By: Daniel C. Finley

Taking the First Step

As we begin a new year, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that many financial advisors have mapped out the goals they would like to accomplish over the next twelve months. The “easy” part is knowing what those goals are, the harder aspect is actually planning out the tasks and activities it takes to reach those goals.  It’s been said that “The journey of thousand miles begins with one step” and many advisors have the best intentions as a new year commences but many fail to even take that first step in making those goals happen for themselves.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to set up and actually realize your goals by year end.

  1. Set and Clarify Your Goals

Goal setting is relatively an easy “to-do” but clarifying your goals so that they are quantifiable and measurable is much more difficult. One way to do this is to use the G.R.O.W model-which stands for Goal, Reality, Obstacles (or Options) and Way forward. When you use this model, you will find you are much clearer about what it will take to reach your desired outcomes.

  • Compartmentalize Your Daily Actions

Once you have solidified your goals and written out your G.R.O.W model, it’s time to compartmentalize your daily actions.  This will assist you in determining what your first steps should be.  Having just one or two steps to focus on can mean the difference between taking action and just thinking about taking action. Remember, a goal without a plan is a wish.

  • Create Time Horizons

Now it’s time to create a time horizon for your activities. The best way to do this is to literally set a to-do item as an appointment in your contact management system. So, if your first action step is to start prospecting make sure that you set a reminder to do that consistently at the same time each day. When the reminder pops up, set aside what you are doing and be sure to do the task.  It is very typical to get distracted and push our tasks aside and tell ourselves we will get to them later.  It is also very typical that when we do that, the activity rarely gets completed.  So get into the habit of attending to a task once you have it scheduled.

  • Get Leverage to Take Action

Finally, put some “skin in the game” by finding an accountability partner or a person that holds you accountable every day to ensure that action actually takes place. By being accountable to each other, you both are more likely to keep moving forward in the right direction. One way to leverage your success is to assign a reward or punishment to accomplishing or not accomplishing your daily actions.

It’s the Journey not the Destination

Hopefully, by now you’ve realized that taking steps, especially the first one, is merely a process. And, that by taking each subsequent step, those are a continuation of that process. However, it is important to note that if you are only focused on the destination you will miss out on the journey which is where the learning and growing always occurs. 

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