Who else has trouble focusing?
I know I can’t be the only one out there!
Two years ago I left my job to work full-time on my business. While at work I would tell myself “Man, I wish I were home so I could focus on my website. I know I would get so much done.” Fast forward to 4 weeks later of being 9-5 free and I was producing just as much content, doing just as much research, and making a fraction of the money as I was when I had my full-time job.
#fail #fail #fail
I knew something had to give. Luckily I was able to identify the problem. I just wasn’t being productive. Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of effort. How many phone calls are you taking while researching? How often are you pausing work to daydream? How many times do you stop to check Instagram, Facebook, or email? All these small habits are affecting your productivity.
It always amazes me what we can complete the night before something is due when we’ve had months to work on the project. What if we could be as productive as we are the night before a deadline every single day?
I believe you can make that happen with a few easy changes. I’ve been able to drastically improve my productivity and finally go to bed at night feeling like I got shit done. Check out these 8 easy tips that will help you focus like a pro.
Have you ever made a long to-do list in the morning only to find that you didn’t finish even one thing by the end of the day? It’s the worst. The disappointment alone in ourselves is enough to kill the motivation. My challenge to you is to get real. To-Do lists are awesome, but you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to get too much done. I like to make a list and then choose just two things that, if completed, will make me feel like my day was a success!
I also use the SCRUM management method. SCRUM is a project management methodology often used by software companies to complete their projects. Sometimes there are tasks that we don’t complete but we make a large dent in it. SCRUM helps you visualize your progress and see where your tasks are in the pipeline. Is it in progress? Is it stalled? Is it waiting for something? Get more realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and measure your progress. This will encourage you to keep going and serve as progress markers as you work to complete your tasks.
What do you hate to do? Common advice is to do what you hate first. My advice is to not do it at all! Instead, find someone else that enjoys your crappy projects. There are a ton of freelancing websites where you can find reasonably priced help for the most tedious work. (Upwork, PeoplebytheHour, Fiverr) It takes me forever to make a decent looking graphics on Canva. Instead of wasting my time, I just outsource the work. Same with blogs. I HATE editing my blog posts so I have a friend who looks over each one for grammar, flow, and spelling errors. This gives me more time to focus on the parts of my business that actually make me money and saves so much stress!
Choose Your Environment
This is basic but so important. You’d be surprised how many people can’t focus in absolute silence. So cater to your preferences. If you need a quiet room, then arrange your work around quiet hours in your home or coworking space. If you need a little background noise, then find a favorite coffee shop or put on some tunes. Certain music can also help with focus. Do an experiment to see what helps and what works for you.
Checking social media every few minutes is totally killing your vibe. Research shows that switching between tasks actually slows you down and causes you to make more mistakes. Instead, use tools to keep the distractions out. Install a plugin on your web browser to block certain websites that you know are the culprit. Also, try turning your cell phone completely off instead of putting it on vibrate. I do this and just take my client calls from my laptop. Google Voice is th BOMB!
Apply The Pressure
Are you the type of person that does their best work at the last minute? After a certain age, these final paper deadlines are hard to come by so create artificial ones. Hire an editor or VA that will keep you accountable to a deadline. When you’re working on someone else’s time there is more accountability around getting your tasks done. Find an accountability partner. Our Grind Groups are a great place to get accountability! Heck, I even know a guy who goes to the coffee shop without his laptop plug and powers through as much work as his battery life will allow. Cray right? You don’t have to go too extreme but if you know pressure works for you then embrace it.
Give Yourself A Break
Breaks are an awesome motivation for getting things done. I love the Pomodoro Method. The Pomodoro Method is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of focus and rest. I use it to work in 45-minute increments and then set my timer for a 10-minute break where I surf social media (my vice). As soon as my timer goes off then I’m back at it again! You don’t have to schedule your day down to the minute. You can achieve the same idea by breaking your day into big chunks that involve work time and fun activities.
