Only 2 weeks into the new year and the festive period feels like many moons ago. If that is not an indication of how quickly time moves then I don’t know what is. So how is this new year shaping up for you?
THE SET UP
You’ve turned the page. You’re facing a clean, blank space. Now what? Or are you one of the lucky ones that knows exactly what should happen now?
Not everybody is inclined to set goals for the next months ahead. Many people throw a few ideas around in their head and think job done - I am sorted. Personally, that approached is not for me. Tried and tested that to major failure. To be honest, to write down the goals you’re aiming for is not only a great act of discipline, but also the best way to measure your results. It is a fact that you will accomplish more if you follow this simple, yet effective method.
A straight-forward Excel sheet / table in Word (Numbers and Pages for us Apple users) will do the trick: 4 columns with headings such as Goal. Action, Time Scale and Result. Add 2 - 3 Row Headings e.g. Business Development and Personal Development. In general that is all it takes. Now your blank sheet has got meaning and gives you a great indication of how to proceed. Done and dusted. Those of us whom are fairly Branded orientated will obviously spend a bit more time on creating this important document (the look&feel has to be on par, right?).
Hopefully the most exciting part for you starts here with Column 1. It’s all action and go from here.
Take some time and figure out what you want to accomplish by the end of your 12 month period. Be realistic, yet not outrages. There is no need to write down a list of goals as long as your arm. Besides that, writing down aims that is clearly not achievable are not going to work either. To set yourself over the top benchmarks will leave you eventually disappointed or even let you give up before you started.
If goal setting is new to you aim for about 3 to 5 goals maximum. Be authentic and most of all, make them specific. After all, this is about you, your business and your future. Once you see them black on white, take time to ponder over them until you are happy with what you’re aiming for.
Onto the next column. This section is of utter importance and should be tackled with a clear mind. Now you have to figure out what the time scale is for each goal. How long should it take you to reach this milestone? Again, no point in setting ridiculous end times. If you feel you can master a particular goal within a short amount of time, then good. On the other hand, give yourself ample time rather than set yourself up for disappointment by not fulfilling your goal since you overestimated yourself.
To reach a goal within a shorter period of time than originally aimed for is very exciting. That feeling of getting there before you’re suppose to is exhilarating beyond believe. It will also give you a great indication that although being cautious you can push the boat out a bit further next time. Rather be safe than sorry the saying goes and it’s true. Don’t get desponded because you have underestimated yourself. Remember you aimed for something you had no idea if it will work or not. But guess what? It did work and very well indeed. Kudos to yourself in such a situation.
Column 4 and now we’re talking bolts and nuts. This section will be visited by the end period of your goal exercise. By the time you reach this part of your year months would’ve passed. Many hours of labour, sweat and who knows, even tears will have been shed. Now is the time for your results.
Allocate enough time in your diary to complete this section. You now have to look back over the months and face facts. More so, you now have to be very honest and brutal with yourself. The time has come to assess you’re goals and the milestones you set out for yourself.
Take each goal one by one. Cast your mind back and write down exactly what happened about this particular aim you had. If you have accomplished it, then great. Pat yourself on the back and reveal exactly how, when and what you did to make this goal a reality. I can guarantee you there will be a massive smile on your face in such a case. Better still if you can complete this section for each goal with positive remarks and outcomes. Amazing. Just brilliantly amazing. Well done! You did what you envisaged for yourself. You proved you had vision, dreams and passion. You had the right idea all those months ago. You Did It.
The hope within me is that you will realise it was a great exercise. To not only visualise your future, but to put it down in words were one of the best parts of your year - perhaps even your business too.
However, what about not reaching goal/s entirely, I hear you ask? Don’t stress. It is not the end of the world, so to speak. More importantly is the fact that you had the vision months ago and you tried. We all have failures in life and business. Learn from them. Look back and figure out where you went wrong whilst trying to accomplish this specific goal. Maybe even add it to your list for the next year. Try again, and who knows, you could quite possibly crush it perhaps even well before the end date.
One other system that I find works well is to revisit your goals about 3 times (every quarter) per 12 month period. Set a reminder in your diary and spend about an hour or so checking exactly what you proposed for yourself at the beginning of your goal setting exercise. You may find that you can even complete column 4 since the goal/s are done. A revisit will also keep your mind focussed on what needs to be done by when. It will also help with your final appraisal at the end of your 12 months since quite a few facts/figures will already be entered and therefore make the whole process that much easier and smoother.
Reach out and shout if there is anything that you’re not sure about or need help with. And remember… You Can Do It. The only criteria is that You Take Action.
All the best with setting your milestones for this year. More so, good luck with putting your shoulder to the wheel to make them all come true.