The last quarter of the year is the perfect time to plan for the next year if you’re in business and frankly in life. Unfortunately, most businesses wait until it’s too late to plan for the next year. January’s invoices are going out in December. Even worse, most Americans will set New Year Resolutions with no hope of getting these done. The biggest reason for your plans failing is you not necessarily because you failed to plan. Rather, you failed to follow a plan.
Your Goals Are BrokenIn his book, “Atomic Habits”, James Clear says forget about goals and focus on systems. If I was to reword this a bit, I’d say “de-emphasize goals, focus on systems instead.” I think goals are very important, they provide a destination to go to. However, your goals are broken. It’s not what you want to do but WHO do you want to become. For business and life, it’s fine to have mile marker goals such as reaching a certain income or hitting a certain projection. Effective leadership means celebrating wins and you need to have a goal in order to know what a win looks like. However, the best goal setting is when you decide who you want to become. Practically, this means actually defining who you want to be upfront. For business planning, you need to decide what you want your company to be. This can be a great team-building exercise. Answer the question, “Why do we exist?” Doing this kind of work is clarifying and can give you a new sense of freedom. If you want to ensure that you take steps toward your goals, you’ll need to do as Clear suggests, focus on systems.
Develop A SystemA system is simply a plan. It’s the process something gets done. We all use systems to do things. The systems we follow are either by default or by design. Another word for systems could be habits. For example, when you show up to work, you might get a cup of coffee, answer some emails, do an easy task, go to lunch, have meetings, do more emails and then go home. That is a system for your day. Compare to someone, who shows up and has time blocked in the morning for preparation, schedules the hardest task first, doesn’t touch e-mail until after lunch, says no to all meetings except ones that further their job role or is mandatory. Craig Groeschel said in his leadership podcast, “Systems are either tolerated or created.” Can I tell you a secret? Following systems make life much simpler (not easier). For me, a system to communicate (a script) makes social interactions infinitely easier. It sounds complicated. Documenting and dictating your life sounds hard and boring. Just like I talked about in the Financial Rehab series. it’s not just the steps as much as it is about conditional rule sets. One defining question, Does this get me closer to being who I want to be? The answer determines what’s next. If you want to lose weight in 2020, you can’t just say I want to lose weight. You have to have a system in place to follow and you have to be able to ask yourself, “will this food get me closer to my goal? Essentially the system is –
- When you reach a decision point where you have to make a choice
- Ask the question, Does this get me closer to being who I want to be?
- Evaluate the answer, if yes move forward, if no then stop or eliminate the activity
What systems do you need to create in order to have the best 2020?
A System To Say NoEvery time you say yes, you’re actually saying no to something else. Often this has unintended consequences. We say yes too often for good reasons. The reality is though is that keeps us from saying yes later to great things. Ask, Does this get me closer to being who I want to be? If no, then don’t do it. For example, I want to help businesses become more missional. I want to be extremely mission-focused and driven. I also have the opportunity to launch new businesses or help many different types of businesses. With marketing, I can do many different things. At this point, I have to ask, “Does this get me closer to being who I want to be?” While it would be satisfying work to master new technology, it doesn’t bring me closer to my ultimate goal of being on mission. However, if learning that technology could allow me to help businesses become more missional, then it might qualify.
A System To Say “Yes”Every week I have set time where I wake up early to write this blog. I have a bunch of choices of what I could do with this time. I used to say,”yes” to building blogs for businesses. Yes to entertainment and relaxation. Instead, I’m saying yes to writing because that’s where I feel the most alive and the most useful. It means saying no to playing video games and no to reading. Sounds redundant, but the difference between your yes and your no is intentionality. I’m CHOOSING to write. I have to say no to enough things in order to have the option to intentionally choose yes.
A Question For RelationshipsI covered relationships in my blog post about energy. That’s a great reminder of how to evaluate your relationship. At the end of the year it’s definitely time to evaluate the “whos” in your life. God wants to do life with us and He wants us to do life with others. You are who you hang out with. Examine your relationship and ask, Is this person closer to being who I want to be? People that are slightly ahead of you will give you ideas and inspiration to take the next step. Others that are light years ahead of you can often open up new ways of thinking. You might not be able to spend 1 on 1 time with some of these people, but you can read and listen to what they create. And More Questions…
- Questions For Changing Culture – I also wrote about changing corporate or your family’s culture. However, the question remains, Does this activity that is being encouraged bring us closer to being who we want to be?
- Questions For Spending – does this purchase bring me closer to who I want to be?
- Questions For Giving – Is the amount I’m giving to bring me closer to who I want to become? Am I giving to causes that bring me closer to who I want to become?