Take Care of Yourself
For years I battled brain fog and the constant urge to nap. The culprit to my sluggishness lay in my crappy diet and lack of exercise. Once I got a Nuribullet and started going for a daily walk, my productivity improved drastically. Research has also shown that exercising in the morning can greatly improve your productivity. Exercise energizes rather than exhausts you! So put on those sweatpants, go get some fresh air and a yucky green drink. You can thank me later.
Utilize Your Creative Hours
Identify your creative hours. Some people are super productive in the middle of the night while others work better first thing in the morning. Whenever those times are for you, designate those your creative hours. Complete work that takes the most of your creative brain power during these times. At all other work hours complete maintenance tasks such as spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls.
And if you’re looking for accountability during those early morning hours to really elevate your ability to get things done, check out The Six of 7 Grind Groups! Learn More about the accountability program HERE!
What’s A Landing Page?
A landing page is standalone web page distinct from your main website that is designed with a single objective. That means it doesn’t show links to other pages on your website because the sole purpose is to get visitors to complete the objective of the landing page.
Why Would I Need A Landing Page?
Landing pages are used to collect Information or corral people to complete an action such as pay for a product or service. If either of these is your goal, then you need a landing page. It’s important not to send visitors to a regular website page with off page links, menus, or pop-ups. It will distract visitors from completing the objectives -give you money or information. That’s why the design, content, and formatting of a page is so important as all work together to help the landing page visitor complete the desired action.
Landing Pages are also great when you’re just starting out and have not created a website. You can let people know you’re coming soon, what you’re about, and collect information so you can establish a community prior to launching. Myleik of Curlbox did something similar when she started.
Here Are Some Examples Of Landing Pages:
How Can I Build A Landing Page For Free?
I know that’s what you’re really here for. No worries. I got you. There are hundreds of landing page builders out there. Most of them cost from $5 – $100 dollars per month for all the features that you need.
However, if you’re just starting out it may be hard to justify this monthly cost. That’s why I’m sharing 4 options to create a landing page for FREE99. Check it out.
Ontraport.com just released a free landing page builder. I tried it out and it’s pretty nice. The landing pages are easy to customize. In addition, you CAN point this to your own domain without the ontraport pages subdomain! There are a few catches.
- It loads pretty slow.
- The really nice looking templates need to be purchased.
- If you want to integrate your Mail Service Provider like MailChimp or Aweber it is a HASSLE! They make the process difficult to encourage you to sign up for Ontraport.com. *rolls eyes*
This site is a well-kept secret. The landing pages on Strikingly are GORG! The editing platform is a bit more blocky than I prefer, but with some patience, you’ll end up with a nice looking landing page. Here are a few things to consider. In the free version, you can’t connect your email service provider. So to view your leads you need to log into strikingly. In addition, you must use a strikingly subdomain (www.landingpagetitle.strikingly.com) when publishing the landing page in the free version.
Mailer Lite is another great tool. The landing pages templates are modern and well designed! However, you’ll run into many of the same problems as the other sites above.
In the free version, if you want to publish the landing page it has to be on a mailerlite subdomain, but here’s what stands out! Mailer Lite has some amazing features including email automation, payment, etc. You can basically use it for anything.
SplashThat is great for events if you want something prettier than EventBrite.com. Although this platform doesn’t allow for much editing, the templates are pretty, you can collect payment, and issue tickets. PLUS, the “splashthat” subdomain is pretty common. So if you’re having an event using a splashthat page no one will judge you based on the subdomain.
BONUS: Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Etc
There are many site builders like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix that allow you to make a page on their builder. The only catch is the subdomain will show in addition to an advertisement for the page builder. If you’re comfortable using these platforms give it a go! You can always just purchase a domain name and forward it to your Squarespace/Weebly/Wix landing page.
What Do You Use To Build Landing Pages?
Now that is a good question, isn’t it? In the past, I’ve used Infusionsoft’s landing page builder (THOSE were not very pretty), Optimize Press, ClickFunnels, LeadPages, Squarespace, custom coding, and Instapage. My favorite right now is Instapage. I’ve built 100’s of landing pages for my clients AND myself using Instapage.com. It’s my favorite by far.
