I know you’ve probably read a million and one posts (at least) by this point discussing the power of goal setting and how to dream bit and set big milestones for yourself in 2017. How our goals need to be “measurable” and “specific”, and how we need to be thinking about the “big picture”, or where we see ourselves by 2018… But, to quote brilliant Marie Forleo, “No matter how many times an idea has been expressed or shared in the world, sometimes is takes that one person expressing it in their voice for it to actually get through…”
If this post is the one that helps you really find clarity and confidence in your goals. Awesome! And if not, then I hope to at least reaffirm your confidence in your goals for 2017. This is our process that has helped us build both our business and our life to where we are today.
Before we jump right into the goal setting process, let’s set a few guidelines in place to help keep ourselves focused and intentional.
Get excited. Your goals should inspire you, excite you, and even scare you sometimes. They should be specific, measurable and thought of in present tense; not something you’ll do later… but something you can begin taking action on today.
Make sure each goal is measurable. This means it has specific criteria that you can easily track progress on, helping you to adjust and edit the goal or steps involved in achieving it.
So instead of saying “I want to monetize my blog this new year,” be more specific by making it measurable, “I want to bring in 50K through my blog by the end of December 2017.” This not only gives you a clear deadline, but a specific number to shoot for that you see as credible and worthy. It also helps you then break down this big goal into smaller more digestible goals to accomplish monthly.
Reflect Before Your Set
Before setting new goals, it’s important to look at previous ones to see where you’ve grown and where you still need to invest some time, energy, or money. Take time to look outside at where your brand stands as it relates to your overall professional and personal goals. This will help you to better identify where to invest in your own success in 2017.
For example, if you goal is to make more money, what avenues brought in the most income last year and how can you set goals to increase their revenue this year? Or, if your goal is to launch your signature course this year, what were some of your most popular posts last year, or most engaged content that you can use to set a specific topic for your course and create an actionable strategy behind?
First – Think Long Term
I’m talking about creating a long term vision for your ideal personal and business life, then setting personal and professional goals that will guide you toward that outcome. This is definitely part of the big picture planning you will want to make for your business as it will greatly factor into the other goal-setting stages.
When clients ask about how to create their own business, I often respond by what their ideal life looks like? Then, create a business that complements that. You may want to do one thing professionally, but your personal life calls for a different kind of career path. You need to find a balance between both in order to really build something with the potential to last and grow or expand as your life does.
The biggest mistake a small business can make is to think like a small business.
While I personally hate the question “where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years…” because, come on, who really can answer that question? It’s hard to see yourself even one year into the future sometimes. But, it is actually hugely helpful in setting long term, measurable goals as it will effect the smaller ones you’ll set along the way.
For example, while right now we are just renters with no kids and the freedom to live and work wherever we want, we know that at some point we do want to start a family, put down roots, and purchase a house. This means that we need to set both financial goals for our income that will allow us to get to a place that we can afford these things, as well as expansion goals to create a business that is sustainable with or without us, allowing us to start our family and not be strictly tied to one-on-one client work for income.
Next – Break It Down
When we only focus on the big stuff, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or distracted from the things that we really need to focus on day to day. So along with our big scary audacious goals, we need to be able to simplify with smaller more immediate goals along the way, and that starts with the small stuff.
For each big goal, break it down into smaller pieces that you can set shorter, more attainable deadlines for and reset new goals as you accomplish each one. Give each on a shorter deadline and specific criteria to that smaller piece that will help you stay productive in reaching the larger, complete goal.
For example, if you want to increase your social following. Set a percentage that you want to increase your following by. Then, break it down by setting smaller goals and percentages that you can work towards to help build up to your original big goal outcome.
Saying you want to increase your Instagram following to 10K is super scary and can seem very distant. But setting smaller weekly goals to increase following and engagement by 15% and then defining the actions you’ll take to make that happen will help get you to that 10K before you know it.
Then – Set the Small Stuff
Goals don’t always have to be big overwhelming life changers. Sometimes the simplest goals can make the greatest difference in the long run. And sometimes, it’s the small goals that help keep you motivated to achieve the big ones.
Never undervalue the importance of the simple things like waking up a little earlier to accomplish that much more in your day, finally organizing your design files, returning emails that have been piling up in your inbox, finishing that book you’ve been wanting to read, working out one extra day a week… If you only focus on the big ideas, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or feel like nothing is moving forward. But, by taking the time to stop and acknowledge all the little steps along the way, you’ll stay motivated and driven to keep growing.
Think big this new year, but don’t forget to also think small. Small goals are just as powerful. We are small businesses after all and we’ve seen the powers that come from being small.
And Finally – Set Action Steps for Success
No matter how specific or measurable a goal is, it’s only words until you’ve put action behind it. As you set each new goal, big or small, define the actions behind your strategy for achieving this goal.
Words may inspire but only action creates change
Whether this means investing in eCourses and educating yourself in an area that you’re lacking, hiring a business coach to help audit your creative processes and systems to identify ways to streamline and strengthen your client’s experiences, or finally hiring a designer to help you build the brand and website that you’ve been needing to fully take your online business to a whole new elevated level of success, now is the time to start taking action.
I have created a special worksheet to help you define and outline your big goals and what you can do to help actually achieve them. Download your Brand Action Strategy Worksheet HERE.
Our goal is always to help you look as professional online as you do in person, so if you are ever in need of assistance or have any business building questions, never hesitate to reach out and ask.