No matter how close it is to the end of the year, it is important to have goals for now and the future. However, as we inch closer to December 31, you may be feeling an intense need to finish the year on an high note and start the new year the same way. You may have sales quotas or accounts that need to be closed, whatever finish line you are looking to cross, the pressure can make it difficult to enjoy the holidays. However, there are a few simple things you can do to set yourself up for a successful new year.
Take inventory. Create a list of all that you have accomplished this year.
During the last few weeks and months of the year, take a look at goals that you have accomplished. How many blog posts have you written? How many clients have you closed? How many sponsors have you brought on? How many speaking engagements have you had? How many days a week did you exercise? Were you able to spend quality time with friends and family? Did you reach your revenue goals? Did you hit the mark that you set for yourself or did you miss it? What worked? What didn’t?
If you created a list of personal, financial, operations, legal and/or team goals for your business last year, now is a good time to get that list out to see how close or how far you are from where you wanted to be at this time. Use this as an opportunity to gauge your momentum, not an excuse to beat yourself up. If you did not set specific benchmarks for yourself to reach this year, now is a good time to simply assess what you did accomplish and what you will strive to do better at.
Focus on what is working. Tweak what is not.
When you have a clear idea about where you have been and where you intended to go, you will be able to analyze your hits and misses. You also may be able to gain clarity about areas where your priorities have shifted and new areas that you would like to develop. Entrepreneurship is an evolutionary journey and flexibility is incredibly important. Now is the time of year when it becomes evident that our business goals may be changing course or getting more fine tuned. Whatever the case may be, accept it for what it is and look forward with a better understanding of where you have been and where you are going.
The more we focus on something, the more it grows.
Once you have taken inventory of your year, it is time to set new goals for next year, but that’s not the end of this process. Remember to include the balance of personal health and wellness, relationship health, education, inspiration and spirituality as well as your business goals. Get specific in terms of business systems. Do you have benchmarks that you can set that will allow you to track your growth along the way? For instance, how far should you be 3 months, 6 months, 9 months into the year if you want to increase sales?
Get 2 clean sheets of paper (or spreadsheets if you are technically inclined). One will be for personal goals. The other will be for professional goals. On the personal sheet, create columns for the different areas that you would like to focus on in the new year: personal growth, diet and fitness, marriage, children, education, travel, spirituality, money and so on. On the professional list, create columns for branding, marketing, sales, client services, finances, team, business development, etc.
Don’t filter your list, just keep going and literally construct the ideal scenario for you in the new year. This may be a process that you start and go back to as new ideas come up. It may be something that produces a flood of emotion. It may be a huge relief for you to get it all out on paper so that you can look at it. Or it may feel like a chore. Just keep going until you feel like your personal and professional goals are laid out.
As soon as your goals are in front of you, highlight the 3 that are most important for you to achieve this year. Then, go through your list and number each goal by level of importance. Work backwards from each goal and create a task list that is necessary in order to accomplish each goal. Keep in mind that there will be some goals that you may need to research to create a reasonable action plan. Some goals may go onto your 3 year plan and others may fall off the list when you visualize what achieving them will actually mean to the other areas of your life.
Creating this list of goals and action steps is your road map for the next year to three years. It is also your road map to success.
If you want to live a life where you feel successful, you must lay out exactly what you want, why you want it and then create a plan to make it happen. Challenges will present themselves, but you will have a greater clarity about how to overcome them, if you have clearly outlined goals and a map that guides you toward achieving them. The process of writing down your goals is your first step toward achieving them. It will also give you a boost in confidence with the work that you do and provide you with a greater feeling of power in your life.
Commit to taking 3 days to go through this process and see the impact that it has for you in the new year. What do you have to lose?