Now once you get started building these pages there are a few things to keep in mind. That’s why I made a short video that goes over the Top Five Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Building A Landing Page. Enter your information below to unlock the video:
How do you come up with blog post ideas? How do you decide which new products or services to create? How do you find the right words to convince someone to purchase from you? How do you know if your product or service will be helpful? How do you know if people will buy it from you?
The answers to these questions and many others like it can be found in the results of your customer research.
Customer research is the process of identifying similar characteristics across your potential clients and their needs. It takes no special equipment or money and will only benefit your business.
I know you might be thinking, “But Dayooooooo. I didn’t do any customer research.”
That’s okay. I gotyouuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
Check it. I’ve been doing online marketing for doctors for a long time. This means they tell me the type of patient they want, whether it’s back pain, weight loss, knee pain, etc. and I create a marketing campaign for them. After a few days, VOILA, patients in the waiting room.
Needless to say, I know what I’m doing when it comes to doctors, but not so much for myself… You see, a few years ago I started to lose my hair due to stress and a nutritional deficiency. After successfully regrowing my hair, I created a hair growth system called Fulfillity Hair.
I was sure I would knock it out of the park. I mean who better to sell this stuff than the girl with the results right? I created a brand new website, filled my house full of product and big dreams about getting rich AF in the natural hair game.
I created some Facebook ads (MY FORTE) and $50, $100, $150 later and not a single purchase!
I tried again, this time sending online traffic to blog content.
Again, $50, $100, $200 and not 1 purchase!
I was about to pull out what little hair I had on my head!
I mean, I’ve done this for clients before! I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t it working for me
So after a day of ugly crying, deep life contemplation, and a season’s worth of Scandal, it dawned on me.
Maybe I am not my customer.
It was so easy to do marketing for my clients because the doctors have been treating these specific conditions for years. They know EXACTLY who their ideal patient would be. Age, interests, activities, pain points, etc.
For myself, I just assumed everyone was like me. Sure, I like hair. Sure, I like nutrition. Let’s just say that my ideal client is me. Right?
I was building the wrong audience based off of my assumptions and lack of data.
So, I started over from the beginning and began asking questions.
I did real research instead of guessing what women who buy hair growth vitamins want.
Low and behold… Money in the bank, FINALLY
Honestly, if more money isn’t reason enough to conduct customer research, then I don’t know what is. But in case you still need convincing, read on.
Why Should You Do Customer Research
Here’s how the data you collect about your potential customers will help you be successful in business.
Create Better Products – If you are able to identify the specific challenges, goals, and needs of your customer, then you can create products or services that solve them. Your data will help you create better blog content, write advertising that sells, create products that people want, come up with opt-ins, and market in a way that encourages clients to buy from you.
Save Time – Instead of guessing what works, you’ll be able to quickly identify a marketing strategy that connects with your ideal client. You’ll also be able to write effective content FASTER, spend less time brainstorming social media content, and use your time more wisely by addressing topics that people want answers for.
Increase Income – People will pay you for what they need. So if you build a product that addresses a desire of your client, create content that shows you know what you’re talking about, and create an ad with specific language about how your product or service addresses their need, then you’ve got an easy sell (a.k.a. more $$$)
Decrease Costs – All the data from your customer research will help you spend less money on marketing and pushing dud products. The more you know about your customer, the easier it will be to target them with paid marketing and identify where to place your ads. The more specific your marketing, the less money you’ll spend on advertising that doesn’t work. In addition, you won’t waste money creating and marketing a product that no one wants.
The reasons to conduct customer research is endless, but I wanted to point out some of the ones that matter the most. You’ll make more money, in less time, with better results.
How To Do Customer Research
The best way to conduct customer research is to connect with your customers to ask them what they want. Simple right? Yeah, it can be. The only difficult part of this process is choosing the method to connect and deciding the questions to ask. So here’s an easy guideline.
