The end of the calendar year tends to be the time everyone sets goals. (New Year resolutions, anyone?) It feels like a fresh start … out with the old, in with the new. A new beginning to wipe the slate clean and feel motivated to do all those things we’ve been wanting to do. And then, a couple months later, we fall back into our old routine. We forget about our goals when life gets in the way, and sometimes we never return to them until the end of the following year. “Oh yeah, remember all those things I wanted to accomplish by now?”
If you struggle with goal setting, you are certainly not alone. I’ve been running my blog for five years but 2016 is the first year I actually sat down, brainstormed what I want out of my business (and my life), wrote everything down, and revisited my goals throughout the year. And you know what? Sure, I didn’t cross everything off my list. I’m not as close to my Big Crazy Dreams as I wish I was, but I got way more done this year than if I hadn’t set any goals at all. I’m sharing my tricks with you below. Keep these four items in mind when you’re goal setting and I promise you will be successful with your achievements.
How to Set Attainable Goals for the New Year
1. Dream big, but set small goals. Do you have big dreams that seem utterly unattainable? Yeah, me too. It’s probably unrealistic to say “I want a six figure income by the end of my first year in business,” but we can probably break that down into smaller, more reasonable goals that will help get us to our larger goal. “I want to attend 6 networking events this month and hand out 60 business cards.” “I want to publish one blog post this week that shows off what my business can do.” “I am going to get the ball rolling on my new website design by researching designers.” These are all small goals that will eventually push you towards your big goal.
2. WRITE THINGS DOWN. Honestly, if I don’t write things down, they don’t exist. Grocery shopping lists, relatives’ birthdays, scheduling yoga into my calendar. Why would goals be any different? I love my paper planner because there is space to write down your goals each week and each month. If I write down my goals, I feel like I have a sense of purpose. I sit at my desk in the morning, I look at my planner, and – BOOM – I know what I need to be doing. Actually writing down my goals (hand writing, not typing) makes them more real.
3. Find an accountability partner. Being self-employed is hard, y’all. Hard and lonely. Find another lonely entrepreneur and hold each other accountable for getting stuff done. Knowing someone else is tracking your goals is a big motivator. You can even make bets, if that works for your personalities. If you don’t finish rebranding your website or updating your social media bios or writing that blog post, then you have to buy dinner for your accountability partner. Trust me, it’s nice to have someone kicking you in the metaphorical butt now and then.
4. Reward your progress. Give yourself proper credit when you reach a goal! Treat yourself to a small reward for working hard and making a dent in your goals.
Setting small goals – weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly – will give you something to work towards and get you closer and closer to your Big Crazy Dreams that may seem impossible … for now.