When’s the best time to start establishing your goals for the coming year? Do you wait until January to sit down, review the past year and start setting new goals?
You could, but you might be at least one month behind other top performers.
I was taught something very powerful by a mentor and have considered it a major contributor to my success, it’s a process called, Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust (PDCA). This isn’t something that should only be done once a year, but rather as often as needed.
Here’s what you do…
The process works like this, first you find an area you want to improve, or a new goal you want to accomplish.
It’s not enough to just say you’re going to do this or that, second step, you need to establish a plan of how you will do it and define a reason why!
Set the date by which you would like to accomplish the thing, and create a detailed strategy. What would you like to achieve monthly, what can you do weekly to achieve the monthly goals, and what do you need to do daily to achieve the weekly goals. You will need to have a clear plan to ensure you reach your goal.
The third step, is probably the easiest, you have to do the work. Most people will skip the evaluation and the planning stage and will just start doing. But because there’s no real plan or meaning behind the work, it doesn’t last.
Now the check step, which is critical to success. At the end of each day, review your doing, did you do what was required or did you fall short. If you fell short, no problem, as long as you use that failure to help increase your chances of success the next day, the adjust (final) step. Be sure to repeat the check step each week and each month.
If you’re not using your failures to help you improve your efforts, you’ll give up on your goals because you will consistently see failure and thus start to feel like a failure.
However, when you adjust your plan for the next day/week/month, and you see small improvements or successes you begin to feel great about your efforts and have increased determination to keep working toward your goals.
I’d like to share how I use this process at the end of each year to help me prepare and establish goals for the coming year.
How to PDCA for 2016
I spend ample time reviewing the entire year. Which means evaluating the goals I created the previous December, looking over a Profit and Loss statement for the year and for each month, evaluating relationships (wife, kids, team, etc), reviewing my health, and the list can go on.
The key to making the coming year more successful is in the check and adjust steps. Because I checked on every goal and my results pertaining to the goal I can see exactly where I need to adjust and what changes I can make to get more predictable results.
Instead of “New Years Resolutions”, I want to encourage you to call them “Resolutions for Life”, and establish one for each area of your life.
There is something negative, whether conscious our subconscious, about the term “New Years Resolutions”, and probably because most people fail to arrive at their decided resolutions.
Focus on 8 areas of life
After reading the book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I decided that I need to set resolves in life, and I identified eight core areas where I could make improvements.
- Family (broken into two parts, Wife and Kids)
- Fitness (broken into two parts, Mental and Physical)
- Following (Leadership)
Once I had may areas of focus, I took some time to think through each area, and with the help of the book, I was able to create a simple statement for each area that I could work on each day and effectively evaluate my efforts at the end of each day.
Let me share an example with you.
Following: I live each day on purpose, taking time to visualize my future, and use words to inspire others to live their purpose. By doing this, I am becoming a leader others want to follow.
This statement is crafted with the intent of providing specific things I can do to improve where I’m lacking. Which makes it easy fro me to check, and then identify how I can adjust my efforts the next day.
Avoid getting overwhelmed
It’s perfectly okay to work on each of these areas every day, however, to avoid getting overwhelmed and too down on yourself, focus on one area for an entire week at a time.
I learned this form the book. In the book, RESOLVED, the author discusses how Benjamin Franklin, who had 13 resolutions, would focus on one resolve a week. Which allowed him to cycle through them four times per year.
Here’s how I do it.
At the start of each week, Sunday, I decide which of the eight areas I’d like to, or need to, focus on for that week. Sometimes there has been enough, “suggestion” form others that I don’t have to think about it too long.
Side Note: Although I dedicate deliberate focus to one area each week, I still read all eight every morning. I do this for two reasons, 1. it helps me to commit them to memory, and 2. I know that I will be presented with opportunities to grow in each area so I want to be prepared to do my best.
I always reread the weeks resolve after going through all eight.
The first thing I do, once I’ve decided on my resolution for the week, I go to the scriptures to search for examples, and guidance of how I can improve. I try to find at least one good scripture that I can read each day to help strengthen my resolve.
After that I try to look back at the resent past to identify times and situations where I might have been lacking in that area. Then I go through the PDCA process enable me to be deliberate in my efforts throughout the week.
At the end of each day I PDCA, and take a few minutes to record my results. At this time I can clearly see were I did good, and where I completely failed.
When I find a situation where I completely failed, but know I will likely have the opportunity to try again the next day, I create a conscious decision to handle it differently and visualize myself doing it the new and improved me way.
And I do that six times per resolution throughout the year.
Your next steps…
I’ve tried to break this process down for you so that you can get started right away, but if you really want to achieve greater success and achieve more of your goals in the coming year here’s what you need to do:
- Get the RESOLVED home study program so you can learn the details from the expert.
- Watch Brian Tracy’s Goal Setting Webinar (wait for the popup).
- Start thinking through the current year to identify where you should focus your efforts.
- Write out your Resolutions for the coming year (having the book will help tremendously).
- Share this with somebody else who could benefit from planing a better life!