Step 1: Find Your Customer
The first step is to find your customers or potential customers. Look for your ideal clients or people who you are trying to market to.
If possible, you should also reach out to those who have purchased your product/services or other similar products before. You can email your list, find strangers in Facebook groups, or talk to friends. It all works.
Step 2: Ask The Right Questions
Your questions are very important. You’re looking for answers that help you identify common desires, phrases, and needs. That’s why your questions should be open-ended. When you create questions that are yes/no or multiple choice you will skew the results with answers based on your expectations as opposed to your potential client’s desires.
So what do you ask? Here are my 5 favorite.
What is your biggest challenge or problem with ______?
If people knew how to solve their own problems they wouldn’t need to pay you. With that in mind, this question will help you create products or services to address the problems that your customers are unprepared to address.
Ex. What is your biggest challenge in growing your hair? How about your skin or nails?
What have you already tried in this area? What has worked? What has failed?
The answers to this questions will help steer you away from dud ideas. If everyone has tried a planner to set goals, but didn’t stick with it, then you know that the traditional planner is not a method that your customers will respond to. This allows you the opportunity to reinvent a new goal setting method that works.
Ex. What products do you use for hair growth? What worked? What didn’t work?
What do you dislike about _____ ?
I love this question because it helps me provide the best service and product. Once you know what others are doing wrong you can work to improve your own product/services to avoid the annoyances.
Ex. What don’t you like about [insert product]?
What is your goal for __________ ?
This question is great too because it gets people talking. This answer will help you frame your product/service in the big picture of your customer’s ultimate goal. Look for language or phrasing that you can use in your advertising or sales letters. When you speak the language of your customer, you will create a connection that builds trust.
Ex. What are your goals for your hair, skin, and nails?
How would you feel if your [insert problem] was gone?
This is another question that will help you identify language to use in your content and advertising.
Ex. How would you feel if you had longer hair? How about better skin?
Step 3: Collect Data
The best way to collect data is in-person or over the phone. This can look like a coffee date or just a phone call. If you’re a bit shy like me, you can take a less intimidating route.
I first started TheSixof7.com in part because I didn’t have a community of female entrepreneurs of color. Coupled with my shyness to ask for help, doing customer research sounded scary as hell. So I did two things. In one of the Facebook groups I was in, I scrolled down the list of all the members and sent cold messages to 100+ women.
I also made a post on my Instagram asking a few questions. You can use any online medium to connect with your potential clients and ask your 5 questions. Of course, now I find it much easier to get on the phone with people, but I share this for those who may feel intimidated by the customer research process. Send a few messages to start off or post one of your questions on social media. Int terms of tools, I like to use Typeform or Google Docs to collect the information.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. (In fact, I’m doing a contest this week to do some customer research. If you want the low-down on this process, sign up for the newsletter on the bottom of this post. I’ll be sending out the deets next weekend.)
I also suggest interviewing 10 or more people. You don’t need hundreds of answers because 90% of your target customer base basically thinks the same. If you interview 10, you can make some pretty accurate assumptions of what most of your group wants. But HEY, the more the merrier.
How to Interpret Your Customer Research
Once you have the answers to the questions, copy and paste them all into a Document.
Then list them all in an excel sheet. This makes it a little easier to analyze.
Look through your document for duplicates or similar ideas and group them together. I also highlight phrases that commonly used. These are perfect for writing ads and blog titles.
After distilling the feedback down to some pretty core ones I save this list and refer to it to create content. You can also use the information to inform a brainstorm about new products ideas, target on Facebook, or plan your social media. The possibilities are endless!
What’s most important is that you are giving your customers what they want. That’s why I’ve started to automate my customer research. Every welcome email includes a Typeform that asks questions to new opt-ins on my list. This ensures that I always have fresh perspectives coming in.
