Even though New Year’s Day has come and gone, hopefully your resolutions, goals, intentions or whatever you choose to call them are still going strong. Most of us have either already broken them or they are hanging on by a thread. Either way, consider this post a beginning, or a refresher, encouragement to get back on the wagon with your business goals or even a cheerleader on sidelines if you’re still strongly in the race!
The point is to stay inspired and to stay connected to the state you were in when you created the goals. This is why it’s best to set goals from a positive and inspired state of mind rather than out of fear or desperation.
Here is the process that I used for setting my 2015 business priorities, projects and goals and how I make sure that my desired outcomes are set up to become an inevitable-as-possible reality.
Step 1 – Get in the right mindset
Put each of the cues below at the top of a journal page. Set a timer for five minutes and take time to explore each one. Don’t stop or judge yourself or your answers – just keep writing free flow.
The point of this exercise is to get ourselves in the right mindset to come up with business priorities that are aligned with how we are really feeling about our business in a way that allows our businesses to become a true reflection of who we are. As solopreneurs or small businesses, more often than not, our true selves are our brands and to have an authentic brand, everything has to be aligned and really genuine.
- Journal Prompt – How do you want to feel in your business this year?
- Journal Prompt – What do you want to be known for in your business?
- Journal Prompt – What do you most want to create in your business?
- Journal Prompt – What are the income opportunities in your business?
Step 2 – Start your year with the end in mind
Using your journaling responses from the cues above, what are the key projects that you want to create this year or goals that you want to achieve this year in your business?
Just a tip – Keep a separate list of all of the things you have to do in your business, whether it’s weekly blogging, a newsletter, or social media. Break these down into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly tasks. Keep this list separate from the one above as it is your must-do's for the year and the list above is your want-to’s for the year.
Go through your want-to passion list and decide what you really want for the year and why you want each one for your business. Check your why’s behind each one to decide what really aligns with your brand and how you want to feel in your business this year. The ones that you can’t stop smiling about are your most important projects or goals!
The 3×3 Rule
Using the simple calendar below, plot the projects on the calendar. I recommend thinking in terms of 3 months (or 90-day intervals). It’s long enough to complete a significant project but not so far off in the future that it becomes daunting or a construct without a real timeline. You want urgency and concrete in order to motivate yourself to get it done! Even though we’re plotting the whole year, you’ll just focus on your next 90 days (or whatever timeframe you’ve chosen) when actually creating our inevitable outcome plans.
The 3×3 rule basically means to set 3 major business goals or projects at most for 3 months. Setting too many means you may not succeed at any of them. If you set too many projects, in addition to doing everything on your must-do list, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed and scattered. And I bet those are two words you won’t find anywhere on your “How do you want to feel in your business” journaling cue. amiright?
Step 3 – Making your desired outcomes inevitable
For each of your three major business goals or projects, think of up to three things that you can do for each during the next two weeks that will move you closer to your desired outcome. If it’s a project, these may be deliverables or action items you want to complete. If it’s a goal, it may be daily actions that you want to complete each day.
Here’s an example:
Sample business goal: Finish my new website by March 31, 2015
2-week action #1: Gather all of my new photos for my website pages
2-week action #2: Finalize my copy with the copywriter
2-week action #3: Finish outlining the function and content layout for each page of my website
Once you have your action items for each of the goals/projects of things you can complete in the next two weeks – schedule workblocks on your calendar designated for doing each of the items for the action items. If you have more tasks than workblocks available, you may need to go back and simplify. Remember, it’s better to set yourself up for success and achieve your desired feelings in business than it is to set overreaching goals that will set you up for failure.
Review each of your goals after two-week intervals, so you can fix what isn’t working and set new action items for the next two-week period.
The Rest Is Up to You
Once you’ve set goals that are aligned with your greater purpose for your business, it’s up to you to show up and get the work done. If you’re constantly coming up against resistance when it comes to working on your projects/goals then they might not be something you really desire in your business after all. The reasons that we review after two weeks is so you have a chance to really try to make it work during the two weeks and to change course if it isn’t working as you’d planned after two weeks.