So, it’s a new year. Hurrah. New you, new start, big plans, you-can-do-it and all the rest of that social media positivity and posturing.
*sigh* Really? Are we STILL doing this?
Our planet’s trip around the sun has mad a full circuit and reached whatever arbitrary start/finish line was decided thousands of years ago, like a galactic International Date Line. That’s it. That’s all New Year means.
You might like a specific date for kicking off new plans, but you don’t need one. You can do The Thing whenever you like.
There’s nothing wrong with the old you. You might choose to make some changes in your life, but don’t beat yourself up for who you’ve been in the past.
If you’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing, great! (Although we can all do better, even if just in small ways.) Don’t feel you have to make resolutions and pledge to transform your life just because others are.
H/T @matthaig1 for inspiration on this one
Goals, goals, goals!
Don’t overload yourself. Set too many reach-for-the-stars targets and you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment and burn-out.
Be realistic. Then think again and be even more realistic. Better to set less, achievable goals and then add stretch targets or more goals.
Inspired by my friend Caroline, I am now focusing on one single financial target for the year. That’s it, one goal. Everything else is an action designed to achieve that goal, and the tasks to complete those actions form my to-do list. That’s it. Sounds much simpler and more achievable to me.
Hustle, hustle, hustle!
Setting off at breakneck speed and trying to do all the things at once is a recipe for disaster.
You can’t focus on so many things at the same time – better to do one thing well and then move on to the next. Space out your major projects, and break down your big tasks or targets into smaller chunks.
This year, my major focus is on my membership programme BUILD. I will be launching a campaign to promote it 3 times, in January, May and September. That gives me 3 equally-spaced points of focus for the year, with time to review and relax after each launch.
The aforementioned Caroline is also splitting her year into 3. She has 3 projects she wants to work on this year, and will be dedicating a 3-month period to each, with the month afterwards dedicated to reflection and relaxation (or a bit more time to catch up, if needed). Better to build-in the catch-up time, rather than try to catch up when you’d planned to have moved on to the next thing – chasing your tail gets you nowhere.
I chose the goals, I gotta see them through.
Not if they’re not working for you. Things change. Change with them.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with realising you haven’t chosen the right path, and changing your way. There’s absolutely everything right with not spending any more time on something that isn’t the best option for you and your business.
Big changes or small ones, they’re all good so long as they’re considered changes.
We all want to stop doing things because they’re hard/boring/time-consuming, but that alone isn’t sufficient reason to change – that’s just giving up. Why are you doing this and what will you get from it? If the reasons and benefits are strong, then sorry buttercup but you just gotta suck it up.
Choose your goals wisely.
To avoid the above, put careful thought into setting your goals in the first place.
Goal-setting is a forwards-looking activity, but I cannot recommend strongly enough that you start by looking back. Think about the last year or two in detail, what worked well for you and what didn’t. What were your high and low points/ What did you enjoy the most?
Keep those in mind and think of the present. Consider what makes you happy and what you’re good at. Ensure what you want to achieve is viable with the business set-up that you have, and the audience you attract – or understand and plan for those changes too. (If you want some help with that, check out my Firm Foundations programme.)
Now you’re ready to plan for the future. Make it achievable but not too easy, fun but not frivolous, and something you can be proud of.
One last look back. Be proud of how far you’ve come already. You’re doing good, you know.