With less than 3 weeks left of 2018 are you feeling the pressure? Did the year go as you hoped? If not, then I’m willing to bet that at least in part it was due to lack of adequate planning and goal setting.
Business goals are vital as they give us a sense of purpose and achievement. Setting a specific time period to accomplish our goals allows us to gradually and consistently work on them as we build momentum.
It is that type of motivation that helps us to strengthen and grow our businesses. When we complete a goal, big or small, there’s a sense of pride and happiness (that is quite hard to express in words) to motivate us for the year ahead.
If you prefer to listen, be sure to check out Episode 72 of The Business of Becoming podcast where I share insights on this exact topic.
Before we get started, please download the companion worksheet for this post. It will help guide you through what your 2019 can and should look like.
Alright, let’s get started!
Don’t Wait For December, Start Today
December is the usual time of year for reflections. It is indeed the month when we do the most self-analysis and start to plan out our goals for the upcoming year.
But why wait until December to review your goals, vision, and aspirations for your business?
The truth is, you can begin strategizing at any point in the year. In fact, creating a roadmap early on will help you to better organize and accomplish your goals. So no matter when you’ve come across this post, it’s the right time to get started!
Life is Unpredictable, Just Like Business
Let’s face it, life is unpredictable. You may constantly feel like you are playing catch-up — that obstacles keep appearing just when you catch your breath. You can never get ahead of the curve: things pile up on you so quickly that you can never put a 100 percent of your energy and focus into one thing. OK, I don’t wanna sound like a negative Nancy but you get the drift.
The best way we can create some certainty for ourselves in a world that is forever changing is to organize and carefully plan out the things that are within our control.
So whether you are a ‘planner’ or not, I make it really simple for you to strategically map out what your upcoming year can and should look like.
Because the main objective is creating your business around how you want to feel and the impact you want to have.
Here are 6 tips to help you make the most of your goal setting planning session.
6 Tips to Help You Set Goals and Plan Better
1. Plan the Next 3-6 Months Out
Start planning out the next 3 to 6 months ONLY. The reason for this is that you are more likely to stick with your goals if you plan in the near future.
You will be more capable of predicting any challenges that you might face along the way, and consequently plan accordingly. When we plan yearly or bi-yearly, things that deter us from persevering are more likely to come up.
Additionally, when we plan way in advance, we often get disillusioned into thinking that we have so much time; and naturally forget that small things have to be done today in order to realize our overall goals down the line.
This method (of planning out your next 3-6 months) also enables you to determine what works and what doesn’t work for you.
2. Take Your Time
All this planning requires time. So make time to plan.
Ideally, you should take an entire day and dedicate it to allowing yourself to brainstorm and to think creatively.
It is important to take breaks in-between brainstorming sessions to clear your head. Perhaps stop to get lunch or take some water breaks.
In saying that, you should also try to minimize distractions as much as possible. If family members, friends, or pets will serve as a distraction at home, try renting out a coworking space for the day.
Or perhaps take a walk to the local library or even rent out a hotel room.
3. Get Someone to Hold You Accountable
Feel free to share your ideas with a friend or family member — anyone you trust that can help to keep you accountable and give you honest feedback. Having someone to share your ideas and goals with may motivate and inspire your further; and also keep you honest.
You need to specifically find someone who will be frank with you if they feel like you’re selling yourself short or to point out things you may have missed. If you want an insight on who I share my goals and dreams with and who holds me accountable, be sure to listen to Episode 65 of The Business of Becoming podcast.
4. Reverse Engineer Your Calendar Based on Your Goals
It would help immensely if you note down your commitments on your calendar. When you start filling everything in, you’ll be aware of how much time you actually have. This exercise is also useful in ensuring that you don’t miss anything important.
Specifically, map out the details of everything you need to do to realize a particular goal. And I mean everything that you need to do.
More importantly, before you even start planning out your promotions and content, you need to know what your goals are. You shouldn’t randomly plug things into your calendar for the sake of it.
It’s all about strategy. Your content and sales offers should be scheduled to help you achieve your end goal.
5. Remove Personal Bias and Assumptions of What’s Possible
Sometimes, actually often times, you may find that you are the one holding yourself back. It is important to adjust your mindset so that you’re not limiting yourself.
Realize that it is OK to set a goal without having a solid plan around how you’re going to achieve it. It’s OK. Simply let go of the need to know the ‘how’ and create a realistic goal; then figure out the steps you need to take to achieve said goal.
Just don’t give up on yourself when you encounter a challenge. Think outside the box, ask people, research how others have done it, etc.
Remember that it’s simply just part of the process.
6. Plan According to Your Own Brain
We all process information differently so there is no right or wrong way to structure your planning session and editorial calendar.
Simply write in a way that you understand. Your planning session should be structured in a way that works best for you.
My advice is to just write it all out. Putting pen to paper will make everything seem so much more doable and laid out.
It’s Time to Reflect
So you have successfully set your goals and planned out the next year for your business. It’s now time to review this past year.
Perhaps this past year hasn’t played out the way you hoped it would. But do you believe that everything that happened, happened exactly the way it was supposed to, for you?
Sometimes it can be hard to accept that everything happens for a reason. One thing that we can do with all the highs and the lows that happen to us over the course of a year is to try and learn a lesson from each of them.
Reflecting on the negatives can be very helpful, as we learn from our mistakes and become less doomed to repeat them. Reflecting on the positives also provides lessons in the sense that we learn about things that we should keep doing to multiply our happiness and successes.
Here’s the thing that I believe with every fiber of my being: we might not be able to control every situation but we can control how we react, how we feel and how we show up in those moments.
I honestly cannot stress the importance of doing a review of your past year. Write down the things that worked well for you; the things that didn’t; how you can show up in a way that makes you proud the next time; and what you want to do more or less of in 2019.
Always ask yourself why you think something happened the way that it did and the lesson(s) that can be learned from the experience.
Make a list of the 5 biggest lessons that you learned, and what they taught you about yourself. Also make a list of 5 things that you are proud of achieving.
Never forget to pat yourself on the back and appreciate the hard work and motivation that enabled you to achieve your objectives, big or small.
I would love to hear how your planning session for the new year went! What are the biggest lessons you learned this year? How about your biggest accomplishments? Share with me in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram which is where I love hanging out, if you DM me over there I promise it’s me that will answer.