Seems like everywhere you turn there’s someone writing about why it’s so important to set goals for yourself. #AmIRight The reason we’re seeing it everywhere right now is that January is the natural time to look forward and think about what you want to achieve for the next 12 months. And for most small businesses, the first week of January is pretty slow so it’s the perfect time to plan.
We KNOW it’s important to set goals. We’ve heard it a thousand times. But how do you actually reach the goals you’ve set?
We’re going to share our method for setting goals. And we know it works – just check out our year-end post.
[pullquote] We’ve even created a handy Goal Setting Worksheet for you. Get it here. [/pullquote]
get real with yourself
Have a little heart-to-heart with yourself or your business partner. Go for a walk or have a glass of wine – no judgement here. Spend some time thinking about what you’ve accomplished over the last year. What went right? What did you think you’d achieve, but didn’t? Be honest about why some goals didn’t happen. Were you trying to take on too much or did your business change in some way? The key here is to be mindful about what worked and what didn’t.
Now that you’ve spent time thinking about the successes (and failures) of last year, you can be more clear about your goals for the upcoming year. This isn’t to say you’re going to set easier goals. It just means that you’re being more mindful about the direction your business is heading.
PRO TIP: Include at least one goal that would be a total stretch, but would be absolutely amazing if you achieved it.
write it down
We’re sure you’ve heard this one before, but you’re going to hear it again. There’ve been studies done about goal setting and what’s been consistently found is when writing down goals, people are 70% more likely to achieve them.
The best place to start is to brainstorm. Take a big piece of paper and start writing down all the things you want to accomplish by the end of the year. We like to hang huge poster sized post-it notes on our office wall and break out some fun colored markers. Once you have this random collection of intentions, start breaking them down into categories.
If you haven’t heard of the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, you should check it out. There are so many great lessons about achieving goals in the book. One of the points that made an impact on me, is to choose ONE THING each day that will get you closer to what you want in your life.
Essentially, create categories for each of the things you want to accomplish. And not just for business either. Maybe one of your goals is to have a better relationship with your spouse. The advice from the book suggests that you choose just one thing each day that will support that desire. It doesn’t have to be sweeping gesture. Just one thing, like sending a text letting him or her know how much you appreciate them.
Creating categories for your goals can help you to prioritize what is most important. It can also be a way to see if you’re trying to take on too much. Here are some examples of categories for your business: blogging, client work, speaking, people you want to meet, financial goals, books you want to read. You get the idea.
break it down
Now that you have your categories you can organize your goals. We like to color code ours on big post-it notes, but you might prefer a spreadsheet. Use whatever method works best for you. Take a look at each of your goals. Can you break them down into actionable steps? Maybe you have a goal of using more social media this year. That’s pretty broad and it would also be difficult to measure. Instead, create specific steps to make your goal easier to reach.
Goal: Use Social Media More This Year
– Post to Facebook once per day
– Post to twitter three times per day
– share content from other sources
– create exclusive content once per week
Now apply the concept of One Thing. You can find one thing each day to work toward each of your goals. This makes it much less overwhelming.
Without accountability, most of us fail. It’s so much easier to brush off tasks and goals when there is no one to hold us responsible. If you have a business partner, you have no excuse. Each of you are able to step up when needed, and you push each other to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. If you work alone, this can be a little more challenging, but chances are you know at least one other person who works alone too.
Find someone you respect and ask her to be your accountability buddy. Check in with each other once a week and state what you’re working on and what you plan to accomplish. If you’re a little more competitive, you can make a game out of it by seeing who got more done on their to-do list. A good reward is lunch for the winner.
You could also form a mastermind group where you meet other businesswomen once a month to talk about goals. This can be especially helpful if you work alone. And it could give you a reason to get dressed and out of your jammies. You know who you are, wink wink.
we want to hear from you
Do you use any of these methods for setting goals for your business? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t. Share with us on our FB Page.