How are your new year’s resolutions going?
I don’t really believe in those.
If you could only could go by with one resolution, that should be to learn how to control yourself.
It’s been one of my biggest breakthroughs this past week.
I’m back in Italy visiting family for a while and the challenge was to enjoy all the amazing festivity food, while avoiding overeating on dangerous and tempting days like the 24th and 25th.
I admittedly failed.
But it’s been a big lesson that’s sinking in.
Sometimes we have to face our demons and lose our battles to learn from them and win the war.
Best of all, these lessons apply to figuring out human beings. And that’s what all of us are doing mostly subconsciously, every moment. Both as family members and friends, but also as business owners.
The better you understand yourself and what motivates you or drives you, the better you understand what drives others. The deepest human traits haven’t changed much in a while.
Anyway, I was thinking about all this as I was reviewing 2022 and planning for the new year. I usually take a week to do this.
A cup of coffee, lo-fi music, no distractions – just thinking and envisioning what lies ahead.
As I was reflecting on how bad I felt for indulging in all that delicious extra food to the point of almost feeling sick afterwards, I tried to understand why.
Because if you think about it, the reasons behind not being able to resist these impulses, these reactive and uncontrolled urges, are at the basis of why people buy (or don’t).
We’d all love for our prospects to find what we sell so irresistible that they would stuff their face with it.
At the foundation of the kind of planning I’ve been doing there’s the concept of the “action-result gap”.
In other words, as entrepreneurs or freelancers, when working on big projects, it’s hard to sustain motivation because the gap between your actions and the results is very wide. On the other hand, whenever you’re biting the 6th double chocolate muffin, the satisfaction is immediate. Maintaining momentum and reaching for the next one, and the one after, is easy.
So, as part of my yearly plan, the aim is to create micro milestones that can give me the emotional satisfaction I need, in the moment to keep pursuing my bigger goals.
In the program I’m following which is from the guys at Commit Action(productivity coaching for entrepreneurs and freelancers), they call these “proximal goals”, or “things that we can aim at and check off that are not achieving the goal, but are a proxy for achieving the goal.“
I thought this was super relevant to what we could do with our copy and UX.
How can you create proximal goals for your prospects as they go about their way on your website or through your email sequence, so that they constantly feel motivated and emotionally satisfied?
This is the key to lowering bounce rate and retain as much of your traffic as possible.
Examples of these proximal goals for your visitors might be:
- Providing them with all the information they need even before they ask for it in your live chat
- Making it easy for them to compare pricing plans or products
- Optimizing your website navigation so they can find what they’re looking for step by step
- Setting expectations with your copy at every micro-conversion / click
- Showcasing your product with engaging GIFs or quick explainer videos
- Giving them a glimpse into your team and values so they can start to trust you
- And most importantly writing copy that feels as crunchy and at the same time juicy as a double salted caramel and butter bar (I know, muffins are fluffy, but for copy’s sake, let’s steer clear of fluffy). This means following a structure like the “What, How, Why“.
You get the idea…
Every one of these goals should make them feel like they just got value.
And that’s where a lot of businesses mess up.
They see their pages, emails, copy and UX merely as pieces of their funnel.
But they are also part of your product and brand. And as such, they should be valuable.
In the form of clarity, education and emotional connection.
When you change your frame on this stuff, converting prospects becomes way easier.
And what about your personal and business plans?
Here are two thought exercises I got from Commit Action that I highly recommend you go through before planning out your goals for 2023:
- Write a letter to your end-of-2022 self . Tell them everything you’ve achieved in the past year, all the challenges they should expect and all the rewards that came as a result of overcoming them.
- Write another letter to the present you, as if you were your end-of-2023 self. The new year just went by, you learned a ton and also achieved the goals you had in mind. What can the present you learn and expect?
Both of these are excellent for broadening your vision and start placing some of those proximal goals in your back burner, so you can brainstorm them later.
Try it and let me know how it goes.
Happy 2023, let’s kick some ass.
I’ve been going through the yearly planning with Commit Action and will start their weekly coaching next week. If you click on this link or any of the others in this email, you and I will get $200 off our memberships. I want to write a review once I get going, so keep an eye out for that too.
Quote and reflection of the day:
“There are only a few who control themselves and their affairs by a guiding purpose; the rest do not proceed; they are merely swept along, like objects afloat in a river.” – Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
Control over yourself is the hardest skill to master. But when you do master it, you unlock the chance to dominate over your environment and circumstances too as a byproduct. To direct the course of your life.