Blue Monday: A Chance to Reboot your New Year goals?

You have survived Blue Monday and it was swiftly followed by a snow white Tuesday. The timing of the short snow snap is ideal as you can use that as an indication of a clean slate and set new realistic goals for the year.

Blue Monday is blue for some people because they started the year with well-meaning but possibly unrealistic high goals and are already off target at this stage so they see that as failure and it leads to them giving up.

Well, it should be no big secret by now that the struggle is normal for everyone, the battle in your head is never a one day occurrence, everyone goes off target and everyone needs to readjust to get back onto target, successful people do not see being off target as failure merely feedback. If you feel you are off target already then why not get up, dust yourself off and if the goals are unrealistic, use this as a chance to re-write your goals and break it down into smaller plans and get small wins to keep going.

A successful sporting individual was asking me last week about my goals for the forthcoming year and they then shared their goals with me, they had a list of about 10 specific goals and were not afraid to share them. They said they could not go into this year without clear targets otherwise they would just give up, they could not put in the effort needed without these goals.

Sport, Business, Life they are all the same when it comes to goals. There are some basic rules:

Start with the dream, the big picture, what is it you want to achieve, what is the Big Goal. Questions are a great help here, ask yourself why you want to achieve that as that can help you. Whys are great here to help you break that down into goals. Toyota has a “5 Why” concept to solve a problem where you ask yourself “why” 5 times to drill down to what the real problem is. You can do the same with your goals. Asking yourself why you want to do this helps get clarity on the goal and more importantly when things get tough it helps you remember why you are putting the effort in.

Once the dream is broken down into a specific goal you need a plan of action, then you need effort, then you need to keep checking is what you are doing working and if it’s not then come up with a new plan.

A few tips:- write the goals down, latest statistics suggest you are 42 times more likely to achieve your goal by writing them down. While figuring out specific realistic achievable goals can be difficult it can be fun, you are thinking about the nice stuff. Achieving goals is not easy; there is effort involved and you need to put effort in but effort with clear goals will achieve more than effort with no clear vision. When you are exhausted or hit the mental battle the goal reminds you why you are doing it. The Japanese have a saying “The metal in the anvil wonders why it is getting battered, the finished sword looks back and knows why”

A shared goal is also more likely to be achieved as by telling others you have committed to it. If nothing else the embarrassment of saying you were going to do something can help you achieve it.

So for your business:- set clear goals for sales, for overheads, for profits, for cashflow, for people development; put a timeframe on it, put it in writing, share it with your team, get stuck in to achieving it, have measurements to check you progress and don’t be afraid of a Blue Monday, a Blue Tuesday and remember the “Why”.

Julian McKeown is a fellow Chartered accountant and business owner at Abac Chartered Accountants.

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