If you need a little help, reach out to me in the Private Six of 7 Facebook group here. As mentioned above I’ll also be sharing the Customer Research Contest that I’m doing for Fulfillity and Six of 7 in my newsletter. Jump on the list below so you don’t miss it!
I can’t wait to hear about your results!
How many followers does your brand have on Instagram? What about likes on Facebook? Go ahead. Bring the number up in your mind and now I want you to think about how that number makes you feel. Does it make you feel good or bad?
I ask this because there is an increasing amount of pressure to measure success by the size of our social media following. Are you feeling it too? In fact, an entire industry has sprouted that encourages business owners to purchase followers, likes, and even positive reviews. I can’t lie. It is true that having a lot of fans and followers on social media is good for your business, but having fake followers is not!
You’re probably thinking, “Dayo, what’s so bad about faking it till you make it?”
Girl, let me tellll you!
These faux social media numbers don’t really measure success, they only mirror it. How so? At a glance, large numbers can make an account appear popular. And popularity does matter because of a concept called social proof. Social proof is a really profitable selling tool. You see a lot of companies using it when they re-post customer pictures or testimonials. Social proof signals to your social media visitors that if others are following or buying from you, then it’s okay for them to become fans and customers too.
That’s where the temptation comes in to skip the work of building up real social proof, and instead creating the facade of success. I’m here to show you why this is not the best way to go. Here’s how purchasing social proof instead of earning it is more likely to hurt your business instead of help it.
Engagement is the amount of people that interact with your post either by liking, commenting, or sharing it. Purchased fans don’t engage with your content because they’re not real people. So, you may have thousands of followers, but your engagement will be low. On platforms like Facebook and Instagram this can work against you. One of the ways Facebook and Instagram’s new algorithm decides which post to show in the feed, is by looking at how much engagement each post has. The larger the gap between the number of followers and engagement, the least likely your updates will show up in the newsfeed of your followers.
Wasted Marketing Dollars
Facebook is one of the fastest growing online advertising platforms, mostly because they have so much data. You can show ads only to people who are recently engaged, who just purchased a specific vehicle, or whose income is within a certain bracket. Whatever your niche is, Facebook is a great place to advertise because of the creepy amount of data it has on us.
Many of Facebook’s most profitable advertising tools rely on our current audience who can be easily identified from our Facebook pages. You can show ads to those who” Like” your business page and people who are friends of those who like your page. Purchasing “Likes” damages your ability to take advantage of Facebook’s marketing tools. You’ll end up paying for ads to reach your fake followers. So not only will you waste money purchasing fake followers, but you’ll also have to pay MORE for ads to reach your real followers.
I won’t lie. Having big numbers can not only feel good, but it can also help your business. However, these numbers are not the most important measurements for business success. There are other, more accurate ways to evaluate your social media success such as post likes, engagement, sales from your posts, traffic, or leads, etc. Simply relying on a large number of followers can be a waste of money if you can’t determine how it actually makes you money.
Have you ever been checking out an Instagram account with a ton of followers? Let’s say they have 50,000 fans. At first glance, all seems pretty legit, but after scrolling through the pictures you notice that they only have 20- 30 likes per photo. Obviously, something is not right, right?
People WILL notice when you purchase a large amount of followers. And even if they don’t notice the odd lack of engagement, it doesn’t mean you won’t be found out eventually. Every few years social media platforms come out with an update that detects and removes fake profiles. By purchasing social proof, your business runs the risk of a suspended or damaged reputation once you’ve been found out.
Keep It Real
You may look up and find yourself inspired by a similar brand who is doing much better than you. They have more customers, more reviews, more experience, and more money. The desire to be as popular as them is understandable, but the worst thing you can do is to pretend.
The brands that we love the most, that we follow for years, that we check every day all do one thing well. They lead with value. They are consistent in giving us what we want, whether that’s gossip, hair tutorials, high-quality products, or great information. With that comes loyalty and the large followings.
