10 Steps to kickstart your business

When you first get an idea for running a business sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start.  Often people will gather as much information as possible and then find it impossible to translate the piles of guides and advice into a workable plan. This can really batter confidence and some people at this stage, feel like giving up before they’ve even started.

So here’s some tips to get you started – so you can give your business the kickstart it needs:

  1. Be Clear on Your Vision

As a Business Coach I support lots of women at the start up phase of their business and it never eases to amaze me how many people don’t have a clear vision for their business.  Often when I ask a client what their vision is I get the response, “I just want to sell my jewellery (or cards / make-up / training services etc)”.

If you want a viable business you really need to be clear about what your vision is.  What is your business going to look like in the next 3-5 years?  How big is is going to be?  What turnover and profit do you need?  What hours do you want to be working?  Who do you want to be working with?

Spend some time really thinking about what you want.  Often developing a vision board can help with this as you create on paper the life that you want to lead.  It really helps you to create clarity and focus about what you want to achieve – and that way, you have a starting point for developing a real plan.

 

  1. Have a Plan

Now you know what your vision is, it’s time to create a plan.  I often say to my clients that you wouldn’t get in the care and drive without knowing where you are going.  Treat your business in exactly the same way.  Your vision is your destination (although don’t think of it as your final destination – you need to continually evolve if you are serious about growing your business) and once you are clear on this you can develop your roadmap on how to get there (your plan)!

If you know you want to earn £X per year, then you need to consider how much turnover you need (pre-expenses) to achieve this; and just how many paying clients or customers you need to cover this.  Set out your plan for how you are going to achieve this (the information below will really help you) and break your targets down into manageable chunks: if you need 200 sales per year – how many do you need per month / week / day?  Also consider whether your product is seasonal – you may need more sales in the summer or at

Christmas and expect a smaller amount the rest of the year.  Either way, you should know EXACTLY when you need to achieve your sales and plan to make sure that happens.

 

  1. Identify Your IC

You need to identify who your Ideal Client (IC) is.  Someone out there needs to purchase your products or services, so it is essential that in order for you to build up trust with them – that you can speak directly to them.  I do not mean this in the literal sense (although in some cases you may), what I mean is, that you marketing has to come across as if you understand them and are speaking directly to that person.

Of course, your IC will depend on what you are selling.  If you make and sell premium, vegan make-up products your target audience might be women of a certain age, with a high disposable income who ethically minded to think about where their products come from.  If you are selling HR services you may want to target owners of growing businesses who are not big enough to have in-house services but still have HR needs.

Think about your products and who is your ideal customer. This of course, does not exclude others from buying, but it will ensure that you can develop a strategy for targeting and identifying with your ideal market.

 

  1. Identify How You Can Help

Once you have figured out who you want to work with, you need to work out what their particular problem is that you can help them with.

Think about what keeps that person awake at night.  What are their top frustrations? What is stopping them being happy?

If a person has a genuine problem – then they have a motivation to buy if you can offer a solution.

In the examples above, a woman might have difficulty finding brands of make-up that make her skin feel amazing but have no animal products.  A business owner might be wanting to take the next step in growing their business but nervous of the HR implications of having staff.  These are real life problems (albeit first world problems).

If you can identify your IC’s problem – then you have identified why they will be willing to pay for your products.

 

  1. Construct Your Solution

Ok, so now you have identified who you want to work with and what their problem is – so now you have to present your solution.  This can also form part of your branding if appropriate (i.e., you offer one product which has a clear advantage).

In order to project your solution to your IC, then you really need to think about the opposite to your IC’s problem i.e., how their life will be different (for the better) by having your product.  Focus on the results they will get!

 

In the examples above, if you focus on selling the ethical benefits of your make-up, you may make a few sales but there are loads of make-up companies out there that also sell vegan products.  Also people won’t be willing to buy unless they know the make-up is any good.  What makes yours different and what are the benefits?  It might be that your products make your eyelashes look really long or make skin feel really young and soft.  Here you have your real benefits.

