As 2017 winds down, you’re probably starting to think about your business goals for next year.
Perhaps your big desire is to finally launch your business. Or, if you’ve already launched, you’ve got your eye on other targets – like more customers or clients, national exposure, higher income or a healthier work life balance.
“This will be the year,” you tell yourself. You’re inspired, you’re fired up, you’re ready to rock.
But along with all that good energy, there’s one unpleasant, nagging thought that just won’t go away:
I said all of this last year, too.
And the year before …
What is going to make this year any different?
Because while we talk a lot about dreams and goals as the New Year approaches, we talk a lot less about the nitty-gritty of making those dreams and goals a reality. As a result, intentions never get turned into action. Let’s run down some of the most common ways you might lose sight of your goals, and then plan some strategies to make things different next year.
1. You Don’t Shed What’s Not Working
Reaching your goals in 2018 doesn’t just mean moving toward the stuff that you want. It also means moving away from what you don’t want. Maybe that means breaking up with the clients who suck the life out of you, or giving up a social network where your business never found any traction. You can only be and do so much, so in 2018, put your energy where it counts. If something isn’t a “hell yes” for you, then it might be time to let it go or delegate that task to someone else on your team. (We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Work on your business, not in your business.) There is no shame in discontinuing a service, product or task that no longer works for you or your company. You most likely will be clearing space for something greater than you can imagine. Give the universe space to give you the projects, client or customers you truly desire.
2. You Aren’t Organized
We see you with the Post-it Notes strewn everywhere! A great organizational tool can help get your ideas out of your head and turn them into real-world actions. If you don’t have an online to-do list or project management software, this is a key upgrade to make in your business before 2018. At DesignGood, we rely on Asana to help us keep projects on track. But you have lots of options to choose from. The important thing is to choose a system that has the features you need and that you’ll enjoy using. Then break big goals down into smaller chunks. Sometimes big goals seem overwhelming. We like giving ourselves eight weeks to do something big. Figure out what that big idea is, and then break down what you can do every week for eight weeks to move toward it. You might have up to five things to accomplish each week, but just focus on a week at a time.
3. You Aren’t Clear on Your Big Picture
The first thing we want you to do with your new organization tool is to schedule regular blocks of time to check in on your big goals and keep them humming along. One way we stay on track is to keep a clear picture of what our goals will look like and feel like when we attain them. Visualization is a powerful tool. Spend time every week journaling about your goal and picturing yourself already there. Make a list of the reasons you want that goal. For example, it’s not enough to continuously say “I want to make more money.” Why do you want more money? Is it that deep down you’re looking for security, stability or financial freedom? Focus on those concepts, and what it might feel like to have those things in your business and your life.
4. You Don’t Trust Your Gut on Where to Focus
Are you spending time on any work that isn’t related to the unique value you add to your business? All those tasks are taking time, energy and focus away from your big goals, and it’s time to get them off your plate. The first step? Make a list of the tasks that really bring you joy and that only you can do. Step 2: Delegate anything that’s not on your list but that still needs to get done. A common misconception among entrepreneurs is that they can’t afford someone to help them. (Ever caught yourself saying something like “I have to do it all — I’m a startup!) The truth is, though, that you would become productive and profitable by passing some things off to someone else. We know it’s scary. But try it. You will be surprised at the new opportunities that open up when you’re not focusing on the little things. Read our guide to hiring expert help for your business for more ideas.
5. You Don’t Recharge
Have you ever been guilty of this? You start the year feeling awesome because you’ve read some motivating books and you took a little time to rest and recharge. Then you proceed to work like a crazy person the rest of the year, barely looking up from the daily grind. You fall right back into your old habits — which takes us right back to where we started this conversation.
Yes, it’s going to take hard work to reach your goals. But you also need to regularly pause in your work to replenish your reserves of energy and inspiration. Part of doing things differently this year is bringing new ideas and new methods to the table. So make some plans for that now: Sign up for a class (it doesn’t have to be related to your work, as long as it lights you up). Register for a conference where you’ll meet some fascinating people. You never know where that next idea will come from or glimmer of insight will appear.
Not sure where to start? Think about the things that interest you outside of your business that you might be able to creatively weave into what you are doing now.
People love hiring passionate people, so make sure you are still doing what you love. If you’re not, find a way to adjust your services or offerings. When you’re not 100% your audience can tell.
On that note, make sure you are treating your body well, too. Eat foods that make your body happy, move, and treat yourself to things you love. After all, why else are you working so hard? You are here to enjoy your life AND your business.
We’ve got more ideas and inspiration to lay the groundwork for an awesome 2018 coming up throughout the holiday season. So keep an eye on your inbox. We’d also love to partner with you to meet your 2018 goals. Get a head start on the new year by scheduling a call with us.
Much love + lots of gratitude,