So keep it real. It’s important to define what success looks like to your business. We know it’s not just numbers. (They say you can’t eat popular) Identify measurements that resonate with your brand’s goals by asking relevant questions. Are your readers resonating with you blog posts? Do your customers see success after completing your challenge? Is your product getting positive feedback? Are your clients succeeding after a coaching session with you? These are REAL measurements of success.
You need to stop buying stuff.
Not just you, but me too!
[Story Time] This summer I moved to France. Before I moved I struggled with making a large purchase.
See, I have an awesome desktop computer where I do most of my work. I also have an old laptop that still works but tends to get super hot and has an embarrassing loud hum. So I decided that with this new life abroad I was going to get me a new laptop too! A Macbook Pro! I deserve it right?
As the time for the move came closer and the budget became more real I was starting to have doubts about the big purchase. I mean a grand on a laptop? That was 2 months rent! I kept searching and searching for a deal but nothing felt affordable enough to unclench my fists. I assumed it was just fear so I did what any other rational human being would do, I posted my dilemma on Facebook!
Half the folks said “Yaaaaass girl! Go get the MacBook Pro. It is so worth it! Ever since I changed from PC to Mac my life has changed!” *side eye* (I’ve had a MacBook Pro before and it is NOT that serious). But there was one response that though caught my eye.
It seems like you have something that works and even makes you happy. The only point of unhappiness I’m hearing is that others have a better computer than you…
Instead of focusing on other people and what they have focus on YOUR goals. You’re going to France to grow your business. Will the new laptop do that for you? Instead of buying a new laptop, you can use all that money on something that will directly impact your business like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, even rent!
Reevaluate what you want. You want something that works, that will help you grow your business, that is reliable and it seems you already have that. Yeah you won’t be able to go to the coffee shop and look cool with your sleek Macbook, but you’ll be doing what’s right for your needs and that’s all that matters. Focus on you and use what you have. You’ll be much happier with that extra $1500 in your pocket.
Can I get an Amen?
I won’t tell you to never buy anything new! You will need training and tools, so here are 5 tips to help you make a decision whether you should buy something or not.
Can It Wait?
I do this trick with clothes but the same goes for business tools and courses. For example, I want to start a podcast next month. I have iPhone headphones, but those professional podcasting mics look soooo good. I know it’s not necessary NOW, but it would be nice. The podcast is more in the idea stages so purchasing an expensive microphone right now may not be the best idea. Yes, it can wait.
Can I Get It For Free?
Seriously, it’s odd how life can gift us when we ask for what we want. Take some time and think about how you can get your purchase for free or even discounted. I’ve been shopping around for a co-working space here in France and boy are they pricey. I shared my problem with a new friend and she offered up an empty office at her job. Hey heyyyy! Even when I was in Salt Lake City, I managed to get a volunteer position at my local co-working space in exchange for free membership.
How Often Will I Use It?
Now this is a good question. Are you buying a super expensive product that you only plan to use once or twice? Then maybe pass on it. On the other hand, will this purchase be used everyday? Will it bring tons value to you and your business? Then go for it!
Will This Purchase Help Me?
Sounds like a silly question because I know your answer is yes, but go a little deeper. Are you buying a Facebook ads course before you even have a product? Then the answer is no because right now this product won’t help you. On the other hand, if you are having trouble finding time to post to all your social networking apps, a scheduling tool would be a purchase that will save you so much time and stress. Evaluate the effect of your purchase based on the return you will get from it down the line.
Can I Return It?
I’m serious. Read the fine print. A lesson I had to learn a long time ago is that returning a product doesn’t mean that I’m cheap. It means I’m self-aware. You know what your needs are and when a product or service does not meet that need. This is what 30-day trials are for. I signed up for an email automation tool and after 2 months of tinkering it was just a headache. So canceled and asked for my money back. Guess what? No one called me cheap, poor, etc. They said sorry this didn’t work out for you, your money will be in the bank in 3 business days. Easy peasy.
Moral of the Story: You don’t need every shiny object. God, the universe, or whoever you believe in has gifted you with everything you need to make your business work. It’s important that you take the time to recognize and appreciate the tools and talents you have now by using them.