The better you can describe the benefits to them, the more likely your IC will buy.  So articulate this really well in all your marketing materials and be consistent.

 

  1. Find Your Market

So you know who your IC is, you know what their problem is and how to communicate your solution to them.  So where do you find them?

Here, you really need to think about where your audience hangs out.  If your target audience is Male Accountants, you wouldn’t expect to find them (or lots of them) at a Zumba class.  So really concentrate on who your IC is, what interests they have, what do they do of an evening.  This will help you formulate where to target your marketing both online and offline.

 

  1. Get Your Message Out There

Now you have to tell people who you are and what you do.  Get the word out there – but make sure you are telling them the benefits, not the process.

Think of all the marketing opportunities you have identified in the steps above and go for it!  If you don’t, you can’t be surprised when nobody buys.

 

  1. Have A Call To Action and Follow Up

It’s great to market and make connections with your IC – but be specific about what they need to do next.

If you have loads of information all over your website about what you offer – make it clear what they have to do next to work with you or buy your products.

If you meet with a potential client and it’s clear you can work together or your product is a great fit with their needs – don’t wait for them to approach you, tell them how they can proceed.

If someone needs time to think, this does not mean that they are not interested.  It means just that: they need more time to consider. It takes trust to buy from someone, and this takes time to build up.  If someone needs time, let them know that you are still there – ask them if there’s anything else they need to know (about you or the products); keep in regular contact so that when they are ready to make that purchase, it is from you!

Don’t lose sales because you are too worried about telling them what they need to do – it is your job to get sales, otherwise your business will fail.

 

  1. Believe and Go For It!

The steps above are easy to map out in principle but I have had many clients fail to put it into practise just because they don’t believe they can do it; or they are leaving money on the table by lacking the confidence to make an offer, or follow up a lead.

These negative beliefs and fears really can hold you back – but only if you let them.  If you have negative beliefs, stop them in their tracks.  Write down positive affirmations and say them to yourself.  If you are worried about making a phone-call to follow up a lead; imagine yourself feeling really confident and making the call with ease and really think about the words you will use.  The more you practise this in your mind, the easier it will be to do – and then it will become normal.

Don’t let your limiting beliefs get in the way of a good plan – go for it!

 

  1. Review

By now you have a clear plan to get out there and have the makings of a brilliant business.  However, another big step is to regularly review how it is going.  Look at your targets and plans at least weekly and consider what has worked well and what hasn’t.  Do more of what works, learn from what doesn’t and adjust your plan to reflect.

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Why a mastermind is good for you and your business

Running Mastermind sessions is a passion of mine.  I love watching a group of people who may not previously know each other form a strong group: challenging each other to get things done, bouncing business ideas around, supporting each other when work feels tough, and celebrating in each others success.

But still a lot of the people I meet in business do not know what a Mastermind is, or how it can help them and their business.

So what is a mastermind?

A Mastermind is a group of people who meet monthly (some meet more regularly or less frequently, but my groups meet monthly) to discuss areas of their business they want to work on.  The aim of the sessions is that everyone gets an opportunity to discuss an area they wish to develop and they are then supported by the rest of the group to create a clear plan on how to deliver.  This is usually achieved through good questioning by the rest of the group and also by the group offering their knowledge and expertise (it’s good to have a group with different skill-sets for this reason).  But of course, having a plan is not enough – the group is also there to hold each other accountable; ensuring that if someone has made a commitment to do something, they do it.

Why is a Mastermind good for you and your business?

1. You will be part of an exclusive community

As part of a mastermind you will become part of an exclusive group. You will meet monthly and you will form strong bonds with the group you are in.  Not only that, mastermind groups are usually formed for their complementing skills.  This means that the group as a whole will be able to problem solve easily, ideas will flow and you will develop amazing action plans that really deliver.

2.  You will have peer support

It can be pretty lonely being a business owner – particularly if you are part of a small business, or work from home.  Having people who in your mastermind who you know are in a similar position and who you can bounce ideas off is great for giving you further sense of purpose and making you feel that you are not alone.

