It’s the start of a new year - a perfect time for new goals, intentions, and resolutions. Whatever you choose to call them, I want to extend a personal high-five to you for sitting down and giving thought to how you’d like this year to go. You’re already that much more likely to see success!
The question is: what does that success look like to you?
Challenge yourself to get as specific as possible. This is one of a few “best practices” to ensure those goals you set in a new year (or new quarter, new month, new week etc) really stick.
Read more below about defining goals, as well as four other common mistakes I see people make when planning growth. And if you need some help creating goals, reach out!
1. The goal is not SPECIFIC enough
Example Goal: “This year, I want to have better time management.”
Coach Says: Start by defining what “better time management” looks like to you. What is currently lacking? It is a scheduling issue? A distractions issue? Are you scrolling too much? Overcommitting on projects? Once you truly define what the issue is, you can be more specific about how to address it. Then, physically write out a more specific goal. The added bonus here is that a highly specific goal is easier to check back on months later, when you may have lost the thread a bit.
Coached-Up Goal: “This year, I want to increase my focus and productivity. I want to time-block my work week with blocks for emailing / scheduling, deep focused work, content generation, and meetings.”
2. The goal doesn’t have MILESTONES
Example Goal: “By the end of 2022, we’ll have $2M in revenue.”
Coach Says: Even if you know the goal is realistic for your business, and have a specific plan to accomplish it, plotting milestones along the way will help your team to not be in a frenzied crush the last month of the year. If your revenue goal is two million by 12/31, divide that number by four and instead set four smaller revenue goals for each quarter. This way, you’re able to track your progress towards your ending outcome, rather than totaling too late in the game and getting crunched.
Coached-Up Goal: “Each quarter we’ll generate at least $500k in revenue, totaling a minimum revenue of $2M by the end of the year.”
BONUS: Revenue is what we call a lagging indicator of success. Read more about how to set up leading indicators that impact your ending numbers here.
3. You’ve set TOO MANY GOALS at once
Example Goal: “I will create better personal habits: drinking 8 cups of water a day, cutting down on caffeine & sugar, waking up at 5:30am, running 4 miles every day, and reading before bed instead of using my phone.
Coach Says: Goal setting can be a tricky balance. You may feel that you need a bootcamp-style kick-in-the-butt to make change happen in your life, but studies show that this kind of mentality is what most often leads to us getting overwhelmed and not actually achieving even one of these goals. Instead of aiming for a complete overhaul, experts suggest focusing on one habit at a time, and trying to make it stick. This way, our brains don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of things changing at once, and each individual goal becomes more attainable – and a bigger step forward!
Coached-Up Goal: “I will create better personal habits this year. I’ll start by challenging myself to drink 8 cups of water per day in Q1.”
4. The goal is not RELEVANT to your long-term vision
Example Goal: “In ten years, our digital marketing firm will work with household brand names in the food and beverage sector. By the end of this year, we will sign 15 new clients in the lifestyle outdoor fitness market.”
Coach Says: If you’re driving to California, don’t plan to head towards Maine. I see my business coaching clients fall trap to this all the time, and often it’s in service of revenue or low-hanging fruit. Respect your vision. If it is specific about the types of clients you want to work with, the geography you’re targeting, or the brand reputation you’re aiming for, be sure every smaller goal leading up to that vision aligns! Our energy flows where our focus goes, so don’t throw away energy on efforts that take you away from your desired destination. If you do, you could end up staying there.
Coached-Up Goal: “To align with our ten-year vision of working with household brands in food and beverage, this year we will sign 10 new clients in our regional food and beverage market, and develop relationships with 2 new national brands in the same sector.”
5. The goal does not have a DEADLINE
Example Goal: “This year we’ll replace our HR Director.”
Coach Says: Despite “this year” being a measurement of time, as your coach I would push you to set a specific date by which this large task would be accomplished. If an initiative truly will take a year – great! Give yourself until 12/31/XXXX. Will it only take 3 quarters? Write down 9/31/XXXX. Setting up a specific end date will not only motivate you, it will give you something to check back on, and help you set those milestones (mistake #2) along the way.”
Coached-Up Goal: “By 12.31.2022, we will have recruited, hired, trained and on-boarded a new HR Director with A-player potential, who demonstrably lives our Core Values.”
Making It Stick
If you’re fired up about your business’s direction in the year ahead – or ready for a much-needed change – it only starts with you. The next step is to bring your team into the room and have a conversation about your business’s priorities in the year(s) ahead.
When setting goals with your team, be sure to assign accountability, and have a rock-solid way of checking in with each other regularly on progress. Not sure where to begin? Send us a note - we’re here to help teams get on the same page and work together towards their bold and inspiring vision.
A North Star Vision is a powerful tool that aligns, inspires, and empowers teams. Do you know yours? Does your team?
Find yourself falling victim to Goal Overwhelm? See if you can find your "3 Hell Yeses".
Once you've set your goals for the year ahead, do you have a method to track progress? We suggest the One Page Strategic Plan.