So chill out. It may be time for you to stop learning from others, stop buying new things and stop preparing. It might be time for you to just step out and be great as you are.
I want to make $500,000 by the end of this year.
I want to have 10,000 Instagram followers by June.
I want to give a Ted Talk.
These are all goals written in my journal, January 2015. Looking at them now, I can’t help but laugh a little bit. What’s funny is not that they were far fetched, it’s that I can’t even REMEMBER making them. I’m sure I probably just finished watching some inspirational video or stalking an uber successful somebody on Instagram and said to myself, “I want that. I’m going to speak it into existence and it will come to me.”
Have you done something similar before?
I know I can’t be the only one who has made goals that they’ve never achieved. It’s a cycle I’ve repeated for the past few years. Make a goal in the beginning of the year, fail at achieving it, and make a new goal the next year. (It’s half of why I stopped making goals in the first place. Read here)
Thankfully I was able to break out of that pattern this year. It’s October 2016 and I am just two items away from crushing all of my goals.
Here they are:
- Travel To France
- Weigh 155lbs
- Make New Friends
- Pay Off Personal Debt
- Improve Mental Health
- Quit My Job and Live Off My business
- Start A Podcast
- Grow My List to 1,000
- Create A Facebook Group
I’m still 10 pounds away from my goal weight and my list is at 806, but I’m confident I’ll get ‘er done in the next month or so.
So what changed in 2016 to help me make and achieve my goals for this year? That’s what I want to share with you in this blog post.
I attribute my success to:
⇒ Understanding Why I Don’t Reach My Goals
⇒ Finding A New Goal Setting Method
⇒ Creating New Habits To Help Me Achieve My Goals
Keep reading to learn how to implement these strategies for yourself.
Why We Don’t Reach Our Goals
We often fail to reach our goals for 3 reasons
1. We choose the wrong goal.
2. We take on too much too fast.
3. We don’t plan to fail.
What does choosing the wrong goal mean? In order for goals to be achieved, they need to be understood. So if your goal is to be a successful business owner, then you need to be able to break down the steps to reach this goal. If you just envision your future without figuring out how to get there, then you’re daydreaming and NOT goal setting!
Goals exist in a hierarchy. There are top-level goals, mid-level goals, and lower-level goals. The higher the goal the more abstract it becomes and the lower the goal the more specific it is. Your goal of becoming a successful business owner is a top-level goal. In order to reach your top-level goal, you need to first master your mid-level and then your lower-level goals.
Many times we latch onto these high-level goals and doggedly spend the year trying to achieve them. What we often find is that we’re not actually pursuing ONE goal, but instead trying to juggle multiple mid-level and lower level goals at the same time. That’s why we fail. We take on too much and get overwhelmed.
We also fail because our goals are not researched or thought out. A clearly explored goal not only breaks down the vision into small chunks, but anticipates roadblocks that one may encounter. A thoughtful approach like this to goal setting can help you avoid the high of dreaming up your life and the eventual disappointment from failing, yet again, to achieve your goal.
Here’s a goal setting method that asks you to break down that vision into more manageable chunks.
A New Goal Setting Method
1. Identify Your Arch Goals – Arch goals are your dreams and desires in their largest sense. They provide direction and meaning to all the goals in the rest of your hierarchy. These arch goals usually exist in dreamy vision statements like:
I want to be a star player in the NBA
I want to own a successful business
I want to be happy
2. Create Anchor Goals – Unlike your arch goals, your anchor goals are more actionable. They are a way of distilling your desires into mid-level goals that you can work towards. I like to encourage women to spend a few days researching your arch goals to help identify the anchor goals.
3. Plan Your Support Goals – This is the most important part of hierarchy goal setting because it’s often the most overlooked of the three. Support goals are the systems and habits that we must implement and focus on in our DAILY lives in order to reach our Anchor goals and eventually our Arch goals.
