As every small business owner knows, if you’re not having fun and enjoying your work, it’s tough to stay motivated. And if you’re not feeling motivated, it’s nearly impossible to grow.
So many solopreneurs simply exist, working hard day after day, without ever loving their business, and sometimes even coming to resent the very things you used to enjoy.
Or maybe you still look forward to your day-to-day tasks but have trouble achieving your goals—or even knowing what your goals are. Business feels boring or stagnated, and you can’t seem to reach that next level.
Whatever level you’re at, whether you’re in love with your business today or not, the only sure-fire way to make the next year your best year ever is to spend some time reviewing your wins, setting new goals, and planning your strategy for the coming months.
Review & Celebrate the Past 12 Months
Before you can look forward, spend some time looking back. Looking back at the previous year can bring up feelings of disappointment. As entrepreneurs and as women, we tend to focus on the 2% that didn’t go well and forget about the other 98% that did. Don’t fall into that trap! You have very likely accomplished a lot in the past 12 months, even if some days it doesn’t feel like it.
Think back to how you started the past year, and make a list of how you’ve grown and improved. Take some time to review your calendar, planner or journal to help you remember and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.
When you notice something that did not get done, and we all have those things, acknowledge any challenges that you faced and consider what you would do next time. Then, determine if it is something that should be on your radar for the coming year. If not, let it go!
Understanding Your ‘Why’
Before you can set goals or achieve anything in your business or your life, you have to understand what really drives you. What is it that truly gets you up in the morning when all you want to do is roll over and go back to sleep? What forces you to pick up the phone to call yet another potential client? What keeps you going, even when you want to give up?
Your “why” is personal. It’s yours alone, and no two why’s are exactly alike. More importantly, there’s no right or wrong “why.”
Perhaps you already know what your why is. Maybe you want to help single moms make a better life for themselves. Maybe you want to earn enough money to retire at 50 and travel the world. You may want to start a cat rescue, spend more time with your kids, or go on a mission trip to Africa. Maybe you just want to make a million dollars.
Once you know what drives you, every decision becomes easier, so before you start setting goals for next year, spend some time thinking about why you do what you do.
Your Business Vision
You started your business with a vision in mind. You probably daydreamed about what it would look like as you sat in your day-job office waiting for the clock to tell you it was finally time to go home. Maybe you fantasized about how it would be to work from home as you scraped ice off your car in preparation for yet another cold commute in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
What did it look like, this dream business of yours? How did your ideal days roll out? Where did you spend your down time?
Get super clear on your vision, not just for your business but for your life. How do you want to spend your time? Who do you want to spend that time with? What do you love to do and who do you absolutely love to work with?
Chances are your vision has changed, but you very likely still have a dream of what you want your business—and your life—to look like. Spend a few minutes and write it out (in as much detail as you can) your short and long-term business and life vision.
Now that you know what you want your business and your life to look like, and more importantly, why, it’s time to set some goals to help you get there.
When setting your goals, keep the S.M.A.R.T. model in mind. Goals should be:
- Results focused
For example, you might set a goal to earn $200,000 (specific, measurable and results focused) in 2017 (time-bound). If your earnings in 2016 were $150,000, then your goal certainly meets the achievable requirement as well, making this a good (SMART) goal.
While “smart” goals are safe and expected, there’s something to be said for dreaming big, too. What if you took your “smart” goal of adding $50,000 to your income, and followed Grant Cardone’s advice and multiplied that by 10?
In “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” Cardone makes the case that the only way to achieve greatness is to dream bigger and push yourself further by setting goals that others might consider unreasonable.
Try setting at least one goal in each of these four areas, and don’t be afraid to take your initial goal and multiply it by 10:
- Family and Relationships
- Personal / Physical
These four areas are what I consider the pillars of a fabulously balanced life.
Breaking it Down: Your Year at a Glance
Now that you know what your goals are, it’s time to break them down into manageable chunks. It’s much easier to think about adding 100 people to your mailing list this week than it is to consider the monumental task of adding 5,000 people this year.
Start with your primary focus and map out any goals and activities associated with it. When you define your goals, be clear on what that goal would look like and what the timeframe is that you plan to achieve it.
If your goal is to write a book, you may define that as having a print copy in hand by March 31. (Yes, that happens to be one goal of mine!) As I break down that big goal, I can set tasks and deadlines such as write one chapter a week or to have the final draft submitted for printing on a specific date.
Now, map out your goal on your calendar. I like to take a new calendar and some post it notes to map everything out. As you list each goal, check to see if you are allowing enough time between each major project. Remembering to schedule in your priorities first to ensure balance.
Ready to Plan Your Best Year Ever
Join the Plan Your Best Year 5-day Challenge for worksheets and content that will help you connect very specific dots between your goals and actionable day-to-day tasks.
Each day of the challenge you will receive content and worksheets to walk you through every step of the process. You’ll also have the support of our private Facebook for extra support, motivated and accountability!