a successful yearOne key thing will make the difference between an ordinary year or an extraordinary year. If you plan for a successful year, it pays to set goals and objectives for yourself and your business for next 12 months.
 
There’s no right way to set goals. People do it in different ways. What’s important is that you do set them. Some people write letters to themselves. Others write stories that talk about what it’s like in 12 months time. Mindmaps are often used, and also the tried and trusted bullet-point list.
 

Get Your Goals Visible

Whatever method you use, to have the best chance of success make sure you write them down and formalise them.
 
They need to be visible, in your face on a regular basis and not gathering dust in your drawer. It could be a wall chart, a graph, a vision board, or a formal set of goals. Put them in a noticeable, readable and recognisable form. This will take you a long way towards achieving them.
 

Having Trouble Defining Your Goals?

If you’re struggling to define your goals, think beyond the time-frame you’re looking at. Ask yourself “what does success look like and feel like for me?” Then come back from that longer term vision to a closer time. Consider what you should be doing in the next, say, 12 months, to head you towards that longer term vision.
 
As a business owner it’s easy to fall into the trap of limiting your goal setting to your business. Try taking the big picture view. Consider family, health, financial etc. As well as setting objectives you want to achieve, you could also set objectives for things you want to stop doing.
 

Making Time To Do It

The best time for goal setting is when you’ve got some quiet time away from your everyday activities. You could set aside some time this weekend to plan your goals. You might be lucky enough to grab some time away from your business during the week.
 
Decide what works for you and make an appointment with yourself to do it. Clear goals for yourself and your business for the next 12 months (and longer) will give you a direction to aim towards. It will also simplify any decision-making required along the way.
 

SMART Goals

Make sure your goals are SMART …. or better still …. SMARTER
 
S pecific (what, how and why…)
M easureable (“losing 10 ks” vs “losing weight”)
A chieveable (is it attainable?)
R ealistic (do you have the resources to achieve it)
T imely (by when?) 
E thical
R ewarding
 

Create Your Future

Remember the past doesn’t determine the future. You may have set goals before and didn’t achieve them. This doesn’t mean this will be so in the future. Goal setting can sometimes be a bit scary. There’s always the risk of non-achievement in the back of your mind. And it seems the bigger the goal the bigger the doubt.
 
Whenever I’m a bit daunted by goals, I like to remember this, by John F. Kennedy:
 
“Frank O’Connor, the Irish writer, tells in one of his books how as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside and when they came to a orchard wall that seemed too high, and too doubtful to try, and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall – and then they had no choice but to follow them.”
 
We assume that if we are working hard we must be getting ahead. But working hard and being busy trying to get ahead without specific, defined goals is living in a fool’s paradise.
 
One thing is certain, having a direction to head towards and clear goals and objectives could make a big difference. That’s if you’re interested in having an extraordinary year (rather than just a ordinary one).
 

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