Creating New Habits To Achieve Goals
Now that you have an understanding of why your previous goal-setting methods didn’t work, I want to share 4 ways to actually achieve your goals.
Create New Routines
If what you used to do in the past didn’t work, then it’s time do something different. The success of your arch goals largely depends on your support goals. Support goals are made up of systems and habits that you will have to change in order to make a dent in your arch goals.
The best way to develop new habits is to change your routine. If you want to grow your Instagram following, create a new morning routine that involves taking 30 minutes to interact on the platform. If you want to be featured on other websites, make it a habit to repurpose your weekly content for guest posts. If you want to spend more time growing your business while working a 9-5, make it a habit to take an after work nap so that you’re prepared for a 6-10pm shift in front of your laptop. The list of possible new routines is endless.
Set Yourself Up For Small Wins
Small wins are exactly what they sound like. It’s the accomplishment of an easy milestone that you set for yourself. We spend a lot of time imagining how it will feel when we reach our arch goal but we don’t give our lower-level goals the same love! This can make achieving our goals seem like a long painful process. Instead, try setting up small wins. This will not only encourage you to keep going, but serve as progress markers as you advance to your arch goal.
For more on “small wins” check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Write Down Your Goals
A large part of success comes from focusing on your goals. I mentioned earlier that when I looked at my goals from January 2015, I didn’t even remember them! That’s the surest path to failure. Instead of forgetting them like I did, commit to creating a new routine that requires you to write down your goals daily. Here’s an example of why writing down your goals works.
In a Scottish study, hip replacement patients were split into two groups. One was given a booklet after their surgery and asked to write down their rehab goals each week, such as walk for 5 minutes, do stretches, etc. The second group was not given a booklet. When the researcher compared the groups, she found that the patients who wrote down their plans for the week actually healed two times faster than those who did not. (Read more on the study here)
This study, and others like it, continue to establish that writing down your goals and staying focused increases your chances of success!
Get Real About Fear
Half of the reason why we are unsuccessful in achieving our goals is fear. Fear that we’ll fail. Fear that we aren’t worthy of succeeding. Fear of rejection. Fear of changing your mind. Fear of hitting roadblocks. Fear for no damn reason! So I want to encourage you to get real about what you’re scared of. Write them down. Identify any obstacle that you may encounter when pursuing your Anchor goals. Once you’ve identified the obstacle, image the worst case scenario. Yes, I mean it. Go ahead and imagine what would happen if you fail miserably and lose the house? What if you don’t make any money and your mom was right? What if the new job rejects you. Vividly consider the worst case scenario and then write down what you’ll do. Are you going to move back in with your parents until you can get back on your feet? Will you take a day to cry and then start applying for another job? Will you sign up for counseling to deal with the shame from publicly failing? This process will take the mystery out of your fear and turn your worries into a contingency plan.
Address Your Mindset
Just as important than fear is your mindset. Possessing an optimistic mindset is so valuable for your journey towards success. Optimism is a feeling of hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.
Why is optimism important? Here’s another study to consider. Elite swimmers were asked to take a test to determine if they had an optimistic or pessimistic mindset. Once their classifications were secretly determined all were asked to swim at their very best. When the swimmers completed the exercise, researchers deliberately told them that they swam a few seconds slower than their actual time. Swimmers were then asked to give it another try. Those who were identified as being pessimists swam even slower than their original time. Those who were identified as optimists swam either at the same speed or faster!
That’s how important your mindset is. You’ve got to believe that you can do better, learn more, and improve. This growth mindset is the key to traversing roadblocks and reaching your goals.
Learn more about Growth Mindset in Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk.
Oftentimes when we feel off-track, disappointed, or unfocused it’s because we’re out of touch with our goals or what we want for ourselves. Goals can serve as a useful life compass. If you need help creating your own goals, check out my Goal Hierarchy Workbook where I walk you through identifying your Arch, Anchor, and Support goals so you can finally start getting stuff done!
You can download it below!