Okay everyone, let's be real. The first week back in a new year is always... ambitious. We've decided we're going to the gym/spin/yoga class every single day! We really are going to start that diet now! We have a fresh new prospect list or portfolio to tackle!
It's Wednesday or Thursday of week one, and you think, "I think I'm really ahead this time! I'm organized! I'm energized!"
Then something happens. Maybe at the end of week two, or at the beginning of week three.
Yep. You start to get behind, you are starting to get a little tired. Maybe I was aiming too high at the beginning of the year? Three times a week at the gym seems reasonable. Or maybe two. Or hey, if I can make it once, that's better than nothing, right? Traveling is limiting food and activity choices. Prospects start picking up, issues arise with clients, and life begins to re-organize all that organization you once shined like a beacon. And here we are, back to the old familiar again.
What can you do?
Well, you can't really stop life from happening. It just does. How can you keep the resolutions motivation going while still allowing life to take its hairy course?
There are many ways to consciously stay focused on your goals. FastCompany released an article last year that nicely sums up tips to maintaining your motivation throughout the year, not just in January:
1. Make sure you actually want the goal. Don't do it for someone else. Don't do it as a nice to have. Do it because you want to.
2. Keep challenged, but keep it attainable. When you set out to do something like workout seven days a week, is this sustainable and attainable for you? Be realistic about yourself and your personal limits.
3. Willpower can only go so far. If you don't have sheer willpower, use the aid of tools or reminders like apps, checklists or calendars. Observe a daily mental reminder about why you're doing this.
4. Set up smaller goals to attain larger ones. Break up goals into chunks, and celebrate each stage. One goal may be to get X number of appointments. That means setting up appointments. Perhaps set smaller goals for yourself when it comes to setting up appointments. One of my old favorite sales trainings is "Go For No". This training embraces the small wins. In this case, this win is actually a "No". The idea is that you try and get 20 "No"s per day. 20 people to say no to an appointment, 20 people to say no to your product. The 20 "No"s can mean whatever they need to you in your world. Eventually (statistically speaking) you will get a "YES", but the "No"s are fun, smaller goals on the path to achieving your larger goals.
5. Look at Historical Progress. Give yourself credit for how far you've come throughout the year!
6. Create a reward system. It can be a pat on the back, a gift, or anything that will feel rewarding to you.
7. Attach your goal to your identity. "I am the expert on Salesforce." Or, "I value family over my phone," or "I am a yogi," are some examples that can be tied to goals.
8. Find someone to hold you accountable. Have friends, co-workers, your boss, or spouse hold you accountable. Even better, do the goal together and keep each other included and encouraged. Set up a text group, Slack, comment on social media, or check in with each other daily. Peer pressure works.
Finally, if you are a sales leader, this motivation momentum can be carried over to your teams. How can you help to keep your teams motivated? Forbes.com lists six strategies you can implement now to maintain motivation:
1. Set Goals to Create Meaning. Make sure everyone has a stake in the goal.
- Establish what’s expected of them
- Help them visualize what success in their role looks like
- Explain how their contribution makes a difference to the business
2. Celebrate Milestones Big and Small. All milestones count!
Celebrating milestones is also about understanding the challenges your people are facing. When a mini-milestone isn’t met, take the opportunity to see what’s blocking your team’s progress, how it can be overcome, and whether the end-goal needs to be re-assessed.
3. Provide Meaningful Feedback.
Praise is always welcome, but becomes far more meaningful when it is linked to concrete examples. “Great presentation, well done,” is nice feedback to receive, but “Great presentation, your explanation of how this impacts our customer base will help us improve customer loyalty,” pinpoints exactly how someone’s contribution benefits the company. Giving specific, targeted feedback tells your team that you’re paying attention.
The same goes for providing constructive feedback on areas of improvement: keep this feedback personalized and actionable. Consider the golden ratio of 5:1 – if you deliver five positive takeaways to one negative piece of feedback, people won’t feel overwhelmed with criticism.
4. Empower Problem Solving and Learning
Nurturing a culture where problem solving and learning is encouraged means:
- Listening to your team’s ideas
- Embracing their unique skills
- Encouraging self-directed learning
- Allowing them to take ownership of their work
- Creating a safe space where failure is framed as a learning opportunity
5. Follow Through on Promises
Often, employees don’t distinguish between the promises made by a manager and those made by the company, which means losing trust in a manager can mean losing trust in the whole organization.
6. Experiment and Learn
There is no magical, one-size-fits-all formula for keeping employees motivated. Find out what drives eavh member on your team, and align with that.
Staying motivated takes real mental strength, accountability and postivity; encourage and feed it to keep it going the year through, and not just week one in January.
The author used information from the following articles:
8 Ways to Trick Your Brain into Keeping Your New Years Resolutions
Six Strategies to Maintain Employee Motivation