A fresh start, a blank page, a corner turned. The New Year brings with it new opportunities and new challenges. I find myself reflective this time of year, and I think that’s a good thing. Looking over the last 12 months somehow prepares me to confidently face the coming new year. I think the same is true in business, too. It’s important to document the lessons learned, obstacles overcome, and growth achieved. Recognizing those things keeps us from making the same mistakes again, and encourages us to keep looking forward.
You’ve probably already done your official 2016 business planning, but consider this activity a more reflective and personal side to your plan. As we wind down the last few moments of 2015, go buy yourself a cup of coffee and with a pen in hand, think about these questions:
- What was your proudest moment in 2015?
- What was the biggest lesson you learned?
- Who became your greatest ally?
- What changed over the course of the year?
- Where were you last year at this time?
- What are three goals you want to achieve in 2016?
- What changes do you foresee happening in your industry?
- How will you more intentionally spend your time?
- Who will you spend your time with?
In light of your answers to those questions and the business planning you’ve done for 2016, I would like to suggest three simple strategies to help you actually achieve your goals.
Think in terms of baby steps. I hope you set big goals and have big dreams for this next year. The problem with dreaming big, though, is how easy it can be to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when you’re not making as much progress as you’d like. Setting reasonable mini-goals within your big goals gives you a way to measure your forward movement. They become something to celebrate along the way.
- Operate with a “less is more” mentality. I’m sure you’ve learned by now that always saying “yes” gets you in trouble. This year, be quick to weigh your commitments before making them. Not only will you become the kind of person who can be counted on because your “yes” is yes, but your time will be freed up to be spent more strategically. Invest that extra time on projects and people who really matter. They’re usually the long-term payoff investments, but are also more worth it than the short-term reward.
- Make business planning a regular event. In the sheer busyness of life, it doesn’t come naturally to review our progress and goals on a frequent basis. Set aside a day every quarter to do some in-depth digging into the last quarter to assess your progress and make sure you’re on track. Make any course adjustments you need to based on changes in your market and industry. Every month, take half a day to do the same. Weekly, spend at least an hour reviewing your current goals and aligning your tasks in priority with them.
As you prepare for 2016, I wish you all the best in business planning and growth!