Have you ever asked yourself why it’s so hard to stick to a new routine, diet, or plan? Do you know what you need to do but still don’t do it? Do you set goals and then forget about them? Do you get caught up in being “so busy” all the time but never actually make the progress that should go along with that effort? Welcome to the club!

The good news is that you are not alone, and there is a solution. Behavior Change Science is the study of how to help humans change our behavior to achieve our goals.

Silver Lining has worked with over 10,000 small businesses in over 25 countries, and we can assure you that you will hit your goals if you are entirely committed to your results and take full ownership for your actions.

You don’t have to know everything about running a business, but it is crucial that you adopt the right behaviors and actions that will result in long-term growth.

financial goals

But for now, let’s take a moment to talk through the pillars of behavior change science, which are what science says you need to do to hit your financial goals.

Principle #1 – Commit to the Process

No one can change your business. No one can generate the results you want. No one can help you hit your goals unless you are fully committed to optimizing your behavior in order to achieve long-term growth. If you are not genuinely committed to the outcome you want, no amount of support, training, workshops, seminars, even work will help you build a profitable and sustainable business.

Principle #2 – Set Modest Goals

Many of us have been told that to be successful you need to shoot for the moon and set aggressive growth goals. But the truth is, setting modest, realistic, and attainable goals is a lot more powerful. If you constantly set unattainable goals, and then you don’t hit them over and over again, you are training your brain to believe you cannot hit goals. It is essential to be clear about what you want to accomplish, but more importantly, that what you want to accomplish is actually achievable.

Principle #3 – Rigorously Track Your Behavior

We know that it is difficult for some of us to stick to our goals. It’s normal! To help you stay focused, grounded in reality, and make sure you don’t completely go off course, you need to track your behavior. One of the most powerful tools to track as a small business owner is your credit card statements and your calendar. Understanding and really being on purpose about where every minute of your time and every dollar of your money goes is crucial. By rigorously tracking your two most precious resources, you can get a clear picture of what actions and behaviors are actually contributing to your growth and continually optimize them to generate greater results.

Principle #4 – Get Outside Support

Behavior change science states that we are not meant to go at it alone. For example, successful weight loss programs usually give you a coach. A 12-step addiction program would assign you a sponsor. Fitbit encourages you to hire a trainer. There’s a reason for that. As humans, we sometimes think that getting outside support is a sign of weakness, that it is a failure on our part somehow, but that is wrong. Getting fresh outside perspectives, bouncing ideas off a mentor, or simply checking in with a trusted friend can be instrumental in holding you accountable to your own goals. The more successful you become and the more your business grows, the more support you will need.

financial goals for small business

Principle #5 – Be Part of a Peer Group

Being able to celebrate when you are doing great and confess when you are struggling with others who share your journey is vital to staying in the right mindset. There is no version of the world where growth is a straight path “up” where everything is perfect all of the time. There are highs, and there are lows. There are really big highs, and there are really big lows. It is very isolating to go through all of that alone. Having an outlet where you can share and talk with people going through similar experiences helps normalize change. You will soon realize that the obstacles you face are most likely similar to others, if not the same.

Principle #6 – Build Self-Efficacy

Over time, rigorously tracking your behavior will help you build self-efficacy. You will start to trust the process as you start hitting your goals more often than not. Every leg of the journey, every milestone you reach, will boost your confidence and make you trust your decisions. Building self-efficacy is building the capacity to achieve results. There is something transformative and addictive when you start to hit goals. The more goals you hit, the more goals you want to hit.

When combined and done consistently, all of the behavior change pillars of support will instill new habits and set you up for success. Old habits are hard to break, and it takes time. The role of behavior change science is to help you reclaim your time and money by developing the proper habits and mindset so you can focus on doing the thing you love: building and growing your small business.

Now, take a minute to evaluate the support you have around you. Do you have the right systems, structure, people, accountability, and coaching behavior change science says you need to succeed? Are you tracking your actions, protecting your most precious resource, continuously optimizing your behaviors according to what works and what doesn’t? Let us know in the comments below!

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