3. You will achieve results – FAST

A huge benefit from having a group of people listening to your work issues, is that you have a range of experience to draw on.  This means that when it comes to finding solutions you will come up with them quickly.  Also you will develop great plans for delivery and have a whole group of people asking about how the work is going.  Therefore, you have accountability – there is no hiding from getting the work done.  Consequently, unless you want to be the one to admit to the rest of the group that you haven’t done what you said you would; you will get your plan delivered – and of course, that means you will get results and much faster than when working on it alone.

4. You will gain confidence

There is nothing like feeling part of a successful community and delivering in your job.  When you feel successful, guess what? Your confidence soars! Who wouldn’t want this?

5. You will grow your network

The mastermind may be small (usually less than 8 people) but you will get to know those people really well and they will become your best supporters.  Therefore, you will be introduced to / recommended to, each of the members networks over time.  Consequently, by being part of the mastermind you will grow your network not just by the number in your group, but you will typically also gain the network of those in your group.  And the best bit is, that a a group you will genuinely want to support and help each other – and that means promoting each others business, which of course, leads to more business.

6. You will meet new people to collaborate with

As a close group who want to support you (and with complementary skills), it is highly likely that members in your group might find ways of collaborating.  You might find someone in the group who is a perfect fit for a project you are working on or you might have the skill that they need.  This will allow you to achieve far more.

 

If you would like to find out more about Mastermind groups or are interested in joining a mastermind in the Somerset / Devon / Dorset area, then contact:               Yvonne@astara-coaching.co.uk for more details.

 

 

 

Why We All Need Heroes

This weekend I took my cricketing-mad son to the Somerset Ground to watch Somerset play Essex, and Charlie’s cricket-hero, Alastair Cook.  Charlie has loved cricket since he was around 18months old, when we used to throw tennis balls gently towards him, while he smashed them with his foam bat.  Over the years, he has progressed to being  a keen member of our local cricket club and avid watcher of any cricket match available.  Inevitably, this has led to him having a cricket hero, Alastair Cook: a left-handed batsman, like himself.

Charlie loved the match and was keen to watch how his idol played.  Knowing that my son would love nothing more than to be a cricketer himself, I asked him whether he thought he could do the same.  He thought for a moment and said, “Yes”.  This then led to me asking him what he would need to do to get there and we had a long conversation about the steps he would need to take, sacrifices he may need to make and how he would feel when he achieved his dream.  He was inspired – and not just inspired by what he saw, he was inspired to take action: the action to jump out of bed early this morning and go for a run (he hates running, but it was part of his plan!).

It made me think how important it is for us to all have heroes in our life.  Our heroes inspire us, give us something to strive for, someone whose behaviour we can model and give us a vision of success.  This helps us to plan what we need to do and most importantly, give us motivation for taking the all-important action.

Looking back, I have had many heroes in my life, ranging from my Mum (whose belief in equality and determination has been my inspiration), to Teachers, work colleagues and well-known Coaches.  All of these heroes have enabled me to form my own vision for my business (and life) and helped me to draw on what’s needed to get there.

Having a hero should not be limited to when you are a child; we all need at least one in our life as they really can make our life better.

 

 

 

 

 

When the plan is no longer the plan

At the beginning of the year I set myself some mini-goals for my own health and development.  I had realised that 2015 had passed in a blink of an eye and whilst I had paid attention to my business, I hadn’t paid attention to me.  So I sat down and had a think about what I could do to increase my health and happiness.  I wrote these down and published them (above) for all to see – as I believe that setting out your intentions, creates accountability and makes people more likely to achieve their goals.

So why am I now here telling you that I haven’t followed the plan?  After all I’m a Coach and I help others to achieve their goals – why haven’t I achieved mine?  Well actually there’s a very good reason for this.  I see it in my clients regularly – and my own example is prime!

