Are you planning to make New Year’s Resolutions? Why not ditch the resolutions this year and make some SMART goals you want to reach instead. There are a couple of reasons why resolutions may not work well for you. If they do, great. Keep doing what you’re doing, but if they don’t, then read on.
We’re so used to breaking our resolutions, that we start to think it's okay to try a little and then give up. It’s a mindset thing. A goal on the other hand, particularly if it’s a SMART goal (read more about setting SMART goals here), is something we believe we can reach. That makes us work a little harder and not give up on the end goal.
Resolutions tend to be pretty vague. We want to gain more visibility, start a podcast or make more money. None of that is very specific. When do you want to start gaining visibility and how are you going to go about doing it? What does it mean to you to start a podcast? How much money do you want to have in the bank, are you looking at gross or net profit, and what specifically will you use your money for? Asking yourself questions like these will help you cut through the vagueness of resolutions to create SMART goals out of them.
Goals allow you to be a lot more specific. You can set attainable goals with a deadline and milestones, mini goals, or specific steps along the way. These are all components of what makes a goal a SMART goal. Some goals are short-term and others are long-term. Because resolutions are so vague, we usually don't even set time frames with them. We make them on January 1st and we vaguely say we are going to stick with them but, because we haven't applied the SMART method to those resolutions, they are more apt to fall off our radar sooner.
The way I see it, there are two distinct problems (but I also have solutions for them so keep reading...)
Early in January we feel like we have so much time to get our act together. You decide that your goal is to get more visible. You do a couple of Facebook Lives but then you stop because you aren't receiving the views you want. You try writing blogs but it's just not your cup of tea so you stop. You reach out to 2 or 3 influencers to request interviews but they all turn you down so you stop. The visibility goal disappears as fast as a grandma Ruth's chocolate fudge. By the time you start thinking about the goal again, it's April and then, before you can make a new plan of action, it's summer. You want to start again but September isn't good because you're busy with getting the kids back into a school routine. Before you know it, it's November or December and then you're discouraged, thinking it's just too late in the year to make a difference anymore. Now getting more visibility just seems like another impossible goal to reach and you wonder why you set such a goal in the first place.
So what should you do instead? It’s fine to make a goal at the beginning of the year. Just don’t stop there. Apply the SMART method.
First, be more specific.
What’s the goal you’d like to reach? Put down a number, or describe what your end goal looks like. When do you want to reach your goal by? Choose a date that is reachable but stretches you out of your comfort zone enough to be uncomfortable yet not so challenging it's impossible.
Second, set some mini goals or steps along the way.
If you have a big goal like gaining visibility during the coming year, set mini goals. For example, two Facebook Lives each month, one blog post, and/or reaching out to three influencers each week for interviews . Check in with yourself every week and make sure you’re still on track.
If you can, get ahead of schedule --- reach out to 6 people in one week if you know that you're taking vacation the next week or ask a virtual assistant to help you out.
Remember, things will happen: you might get sick; there might be unexpected times you'll be faced with tech issues; or you might just want to take an unplanned break. Getting ahead of your goal schedule gives you a bit of a buffer to work with. And all this tracking will help you keep accountable and stick with your goals well into spring, summer, and beyond.
Here are five suggestions for helping you to set SMART goals and stay on track with them:
1. Join a goal setting workshop or work with a coach to create your goals and give yourself the gift of working on those goals. This will help you not only to create those SMART goals but, a the workshop like the one I offer each January, will help you create the smaller steps too! You can check out the details HERE.
2. Join a peer group specifically designed for keeping you and your business moving forward. If you're serious about wanting accountability, support, and guidance while working on your goals to grow your business, I have a new program launching soon. Sign up here to be added to the waitlist for more information and I'll email you a free copy of my business success planning workbook.
3. Get an accountability partner or join an accountability group. This is super helpful for keeping you on track and honest about your progress. You can partner with me for weekly 1:1 accountability or you can join my free Facebook group, Business Growth for Service Providers, and be surrounded by like-minded people.
4. Use a planner to help clearly outline your goals and their steps. My favorite is the one offered by Tools 4 Wisdom. I love the size, the graphics, and it contains all the things I'm looking for in a planner. Check out the variety of planners that I recommend on my resources page.
5. Check out my free resources for business planning and more by visiting Free Resources.
If you struggle with managing your time or staying focused on the must-do tasks, Pamela is your business soulmate.