At the end of each year, I take some time to reflect on the past yearʻs goals and see the ones we were able to accomplish and which ones we missed the mark. During this time, I also begin planning for the next year. Personally, I love goal planning! It sets the intention for the year to come and provides a clear plan of attack. It keeps me focused on how I make decisions to ensure that each step I make brings me closer to accomplishing my goals. I used to just write my goals as one off sentences that gave no context or tangible plan to achieve them, but now I have a system that allows me to reach the majority, if not all of my goals!
Now, I have to be honest, my goal planning system is not something I came up with myself. A few years back, I did a seminar with Oak + Pine and it was here where I began formulating my tools for goal planning. If you search “goal planning worksheet”, you will find a plethora of documents to help you goal write. The common thread between all of these resources - having a clear plan of attack. Robert Herjav, from my favorite show Shark Tank said it best – “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.” You have to set action steps in order for your goal to be achievable, so here is what I do.
Step One: Figure Out The Goal The first step is pretty simple – figure out the goal. The reason I reflect on my past years achievements and plan for the future, all in the same sitting, is because this gives me a marker of what we were able to accomplish and what we should be wanting for the upcoming year. The goal should be the overall objective. Whatever your goal is, I suggest making it something that is challenging, yet achievable. I have made several ostentatious goals in the past and beat myself up when I didn’t reach them. Now, I set goals that are manageable in a calendar year.
One goal that I have for 2022 is to increase our engagement on Instagram. We will use this goal as an example for everything.
Step Two: Figure Out How To Track Your Goal You are going to want to record where you are in your efforts to achieve your goal, which is why it is important to have your goal be something that can be tracked. Using my goal as the example, I will track my engagement weekly on our third party social media management app to make sure that we are hitting at least x% of engagement on each post. This allows me to see if there needs to be any adjustments made to our strategy. The best way to track a goal is through a number based system. Maybe you have this goal of 10,000 followers. Actually, your goal would be to “increase your following” , but tracking this goal would be getting to 10,000 followers. This shifts your mindset creates a goal that can be measured.
Step 3: Set Your Action Steps Now that you know what your goal is and how you plan to track and measure that goal, it is time to figure out how you will execute everything. Your action steps should be tangible ways that will help you reach your goal. I like to write down at least three ways that will help us get from point A to point B. I treat these steps as mini goals. For our engagement goal, the four things I plan to do are…
Post consistently on my feed using all forms of Instagram media.
Create action based captions that ask our followers to do something with our posts.
Only put out content that is meaningful to me, our brand, and our clients. No more posting just to post. Authentic posts means authentic engagement.
Engage with other pages to create a relationship.
For these steps, they each implement actions that will lead me to my overall goal of increased engagement on Instagram. Your action steps should relate back to the main goal.
Step 4: Figure Out Your Why Next step and probably the most important is to figure out why this goal is important to you. This will help you when shit gets hard and you hit that plateau that we know all too well (10 minute version, #iykyk). Knowing your “why” makes the goal mean something to you and turns it from something general, to something that personal. For me, having more engagement on Instagram is important because it means we increase our relationship with our followers with the hope of turning them into clients that represent and align with our brand. It also means that we are putting out content that people actually like and helps them in their planning process. Step 5: Set A Timeframe You know what your goal is, how you plan to track it, what your action steps are, and why it is important. Last step is to set a timeframe. The timeframe of when you want to accomplish this goal should be realistic. One thing I used to do and then beat myself up about, is set a timeframe that is completely unobtainable. Your action steps will put things into perspective, that, your goals take work and time, so be mindful of that when setting an end date. Some goals may take longer than others, especially if they are big ones! And that’s what I do! Now, this might not work for everyone, but I found that it has helped me tremendously with keeping me on track and accomplishing my goals each year. Whatever you decide to do this year, write it down, so that you can reflect back on what you wanted to do and what you actually did. As a business owner, goal setting is the foundation of success. You should be doing this yearly and checking in on yourself quarterly to see how you are doing.
The last tip I will give is to be kind to yourself. The last two years have been tough for us and not all of our goals were accomplished and that’s okay. If you don’t reach every single one, that doesn’t mean you are a failure. It just gives you a new goal to accomplish next year!
You can download my goal planning worksheet here!