Business consultant Phil Jackson from Build Your Salon offers these tips for getting the most from your goals.
It used to be rare to encounter a salon owner who had any kind of plan for their business, much less tangible action plans to get those goals achieved. But not anymore. I guess we have had to get to grips with the business side of salons - the competitive market is too fierce, our finances too precarious to leave these things to chance. But it’s not all good news.
As much as I welcome seeing owners taking their business goals seriously, that has brought a huge amount of overwhelm. The danger is that we still don’t make the progress we need to for our businesses to thrive - not for want of planning, but for want of a meaningful way to implement those plans.
Some goals, particularly those well within our comfort zone and areas of expertise, are easy to plan. But of course, for exceptional results we need to set goals outside that comfort zone - and that means we don’t always know where to start.
Let me help you with a few questions which can get a sticky goal moving, reduce overwhelm and perhaps encourage you to set more goals that stretch your current abilities and knowledge. In short, it’s OK to set a goal that you don’t quite know how to achieve yet. In fact, I would encourage it. But these prompts might help you get started or unstuck when you do.
Get clear on the WHY
It’s perfectly natural for your enthusiasm to wane a little over time. That’s when you need to get back to why this goal is important to you. Spend some time journaling what your life or business will look like if you hit that goal. Will you have more time?
Money? Freedom? Self-respect? What will your friends or family say about you? How will things improve for you? The more emotionally bought into this picture you are, the more effective the exercise will be, so focus on how you will feel once this goal is achieved.
The second half of this exercise is less pleasant. Spend some time exploring what happens if you don’t achieve the goal you have set yourself? Is it simply a case of ‘nothing changes’, or are the repercussions more serious? What is the impact on your longer-term future? How does failing affect your family? Your finances? Your self-esteem? Again, really connect with the emotion behind this exercise. It may not feel pleasant, but turning back to these thoughts will help you keep going if your commitment or enthusiasm starts to wane.
Three questions to get you unstuck
Occasionally when we’re setting a goal which is outside our comfort zone (and after all, that’s where the magic is, right?) it can be hard to get started. We get past the initial excitement of stretching ourselves and succeeding in a way we haven’t before, then hit a wall because it’s not immediately clear what we need to do next - how we can break that big, exciting goal into tangible action.
Asking these three simple questions in relation to your goal have helped me and my coaching clients immensely over the years:
01. First, what do I need to START in order to hit this goal? Are there new habits I need to start? Research I need to do? People I need to reach out to? Skills I need to master?
02. What do I need to STOP in order to hit this goal? Are there patterns I keep repeating that aren’t helping me here? Relationships I need to end or contain? Spending I need to curtail or projects or work I need to let go of?
03. What do I need to CONTINUE in order to hit this goal? What am I currently doing that is helpful? What has worked for me so far that can help me achieve even more? What methods and strategies are still working for me? So any time you’re feeling like you don’t know what to do next, think, Stop, Start and Continue to clarify your next move.
A mid-goal sanity check
With goals you are trying to turn into habits, or where bigger shifts in your routines and behaviours are needed, it can be handy to stop and take stock of what you’re doing in the moment. Try to get into the habit of bringing your attention to what you’re doing in the moment at regular intervals throughout the day. You can even set a reminder or alarm or your watch or phone to make checking in a part of your daily routine. For example, let’s imagine you have a goal to lose a little excess weight. When your alarm tells you it’s time to check in, ask the following question:
Is what I’m doing right now bringing me closer to or further from my goal?
If you check in and you’re sat binge-watching Netflix or opening a second bottle of wine, stop and replace the behaviour with something that is more helpful. Take the dog for a quick walk, fix yourself something healthy to eat or switch off the TV and take 10- minutes to meditate instead. If, of course, you catch yourself in the moment doing something that will help you towards your goals, congratulate yourself and wear a cheeky, smug grin. You’re doing great!