Sometimes the plan we set for ourselves evolve; sometimes, what we first thought we wanted, doesn’t turn out to be at all; sometimes the timing is all wrong; and we’re human – and sometimes we change our mind.  This doesn’t mean failure – and let me tell you why…

The plan I set at the beginning of the year, has actually let me understand a lot more about myself.  Putting myself as a focus for a change has allowed me to really understand what I want and what I don’t want.  When I decided to complete a triathlon it was because I wanted to get fit again and I had completed one before – so it was something I knew I could do.   I started my training plan and realised that actually I really love cycling; I also enjoy running – but swimming is something I dread. So I changed the goal – to pick cycling and running events (and possibly a duathlon if I find one) that challenge me.  I’m still fulfilling my overall objective to get fitter – but I’m not making myself stick to the original plan of completing a triathlon.  As a result I am really enjoying my workouts and getting stronger and fitter – and a few weeks ago completed a 60 mile cycle which I never imagined was possible a few months ago (and by the way, that’s a lot further than what was needed on the triathlon!).

I also planned to go to the cinema for myself – really to get me out of the house and do something for me.  Well again, lots of reflection and ‘me time’ has allowed me to understand that whilst I don’t mind going to the cinema, it’s not top of my list.  I have instead been out to dinner with friends and just booked my first ever trip to the ballet – something I am sure I will love.

The rest of the plan  I am pleased to say I have done and as a result I am feeling much more happy, healthy and fulfilled.  But it’s important to understand that plans do not have to be fixed.  In business especially, plans change all the time – we need to adapt to our customer needs; keep competitive with the rest of the market and keep ourselves happy so consequently, we need to adapt.

A good client of mine was recently debating this very thing: she was thinking of making quite a drastic change to her product line.  Her new products would be more profitable, had received good feedback but had alienated a few of her loyal customers of old, and this worried her.  She has since gone on to make this big change to her business and re-launched with her new products.  She now has a client base who she feels is more aligned to her ideal client, she is increasing her sales and profit, but naturally lost a few customers along the way.  Overall though, this has been great for business.

Another client was wondering why her plans for finding new premises weren’t producing anything.  There seemed nothing wrong with the plan – indeed I knew that if she followed it, she would achieve it.  So I knew there was something else: when we discussed it further it transpired that she was nervous about finding new premises as it meant making a huge commitment with her business partner; someone who she felt wasn’t pulling her weight in the business.  It led us to re-evaluate the plan and ensured that the business partner issue was dealt with before a commitment was made to the original plan of finding premises.

As a Coach of course I advocate goal setting, SMART action planning and getting the plan done but if I focused on this alone there would be lots of people achieving things that they then realised they didn’t want.  Paying attention to the plan, how it makes you feel and being adaptable along the way to get what you really want does mean that the plan is not always the end plan – and that’s completely ok.

 

 

 

Why it doesn’t need to be a Marathon

I am always inspired when I watch the London Marathon and yesterday was no exception: I just love watching the runners – all of whom have a different reason for being there; and all putting their heart and soul into it.

For those who don’t know, I have loved running since around the age of 25 when my good friend encouraged me to go along to a running group with her because she didn’t want to be the only newbie (and secretly I am sure it was so she wouldn’t be last either).  I went along and completely surprised myself that I could run for a couple of miles without collapsing in a heap.  This was a massive victory for me since I was always the girl at school who was picked last for teams in every sport.  Finally, it seemed that I had found something that I could do for me – and at a pace that suited me.  Ok, I’d never win any medals, but I was fine with that because I was happy to race for me and the things I needed to beat were the demons in my head and hopefully, my previous best time.

So since then, on and off I have been a runner (breaks for having children, poor weather, and evenings when the glass of wine has won).  I have also more recently decided to start cycling and have set a target for myself to do a Triathlon in September.  It’s not even remotely comparable to a Marathon – the triathlon shouldn’t take more than 1 ¼ hours, so is within the reach of most people.  But it’s still a goal and it’s still important to me.

And of course, whether you are running a Marathon or taking on a smaller challenge, the approach is the same.  It starts with setting a goal, breaking it down into smaller milestones and setting out all the small steps to reach each of those milestones and eventually, the end goal.  This is the approach that I am taking with my Triathlon – and this is the approach that my clients take with their goals: whether it is their goal to build a business from scratch or to get one new customer.

