We’ve been focusing some of our blog posts on goals and goal setting.
- SMART goal setting
- SCHEMES to figure out your action plan
- Measurements to determine where your strengths and weaknesses are
This multi-part series will continue to help truckers reach their dream of success as owner-operators.
It’s the middle of summer and you’ve been on the road for long stretches, finding ways to maximize your time on the road. Who wouldn’t want to be driving on dry clear roads… unless there are orange barrels.
It’s like there’s a conspiracy out there to stop us from achieving our trucking business goals. If it’s not the weather, it’s construction.
Sometimes, our goals can be derailed. Just like the ideal day that you know you can cover a lot of miles and get that load delivered in record time and something stops you cold – a detour, construction, an unexpected storm – we can get off track. It’s easy to give up on the ideal. It’s easy to give up on the goal.
Don’t Give Up on Your Goals
- Review your reasons for your goals. Why did you set this goal in the first place? Sometimes the answers seem very apparent – who doesn’t want more income? But other times, we based on our goals not on a financial reward but on a personal achievement. Whatever motivated you to write that goal down can be the motivation to stick to it.
- Examine how far you’ve already come. Maybe your goal was to keep better track of your paperwork during your trips. Your action plan may have included a new system. How’s it working for you? By examining what you’ve been working on, you can make necessary adjustments. The Envelope System isn’t working so well? How about taking pictures of your odometer and adding a time/date stamp with a caption about the load and sending it to yourself instead – or using our FileSafe™ image system – to keep your records. Trying a new system may be the motivation you need to continue.
- Look at your ultimate goal and set a short term goal to get you there. If you want to learn more about business management, it’s easy to buy a book and put off reading it. Breaking down the book by chapters and saying that you’re going to read a chapter per week is a far simpler way to achieve the end goal. By making the small steps that will get you there in the end. You can also consider alternatives – if reading isn’t working out, then maybe getting the book through Audible or your local e-library to download and listen while you’re driving. Give yourself little rewards for the little goals.
- Find help. You want to increase your hours on the road but spend too much time looking for safe and secure parking? Look into an app that might help you out like RoadBreakers. Is the upcoming IFTA going to pull you off the road too long? How can you get it done by someone else? Are you willing to pay for that? (We’ll just mention here that the TruckingOffice program can do it in less than a minute based on the information you enter for a dispatches and invoices.) Getting competent help who can cut down the time it would take you to do a task is worth the investment. Not sure that you’re managing your maintenance the best way? Then talk to a professional who can help you set up your truck’s maintenance schedule and probably prevent on-the-road breakdowns. (Just saying – TruckingOffice has a great Maintenance Module that tracks time as well as miles per truck. No extra charge – it’s part of the whole TruckingOffice trucking management software package.) Don’t think you have to do this all alone. Using a team can be the best way to get to your goals.
Motivate Yourself with Fun
Short Term Rewards. Reward yourself when you are doing well. Going back to the measurement post, a monthly review will show you the successes you’ve already accomplished. Celebrate accordingly. If getting a 10% change is worth an ice cream cone, what’s a 30% change worth? Steak? You decide what your rewards should be.
Share Your Success. Should you share your goals with others? Some studies say yes, others say no. Instead of sharing your goals, share your successes. If you’ve decreased the time it takes to send out your invoices to less than 24 hours after delivery, you should celebrate that. Maybe the people you’re with won’t truly appreciate the value of what you’ve done, but being with loved ones and celebrating together can be a strong motivator for future behavior.
Motivation is almost always internal. If you’re not keeping your goals in mind, you can’t keep your motivation in mind either. Take some time to review your goals this week. While you’re doing that, think about the people who will benefit from these changes. Don’t focus so much on the change itself. Change is hard and we’re programmed to fight it. Think about the end results, the improvements – the value of the goals. That may be enough to keep you on track as you head into that next stretch of highway, decorated with orange barrels for the next five miles.