It’s that time of year again – the time when resolutions (and the pressure to attain them) come back around. We’ve all experienced the desire at one point or another to achieve personal growth but what about business and career growth? Much like our New Year’s resolutions which, according to US News, 80% of which fail by the 2nd week of February each year, the same caveats apply. Whether it’s maintaining the motivation and enthusiasm to work toward your goal from day one to day of or staying fearless of the very change you desire, sticking to your goals can be the most difficult challenge to overcome in pursuit of your business objectives.
As you may be holding your breath to ask – what’s the solution? How do we take those obstacles and turn them into successes? The truth is simple yet sometimes easier said than done. Identifying and setting new goals for the upcoming year takes some good, hard evaluation and a realistic vision.
First step: evaluate your weaknesses
Perhaps the hardest part of setting business goals and planning for growth is identifying where you need to grow. You don’t need to set an out-of-this-world, impossible goal that can only be met when the clock hits zero at the end of the year. Start in small increments and map out more manageable goals that you can actually see yourself achieving, including your goals’ respective start dates. Is it viable to start on the first of the year, or is there a goal that makes more sense to tackle in the second quarter? Remember that your yearly plan doesn’t mean that you have to rush to complete it by February, or even September. Genuine goals take time to complete!
Elements of identifying and setting business goals
The best thing you can do when setting business goals is to make them realistic and quantifiable if possible. For example: if you’re thinking, ‘I’d love to make more money in 2019’, think instead about what numbers are attainable for your business. Scale your goal back as much as possible to simplistic terms. Think instead, ‘I’d love to increase my sales by 5%’ or ‘I’d love to gain x press pickups this quarter.’
I like to call this being goal-SMART:
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you follow through is pairing your goal with an action for you to accomplish. This makes your end result seem much more tangible, and you’re more likely to pursue it.
Keeping up with the goals you set
Believe it or not, getting over the hurdle of mapping out what to set your sights on is one of the easier parts. Following through with the plan of action well past January is what most have an issue with. A good way to defeat the sluggish feeling is to define a deadline. The easiest deadline seems to be the end of the year, but setting tighter timelines for yourself may help keep you on track. Otherwise, your goal is only a dream.
Physically recording your progress is another great way to hold yourself responsible, even if they’re stepping stones on the way to your goals. Reviewing your plan and incremental successes towards larger goals regularly will keep you motivated for the finish line.
The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to strategizing for the new year and setting business goals is to encourage yourself and continue your education. Be your biggest motivator and learn everything you can from those in your industry that have achieved what you’re setting out to gain. Lastly, don’t discredit any amount of momentum—no matter how small it may seem—on the way to your planned goals!