So what I have learned along the way – in my personal life and in coaching my clients, is that the size of the goal doesn’t matter.  If a goal is set, there is usually a good reason for it and it usually represents a stretch for that person (otherwise, they wouldn’t have set it).  Big goal or small, there are usually challenges along the way but each small step will take you towards the finish line.

So for me, whilst one day I’d love to think I could do a marathon (if my knees are up to it), I know that in the meantime my short runs and my triathlon is more than enough.  And for you, regardless of what your goal is, it’s your goal and for every step you take towards it, be proud.

My reason why

For everyone who starts a business, there is a reason why.  For those who start a business where you really need to make a living from it, there is a compelling why.  This reason why is the thing that gets you up in the morning and gets you working towards your goals.  It’s a huge motivator for success – and without a clear why, many businesses fail (or plod along as a hobby, with no real income).

So here I am going to share my story and how I reached my reason why:

Seven years ago I had just returned to work following maternity leave, having had my second child (I have two boys, if you are wondering – Charlie and Jack).  The job was ok, I was working for the NHS as a Director which was great for challenging the brain but required so many hours – and it wasn’t a job I had planned to do, just something I fell into after university and found I was good at, but wasn’t entirely fulfilling.

I used to drop my children to the childminder and then go to work, feeling guilty about not spending time with my children (it was the childminder who first saw my youngest son crawl), about missing out on nursery and school events.  Equally, when I was at home, my head was so full of things that I hadn’t got time to complete at work: I was in a vicious cycle of having Mum guilt at work and work guilt at home – and because of that I never felt fully present, or being able to enjoy the moment (hideous when you have two young gorgeous children who more than deserve that).  That was my first reason why – and still is.

I knew things had to change and so spend loads of time thinking about how I could change my career which would allow me to spend more time with the children (becoming full time care-giver was not an option as I was the main breadwinner). After much thought I knew I wanted to become a Coach, helping others: years before I did a Psychology degree and knew I wanted to help people in the workplace, but didn’t know what that looked like; I had received coaching just a few years before, so really understood the power of it; I loved helping colleagues at work to fulfil their potential and helping others, really felt like the missing piece of the jigsaw for me.  So I trained as a Coach (qualification in coaching, shortly followed by becoming an NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapy Practitioner) alongside a full-time job and being Mum – it was so hard, but felt like a worthwhile sacrifice.  I loved every minute of it, and I knew for sure, that it was the path I was meant to follow.

I continued in my job because as the main earner, I couldn’t just throw it in – I was also stuck in the job because due to my seniority it was argued that I couldn’t be part-time either.  So taking on my new career, even part-time was difficult.   Living my life in a highly demanding job and then coming home to look after the children, clean the house and be the family organiser was exhausting beyond belief.  I was tired all the time and constantly felt ill.  I felt so lucky to have my children, but I felt that I didn’t have any quality of life.

However, I was good at hiding how I felt and was able to project a very ‘in control’ version of me at work.  I used this to my advantage and spoke to HR about supporting others through coaching within the workplace – and that is what I did for several years: coaching people from young, aspiring leaders, to people feeling overwhelmed with workload, to Managing Directors and GP’s taking on new responsibilities.  This gave me the experience and continued enthusiasm to know that this was what I wanted to do.

I then had a breakthrough, which was a restructuring at work – which enabled me to take a redundancy option; giving me money to support my family whilst I set up my coaching business.

So now, I have my amazing business – but I always use my reason ‘why’ as my vision.  For me, my ‘why’ stemmed from what I didn’t want, and by knowing what I didn’t want, it allowed me to describe how I wanted my life to be.

So now my why describes exactly what is important to me: the reason I keep going.  So I have a vision board which includes pictures of my children in a happy home which represents me spending time with them and having work-life balance.  It includes pictures of holidays which represents real quality time away from all work.  It includes me helping others through coaching and providing online programmes – because I know that helping others is important for me and is what makes my job fulfilling.  I have pictures of money because I am still the main earner and it’s important that if I am to have a lifestyle where I get to have holidays with the children and still pay the mortgage that money needs to come freely to me. It also has pictures of me giving back – charity is important to me, so being able to give back (either financially or through my time) is something that I like to do, and aspire to do more of.

