If you’re like me, you approach a new year with renewed enthusiasm and determination. We establish resolutions to kick off the year; however, in spite of our best intentions, we often lose interest or focus, and settle back into those same comfortable habits from the year before.
Many of you are both business owners and front-line agents. As a business owner, I recommend that you find the discipline and make the time to work ON your business and not just IN it. In his bestselling book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey encourages us to “begin with the end in mind.” To be successful, you must make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life or business – then establish a plan to help you get there.
The truth is … first you must define what success means t o you. Think of it as a destination, and then develop a tactical plan to help you achieve it. Goal setting allows you to focus on your path to success and provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Here are four steps to creating goals that will help you in your attainment path:
STEP 1: To be powerful, design SMART goals.
- Specific – Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals don’t provide sufficient direction.
- Measurable – Include precise amounts, values or dates, so you can measure your degree of success.
- Attainable – Ensure it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you have no hope of achieving them, you’ll only end up discouraged. At the same time, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Find the right balance.
- Relevant – Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take.
- Time-Bound – Your goals must have a deadline or defined timeframe in which they will be completed.
STEP 2: Ensure established goals are motivating to you. Focus on why they’re important and what the value to you is in achieving them. If you aren’t motivated, it’s likely you won’t put in the effort required to make them happen. Goal achievement requires commitment. To maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and passion for what you do. Write down why they’re valuable and important . Written goals that are reviewed regularly will help to keep you accountable to your plan throughout the year.
STEP 3: Develop a tactical plan of action to achieve them. This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. Don’t get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all the steps needed along the way. By keeping track of individual steps and crossing them off when completed, you’ll realize you’re making progress toward your ultimate goal. For long- term goals, ensure you establish milestones that enable you to celebrate small “wins” so you don’t get discouraged.
STEP 4: Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Goal setting is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. I often advise agents to schedule appointments regularly to ensure they make the time to evaluate progress.
Are the goals you set for yourself still relevant? Is your action plan delivering desired results? Your end destination may remain quite similar during the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value and necessity remain high.
Now is the time to put your plan in place to make 2017 your best year yet!
Jackie Friedman, CTC, CTIE, is the president of Nexion®, a fully licensed, bonded and accredited host agency with operations in both the United States and Canada. She oversees an operation that supports more than 3,300 independent, leisure and corporate travel professionals. Nexion® is a branch of Tzell Travel Group, a Travel Leaders Group company.
Jackie brings proven success in leading organizational change, implementing new programs and managing day-to-day operations. She joined the Nexion® leadership team in 2004 and has been a part of the travel industry for 30 years, including a 15-year career with Sabre Travel Network and as a front-line agent and travel agency manager.
Jackie is often asked to participate on industry panels and is a member of several travel industry advisory boards, including the boards of directors for both the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH), along with advisory boards for CLIA, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line President’s Club, Royal Caribbean, Globus Presidents Council, Travel Insured International, Passport Online and the ASTA Corporate Advisory Council (CAC).