BE S.M.A.R.T.! PLAN FOR 2019 NOW!
I’m active in an organization that has critical goals that must be achieved by June 2019. We had a heated debate on whether to begin strategizing and implementing now, or wait until January. Many were advocating for January, reasoning that people were already moving into the holiday mindset and would be too busy. Yikes!
Having been a self-employed business woman for 15 years I was dismayed! Now is the absolute perfect time to develop your strategies for the New Year. Then, when January hits, the details have been firmed up and you’re ready to go full steam ahead.
Many of us are perplexed as to just how fast the Holidays are approaching. This year seemed to fly by! With the days getting shorter and the Winter Solstice less than 2 months away, it’s the perfect time for reflection, assessment, wrapping up of the old year, and gestating ideas for the New Year. This is the best time to review your accomplishments and begin setting your goals and objectives for next year.
Like most people, my holidays can get crazy! Yet taking time out to thoughtfully assess my successes, acknowledge my incompletes, discern what I can let go of, and determine what I want to accomplish in the New Year helps me end the year with a sense of satisfaction. It helps me stay grounded and focused during the whirlwind of activity and fun with family and friends. Then when the New Year arrives I can truly celebrate because I’ve already been gestating my goals and objectives. I know where I’m heading and what I need to do in the upcoming year.
I highly recommend this introspective practice of making your plans for the New Year. The benefits you reap will far outweigh the time it takes!
If you’re curious about the process, I’d love to share what was given to me by one of my mentors.
Reflect and Fantasize
First, find some quiet time where you do nothing but reflect and think. For me, the best time is during meditation. You might prefer a leisurely walk or sitting quietly with a latte at a coffee shop. Whatever works for you is great, but the idea is to set aside time to be alone with your thoughts.
Then reflect over your year and fantasize about what you’d like to accomplish next year. I’m reaching a point where, if something feels too hard, or too much work, I pass. Instead I let my mind float to those things that excite and enthuse me. I can tell when I start to feel energized because the juices start flowing. I can’t wait to sit down at my computer, or with pen and paper, and start jotting down my ideas! I bet this will happen to you also.
This is the “brain dump” stage. Don’t worry about the order or time frame. Sometimes you might get all your ideas down at once. Other times you might find that you’re updating, revising, expanding, and deleting parts of your list over several days. It’s all good! You primary focus is to get down all the ideas and goals that feel exciting and energizing.
Now is the most challenging step. It’s time to strategies just how you’re going to implement your great ideas by organizing them into goals and the steps, or objectives, which need to be completed in order to achieve your goals. Oh! BTW they should be S.M.A. R. T. goals.
What? What’s a S.M.A. R. T. goal?
Specific – This means you should have a clear understanding of what it is that you will do and what the end product will look like. For example, last year my goal was to continue doing a weekly e-zine providing useful information to my following. A weekly e-zine is a specific goal, and the e-zine itself is the end product.
It’s OK to change your goals mid-year if a better idea presents itself. Midyear I switched from a weekly e-zine to a monthly one and sent out event notices as needed. I realized my weekly e-zines were overwhelming my peeps who were already inundated with emails. I decided to go for quality, not quantity.
Measurable w/Measurement – This means you should have some idea as to whether you will meet the goal or not. For example, I was about 90% successful in getting out a weekly e-zine and 100% successful in getting out a monthly one. Considering I’m human and have a busy schedule, I feel good about achieving that goal.
Achievable – This means that there is a high probability that you can be successful at achieving your goal. For example, since I’ve been 90% successful in getting out a weekly e-zine and 100% when I switched to a monthly goal, it was an achievable goal.
Relevant – This means that your goal should serve a purpose, or have an impact. For example, my purpose was to share useful information. I frequently receive positive feedback on the information I share in my e-zines. Therefore they have relevance.
Time-Oriented – This means, “When will you achieve this goal? What is the start and end date?” For example, the time-bound goal for my e-zine was ‘weekly.’ When I switched to monthly, I still retained a time-bound goal.
Evaluating your goals to make sure they are ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ will help you stay practical and reasonable about what you can accomplish so you don’t fall victim to overwhelm and either burn out, get sick, or give up!
Organize into 3, 6, 9, 12 Month Goals
Once you’ve evaluated your goals, then start organizing them into 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals. Now it’s time to begin identifying and scheduling monthly (or weekly if you are highly motivated and ambitious) steps or objectives. At this stage I tend to drill down and organize my goals and objectives for just 3 months at a time. I always keep the larger perspective in mind, but I’ve found that ‘life happens while we’re busy making plans to do something else.’ Goals and objectives often need to be fine-tuned and re-evaluated as the year progresses. One year I had knee surgery, another year I fell in love (not a good excuse to being knock off track, but I had fun!), and another year the recession hit. It’s important to keep some flexibility in your schedule so you can adapt and re-assess as needed.
Set aside a regular time to review your goals and objectives. This will help you stay on track, making it possible to hit your targeted goals in a timely manner. On the first day of the month, or week, doing a quick review of what’s on your schedule will help you with your progress so you can have a productive month, and a prosperous year!
With everything else that you have on your schedule, I can hear many of you groaning about having one more thing to do! But I promise you, if you take time to do this, not only will you complete your year on a high, but you will ensure that you have a more successful, prosperous, and happier New Year.
If setting your goals and objectives for the New Year feels too overwhelming, then give me a call and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to find out how I can help you get organized and on track for a prosperous 2019. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email me today!