Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Make Next Year Your Best Year Ever

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”Pablo Picasso

The following statement will get me in trouble with ATI Instructor Randy Somers, but here it is: I have a problem with the goal poster.  As I share my black Friday experience, you’ll understand why.

On black Friday I went to the shopping mall. My goal was to enter through the automatic doors at the main entrance. I conducted an experiment to see what I could do to get the doors to open for me. First, I sat in the parking lot, closed my eyes, and imagined the doors opening. It didn’t work.

Next, I got out of the car, walked up to the main entrance and just stood there. I repeated positive affirmations like “The door will open for me,” and “I’m in the mall already.” It didn’t work.

From there, I pulled out my smartphone, accessed my goal poster app and added a picture of the open doors. No matter how long I stared at my poster, it didn’t work. Finally, since what I was doing wasn’t working, I changed my approach. (Hint, Hint)

I moved forward in the direction of the door, and then it opened. So, what does this have to do with you and your shop?

Your goals are like automatic doors. You won’t get to where you want to be until you start moving towards them. When you view your goals, does it feel like you’re on the wrong side of the door?

This is why I have a problem with the goal poster.

I believe that this goal poster lulls you into a false sense of security. It leads you to believe that all you have to do is cut out cute pictures of the things you want, and they will magically appear in your life.

For example, if you picture a stack of money, the money will magically appear in your account. If you picture an exotic vacation, you’ll wake up tomorrow morning in Aruba.

Here’s the hard truth about goal posters: If you create a poster without the commitment to take the required actions, your poster is just a picture of all the things you won’t have! Without action, you won’t have the stack of money. Without action, you’ll still be in Augusta instead of Aruba.

Now, I do believe the goal poster can be effective if you’re committed to taking the necessary level of action. So how can you set goals in a way that inspires you to move in their direction? Keep reading, because implementing these strategies can make next year your best year ever.

Fast Forward to Your Future

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey coined the following phrase: “Begin with the end in mind.” This represents habit #2 of the seven habits and it refers to the idea of having a clear vision of what you want.

This is great advice, but the challenge is that we tend to become detached from goals that are off in the distant future. A distant desire will lack the emotion that drives you into action. Therefore, you must fast forward to your future.

Imagine that it’s December of 2018 and you are talking to yourself. You say “Self, this has been the best year ever!” What three to five specific things would need to happen for you to feel this way? These items would represent your goals for 2018.

Next, ask yourself why you want these goals. Don’t stop asking why until you get down to how it will make you feel. For example, your goal of paying down the line of credit will give you a feeling of freedom.

Your goal of $2 million dollars in sales will give you a feeling of security. Becoming a Top Shop will give you a feeling of accomplishment. These feelings are what will inspire you to act. You can connect to this feeling by fast-forwarding to your future. 

Focus on the Process

At this point, you’ve imagined yourself in the future state, asked why you want your goal, and drilled down to the feeling behind the goal. So now you’re ready to have your best year ever, right? Wrong!

Stopping at this step is like standing in front of the automatic doors waiting for them to open! Next, you must focus on the process. I recommend focusing more of your attention on the process than the outcome.

For example, if your 2018 goal is to hire a general manager, focus on the process of interviewing at least one person per week. If your goal is to improve your Average Repair Order by $100, focus on the process of doing the daily repair order audits.

If your goal is to improve your car count by 25%, focus on the process of updating your marketing calendar with the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities that will get you there! 

Please understand that focusing on the process doesn’t guarantee that you will achieve greatness in 2018. It’s a risk. I get it. However, since it’s impossible to become great without focusing on the process, the risk is worth it!


So, there you have it. If you fast forward to your future and focus on the process, you can make next year your best year ever. When it comes to your goals, which side of the door are you on?

P.S. Looking for a tool to help you set goals that inspire you to take the necessary actions? Email to receive your 2018 Goal Setting Worksheet.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.