This reason why and my compelling vision of what I want my life to be is a great motivator for me – and on days when things don’t go right (yes, I still get them) – all I need to do is remind myself of my end goal (my vision board) and it is enough to me to keep going.  Equally reflecting on how my life used to be, is a great reminder that I never want to be in that situation again.

I am sure my story resonates with many of you – but the good news is, that you are in control of your life and if you set out a compelling vision for yourself, YOU CAN DO IT! Start with your vision and allow the small steps to follow – and no matter, how small those steps are they will move you towards your new life.

What is your purpose?

Today I met my great friend, Vicki for coffee.  It’s something we try to do every month or so within our busy, hectic lives – and really look forward to as it’s great to catch up on our lives and to compare business notes (my friend is a very talented artist).

Well as usual, I was updating my friend on how my coaching business was going and how I had recently been working on some great opt-ins for my website and social media.  Then, Vicki challenged me by saying, “Yvonne, this isn’t what your business is all about.  You are about the fabulous coaching you deliver, about connecting with your clients, about holding their space so they can sort their shit and move forward.  You are personable and have a wealth of coaching skills and you set out to help others.  How are you selling this?”

It stopped me in my tracks. I sat back and realised I had made the exact mistake I warn my clients against.  I had lost focus on my vision, my mission – what I am all about.  I was being swept along by what other people deliver because I had found it useful for my business – but that is not what I am about! I realised that the things that make me and my business unique are becoming lost in the wider information I am getting out there and I need to simplify my message.

Running a business is an evolving journey but it is SO important not to lost sight of what your vision is and who you are. Think about why you are doing it, what your purpose it and what you want to be known for – and revisit that regularly.  Yes, I had a wake-up call today – and yes, I felt very foolish for falling into the trap.  However, I realise I am not infallible, I make mistakes like everyone else but life is a learning experience and it’s never too late to re-focus and move forward.   It’s also a great reminder to always be authentic in what you do and stay true to purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change your thinking and change your life!

I truly believe the power of the mind is a wonderful thing.  Our minds really can take us to success –or it can hold us back, just by what it is telling us.  And what I mean here is, our own internal dialogue (or mind monkeys, as I also like to call them).

For years (through school, university and the first part of my career), I wasn’t confident at all.  I really wanted to be the person who gave their opinion freely, who spoke out at meetings and got credit for the ideas which were going on in my mind.  However, my inner dialogue was completely holding me back.  When I was in meetings, my mind monkeys would be saying, “You can’t say that, they won’t take you seriously”, or “That’s just stating the obvious”.

So I would sit and listen to everyone else come up with ideas.  And sometimes someone else would come up with my idea – and guess, what?  The congratulations would pour in for that person, and I would be left feeling frustrated.

So I knew that I had to change my thinking – because there was nothing wrong with my views or solutions to problems; what was wrong was that I didn’t have the confidence to voice them.  What’s worse is that I knew that this was holding back my career and my future earnings potential.

So I learnt to overcome those mind monkeys – when my inner dialogue said something negative, I challenged it and replaced it with positive thoughts, to drive me forward.  I started making contributions in meetings – and I got recognition, I got respect and I got promoted – a lot!

So are you holding yourself back?  Are you avoiding situations because of your inner dialogue?  If so, change your thinking.  Think of positive thoughts that you can say to yourself – and when those negative thoughts creep in, replace them with your positive thoughts.

Also, just take a couple minutes each day to repeat those positive thoughts to yourself – because the more you say those things, the more your mind will believe it – and if your mind believes it, your actions and success will follow!

How to create a Vision Board!

I talk about vision a lot – it really helps you get focus in all areas of your life and a vision board is a great way to see that vision on a daily basis so you know what you are continually striving for.  A vision board is usually a poster board where you stick (or collage) images or words that you find inspirational and reflect your vision that you have for yourself or business. It should encapsulate both what you want from life and why (what does that get you – your motivation!).

