Each year in January, thousands of speakers and entrepreneurs around the world make resolutions to help them reach their business goals. Common resolutions include goals to improve speaking skills, expanding profession reach, and ultimately filling the calendar with frequent engagements. As a speaker, your first responsibility is to see your craft as a business, especially if you intend on making a living from it. Your second responsibility is to avoid being a part of the status quo, especially because a recent study by the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people actually achieve their goals. To avoid being part of the 92%, here are four tips to help you achieve your goals.

1. Create an Accountability System
Research shows that when it comes to health and wellness goals, having a partner could mean the difference between success and failure. The primary reason for this is that having a partner creates a built-in accountability and motivational system. The same is true for your business goals. Practical accountability systems may include creating visual reminders of your goals, scheduling check-ups on your progress throughout the year, and designating key team members that are responsible for monitoring your goals. Being intentional about holding yourself and your team members accountable using these tools will ensure that your resolutions will not be an afterthought by the middle of the year.


2. Be S.M.A.R.T. 
I often encourage speakers and entrepreneurs to use the S.M.A.R.T. method when setting professional goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Specific goals break down your general goals into manageable bite-size pieces. A great example of this might be to increase your annual revenue from speaking engagements. “Increase revenue in 2017” is a good general goal, but an even better goal is to “increase revenue in 2017 by identifying profit leaks, and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients.” Even that specific goal can be further developed as you think about other factors that will affect the outcome. By ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T., you set yourself up to experience the thrill of achievement that will become motivation for future success.
 

3. Be Flexible 
Life happens, which means that despite your best efforts, some things will still go awry. Part of good goal planning is recognizing that and planning accordingly. Having flexibility in your approach and expectations relieves everyone involved of the pressure that comes with perfectionism. By recognizing that things may not always go as planned, you open the door for creativity to flow, and for discussion about alternative approaches to the goal.

4. Create Rewards 
Rewards are good for morale, which is good for productivity. As you set your business goals, a rewards system is as important as any other piece of the process. Whether big or small, rewards that highlight performance, collaboration and other values that are important to you and any team members could be the extra motivation for your overall success.


If you find that your resolutions from January have been placed on the back burner, remember that there is no better time than now to create new opportunities for growth. Achieving your goals is as much a matter of timing, as it is a matter of consistency. No matter where you are in the process, continue to forge ahead using these tips for success this year, and in the years to come.

Andrena Sawyer is the President of P.E.R.K. Consulting, and the author of The Long Way Home, Ponder it in Her Heart and The Other Side of Assertiveness. In addition to her work with local nonprofits and small businesses, she regularly speaks at events for entrepreneurs around the country. Follow her on twitter or Instagram @Andrena_Sawyer. Follow P.E.R.K. Consulting @Perk_Consulting

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