behavior modifications, i.e. changing your diet, becoming more positive, increasing your income, etc., it is something that you have to practice and adopt into your daily life, not something that happens overnight.
Step One: Define the Goal
To achieve your goal, you must first set an appropriate goal. What is an appropriate goal, you might ask? Well, first your goal must be specific and quantifiable. For example, "I want to serve more resume clients this month" isn't a quantifiable goal but "I want to work with 15 new clients this month" is. "I want to earn $24,000 this quarter." "I want to launch one new information product this month." If your goals aren't measurable, they are easier to dismiss. This is why so many New Year's resolutions fail. Goals like "I want to lose weight this year" or "I want to earn more money" aren't strong enough to hold yourself accountable, nor do they give you a clear plan of action.
Step Two: Set Yourself Up for Easy Wins (Initially)
When learning to adopt a goal-setting mindset, you should begin with smaller, achievable goals. Sounds silly, right? Why set a goal that is easy to achieve? Because you're establishing a pattern of achievement and success. If you set a goal of "$100,000 in sales for 2013" and your sales last year were $27,000, then you will be setting yourself up for failure, and that's the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish. If, on the other hand, you set your sales goals for $42,000 (or, even better, "Bill $900 in client work next week," then that's a more reasonable goal — and one that you're likely to achieve. (That's three $300 projects, or five $200 projects.)
Small goals = a pattern of success = bigger goals = more success.
Step Three: Put a Date On It
Make your goal time frame short. By this I mean, if it takes six months for you to accomplish your goals, the satisfaction will not be as strong. That's one of the reasons so many programs advertise "Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days." or "Write a Book in a Month." People desire instant gratification. While you are learning your goal-setting and achieving behavior, make the beginning goals happen quickly. "I want 2 new clients this week,"or "I will send a 'how are you doing' email to 20 past clients today."
Step Four: Make Your Plan
Once you've set your goal, plan on how you're going to achieve it. Remember that the shortest point between two distances is a straight line. If you want 2 new customers this week, get on the phone and call 20 past clients or send out an email to your client base with a special promotion that must be redeemed ASAP.
Step Five: Reflect On Your Accomplishments
Lastly, once you've accomplished your goal, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. This is important! If you don't take time to relish the accomplishment, then you're missing a crucial motivator to reach your next goal. Once you've taken a moment to feel pride and accomplishment, set another goal. Don't wait, don't procrastinate, do it while you're still glowing with success.
As you continue this process, you'll establish a pattern of behavior within yourself. You'll see success move into other areas of your life. Goals like, "I want to exercise 3 times this week for 15 minutes," will come naturally to you as your goal-setting behavior gets incorporated into all facets of your life, not just your resume writing business.
"Ready, Set, Goal: Business Planning and Goal Setting For Resume Writers."
SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase the "Ready, Set, Goal" workbook for just $7 from April 2-April 14, 2013. The 50% discount (off the regular price of $14) is automatically applied when you click the "BUY AND DOWNLOAD" button.)
And check out tomorrow's blog post, "How Positive Thinking Can Change Your Life," the second in this series on self-improvement.