So how do you create a vision board?

There’s no real right or wrong when it comes to vision boards – a vision board is for you and should reflect what you feel.  As a guide however, this is what you might do:

  1. Think about your vision:
    • What are you doing?
    • How much do you earn?
    • Who are you working with?
    • Where are you?
    • What are you working hours?
    • What do you do in your spare time?
    • Where do you live?
    • Who do you live with?
    • Where do you go on holiday?
    • What car are you driving?
    • How do you feel?

These are just some questions – let your imagination do the work.

  1. Find magazine images or print images from the internet which mean something to you in terms of your vision. These can be photo’s, images or words – anything that you find inspirational.  Pile them up!
  1. Lay the images on the board and organise them in whatever way seems right for you – use your intuition, there is no right or wrong. Some people like to organise them into areas such as home, holidays and work and others like to spread the images out in no particular order.  Go with your gut.
  1. Glue the images to the poster when you are happy with how the vision board looks.
  1. Now for the most important bit – hang up your vision board in a prominent place. The board should remind you about what you want from life and that your actions need to be moving you towards this vision.

Have fun!

 

5 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

Do you often set yourself goals or targets and then 6 months later wonder why you are no closer to achieving them?  Do you get fed up with New Year Resolutions that have fizzled out by mid-January?

Now it may not be setting the goals that are to blame.  Here are my tips for ensuring that the goals you set for 2016 get you results!

  1. Make sure it’s something you really want

I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has told me their resolutions for me to say, “Wow, great goal – why have you chosen that?” for them to say something along the lines of, “Hmmm, not sure really – just thought it would be nice to do.”  When that happens, I am 99% certain that their goal will be dust within a month.

If you have a goal it should mean something to you.  Ask yourself how you would feel if you achieved it.  What benefits would it bring you?  What would you get by achieving that?  For those people who are really clear about the reason why it is so important, success usually follows.  Find your reason why!

  1. Make yourself accountable

Keeping your goal to yourself to prevent you feeling stupid in case it fails, is again a good indicator that it might fail.  It shows you doubt yourself and shows that you are not fully signed up to achieving that goal.  Instead make yourself accountable by telling people your intentions.  Tell friends, tell family, post it on Facebook – do whatever it takes to feel that there is no way out of it!  That way, you are much more likely to see it through.

  1. Bite-sized chunks

Sometimes those goals just feel soooo big!  It’s easy then to feel overwhelmed and to feel that you just don’t know where to start – and guess what, often people then never do start.  Break each of your goals down into small bite-sized chunks or sub-goals.  I always try to keep my chunks to tasks which can be completed in less than half an hour – that way, not only does the task never feel too big, but I also can’t put it off due to lack of time!

  1. Set a date

A goal without a deadline is just a dream.  If you set a date the goal needs to be achieved by, it will give you a clear target to work to.  You can also work backwards from this date so you are also clear about when your sub-goals need to be delivered by in order to each your overall goal.  Diarise these dates and get your goal done!

For me, one of my own goals is to complete a triathlon in 2016 (17th September 2016 to be exact).  I know that in order to achieve this I need to start my fitness from January, concentrating first on running and cycling to get good aerobic fitness.  From April I need to introduce swimming and train 4 days per week and introduce specific targets to achieve each component: to be able to run 3Km in 25 minutes; to cycle 15km in 50 minutes and swim 200m in 8 minutes.  I then have reducing targets to achieve over the course of the remaining months and have a plan of putting the whole race together.  The plan is detailed, the plan is specific – with clear dates and actions.  Now you do the same.

  1. Be realistic

There’s no point in setting goals that you just can’t achieve.  It won’t motivate you and you will just set yourself up for failure.

My triathlon dream is just to complete the triathlon – if I set myself the challenge to win it, that would be completely beyond my capability and be pointless.  For me, to complete it is very realistic and achievable and so that it my goal.

For more hints and tips on achieving your goals, getting the right mind-set and more, please visit www.Facebook.com/AstaraLifeandBiz