Every year around this time I sit down and work on my goals for the coming year. Not New Year’s Resolutions per say but a handful of things that I plan to do on a regular basis over the course of the year to reach my major goals.
It’s a two-step process.
In accordance with the second of Steven Covey’s famous Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I begin with the end in mind. What are my major goals for 2018?
1 – Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon
The Olympic Triathlon is the official distance run at the Olympic games and is approximately one quarter of an Iron Man. It consists of a 1500 m swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run. World class athletes can generally complete an Olympic Tri in about 2 hours. The world record is 1:39:50, set at the World Championships in Cleveland Ohio in 1996. That record has stood for over 20 years and is the stuff of legend in the Triathlon community. I’ll be happy if I complete my Olympic Tri in under 4 hours.
2 – Finish my Third Book
My first two books came relatively easily to me. I poured a lot of pent up energy into those books. My third effort has been quite a bit harder. I’ve been writing a book on Leadership for about 3 years now and it’s just not working. Probably because I don’t really have a lot of experience in leadership. I’m more the solopreneur type so writing about leadership seems a bit disingenuous. I have several other books sketched out so I’m going to return to my favourite topic – behavioural economics, and work on something along those lines. I’ve also started writing a memoir of sorts, maybe that could be something, we’ll see, keep an eye out here for more information as these projects grow.
3 – Develop the Financial Coaching Aspect of my Practice
The Meekonomics Project, (financial coaching) has been near and dear to my heart and my plans since the very beginning. For the past six years I’ve focussed on building my financial practice along traditional lines, Life Insurance and Investments for the family market, Disability Insurance and Group Health Plans for businesses and business owners. But that’s not where my heart is. I have a passion for the poor, disadvantaged and victims of predatory lenders. The Meekonomics Project is my assault on the PayDay Lending industry and stewardship planning for the working poor.
4 – Grow my practice to $85,000 in gross income
Two years ago, I made $74,000, and I thought I was on my way. The next year I struggled to make $60,000 and this year I will make about $66,000. These past two years have been hard. I made a few mistakes, missed a few opportunities and got drawn off on some tangents. To hit these goals, I need to remain focused and learn to filter out the noise that could pull me off track.
So those are the major goals. But how are we going to get there?
Covey’s third habit is to put first things first. In other words, work backwards from the end goal and figure out what to do next. As a result, I have figured out five daily goals that are going to move me closer to the four major goals every single day.
1 – Go to the Gym for an hour at least 3 days a week
There are several different triathlon training programs on line. Most of them say that you can train for an Olympic Tri in about 10 weeks. They all require at least six days a week in the gym, but I don’t have that kind of time. I’m pretty sure I can modify a program to work over a 3 day cycle and be ready to complete the distance in about 20 weeks. In fact, I’ve been working on this for a few months already and should be ready to complete the distance by April. If I do, great, if not I will save eight months to work on it and hit the goal by the end of the year. I’ll let you know how it goes.
2 – Spend 30 minutes in prayer and meditation every day
Now I know what you’re thinking. Why isn’t this the number one priority? If I was a good Christian boy nothing should take precedence over spending time in prayer, but hear me out.
This list is semi-chronological, and I have learned from experience that if I get up early and do anything other than get out he door and go the gym, it’s not going to happen. Therefore, for the three days that I plan to go and train for the triathlon, nothing else happens until I can check that off the list. That being said; my 30 minutes of prayer is the only thing that I am committing to doing every single day. It keeps me grounded and on point for the rest of the day.
There is a lot more I could say about the importance of connecting with a higher power, however you define it, but I think maybe I’ll save that for another post. For now, I’ll just say this, releasing my stresses and worries to the God of the universe while at the same time expressing my hopes and dreams and confessing my short comings is incredibly relaxing. Starting my day in a state of peace and relaxation is the best way I’ve yet found to remain centered, balanced and calm.
3 – Reach out to 40 Individual Clients and Prospects each work day
Working backwards from my goal of making $85,000 this year I need to make approximately 2 new sales per week. Decades of statistical research in the insurance and investment industry has proven that it takes 5 face-to-face appointments for every sale. Many of those appointments are simple policy reviews and service calls that don’t necessarily lead to anything new and of those that do require additional services it usually takes 3 or 4 meetings to move someone from prospect to client. That means I need at least 10 appointments a week.
The same research has show that it takes approximately 20 client “touches” to book an appointment. Again, many of those touches are simple check in calls or emails that don’t necessarily lead to a meeting right away. All of this to say that I need to reach out to 200 clients and prospects a week to book 10 appointments. Broken down over the course of a 5-day workweek that amounts to 40 unique “touches” per day.
4 – Initiate 5 Cold Introductions to new Prospects each work day
This is the law of attrition. If I’m reaching out to 40 individual clients and prospects each work day it stands to reason that a percentage of those prospects are going to be non-responsive or say they aren’t interested. All that research about the number of sales and the number of meetings also says that a little better than 10% of your prospects will die on the vine. So, to keep the numbers consistent I need to be reaching out to 5 new prospects every day.
5 – Write 500 words or film 2 minutes of video each work day
I’m a writer and writers write, ‘nuff said.
Not everything I write will be worth publishing and not every piece of video I record will make it out of my phone but like training for a triathlon the daily discipline will help to improve the final results and hopefully lead to a lot more content on my blog and another book.
500 words is approximately one typewritten page and takes less than 2 minutes to read, the perfect length for a blog post. 2 minute videos get more views than 20 minute videos. It’s about accessibility, short sweet and too the point, that’s what a blog or vlog should be. Save the longer thoughts and more detailed analysis for the books.
This combination of major goals and daily goals aren’t exactly New Years Resolutions. They are more like an execution plan. I do have a few resolutions tough. These are simple tweaks to my personality designed to boost my productivity, social capital and emotional connections.
1 – Just Do It
Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. If a job takes less than 5 minutes to complete it should be completed immediately. If it takes less than 15 minutes to complete it should be completed by the end of the day. If it takes more than 15 minutes to complete make an appointment to work on it before the end of the week.
2 – Smile
Happy people are proven to be more successful people, especially in sales and customer centric industries like financial services. Even if you don’t feel happy, smiling has been proven to trick your brain into thinking you are happier and so becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Smiling puts people at ease and increases your credibility so that they like you more.
3 – Say Yes as much as possible
Defaulting to yes, even when it’s a yes, but or a yes, and is far better than saying no. In difficult situations, starting with yes makes you appear as though you are a problem solver even when the eventual outcome is not what was originally desired. Saying yes is collaborative, while no is confrontational.
So, there you have it. My goals and resolutions for 2018. What do you think? Do you have goals or resolutions? I’d love to hear them, please comment back.