What direction are you going? Do you have goals that you are actively working towards, or do you get up every morning and just sort of drift in what you hope is the right direction? As I said last month, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend some very good time management seminars, and they’ve made a huge difference in my life, both personal and professional.

One of the best things I learned in these meetings was how important a mission statement isfor everyone, no matter what your business. It doesn’t have to be long, involved or fancy, but you need something written down that you can refer to (and edit as necessary) so you can know if you’re on track with where you want to be.

So how do you write a mission statement? The most important thing you can do to begin is look at your own life and really see what’s important to you. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish. Think about what folks will say at your funeral (I know, it sounds terrible) – what type person will they say you were? Will they say what you’d like for them to say? If not, what do you need to change about yourself? What legacy do you want to leave your family?

All these things, and more, tell you who you are. If you are concerned that your kids be well-adjusted, successful people, what can you do that will help them achieve that? And if you want to leave a large sum of money to your local homeless shelter, what type of arrangements do you need to make now? These are the type things you’d write in your mission statement.

After you’ve decided the type person you are (or want to be), then you need to set long-term goals. Don’t just think about them. Get some paper out and write them down. Then (and this is the hard part) figure out what you need to do to reach those goals. Brainstorm until you’ve come up with every single thing you can do to reach that goal. Is your goal to pick up ten new clients? OK – so what have you got to do to get them? Some things might include handing out business cards to everyone you meet, join a local civic group that would allow you to meet new people, learn how to position yourself as an expert in your field (for more information on that, contact me).

After you’ve got your list of goals done, with all the things to reach those goals, then what? Hold yourself accountable by putting dates to each item, and add them to your datekeeper on those dates. Then, most important of all, DO THEM!

I know this sounds tough, but remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.