I haven’t always been a planner, not in my business at least. But the longer I’m in business, the more I learn about goal setting and growth, the more I plan ahead for where I want my business to go.
In preparation for 2017, I bought a plethora of planning tools–erasable calendars, planners and goal-setting workbooks and courses. After all, I am a lifelong learner and I thought that the more “stuff” I could use for planning, the better off I’d be.
Aside from spending way too much money on all of these planning tools, I found that most of them didn’t even serve my purpose or they overlapped one another. Plus many just weren’t my style (which, if you haven’t noticed, is pretty bare-bones and simple). I ended up returning or selling all but a few of the purchases, thankfully!
[bctt tweet=”2018 Planning: Find a tool that works for you, even if it’s not the “trendy” planner.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Here we are in the fall again and I see posts ALL over Instagram about the latest and greatest planners. More power to you if that helps you move forward in your business. For me though, I’m taking the simple approach yet again.
Are you ready to set yourself up for success in 2018? Here’s my simple approach.
Find a workbook that works for you and your business
There’s no shortage of planner and workbook options out there. Don’t get hung up on what’s popular or trendy. Instead, think about exactly what works for you.
For me, that workbook is Your Best Year from Lisa Jacobs (not an affiliate link!). I already have my 2018 planner in hand and I have to say she really stepped up her game from last year (and the 2017 planner was amazing too!). The only downside is that the workbook isn’t spiral-bound, but a quick trip to the office supply store allowed me to cut off the binding and add spiraling.
Want to find out more about my favorite planning workbook? Watch my video here!
Find an accountability buddy
I knew I needed some accountability last year if I was going to set and work toward my goals. I tried hopping in an accountability group with women who were using a different planner than I was. While it was helpful talking about my goals, I got lost in all the discussion about stickers, tending lists and other parts of the planner that just didn’t mean much to me.
Instead, I found someone who was not only using the same planner as me but also had a very similar business. We’ve met monthly all year, reflecting on the previous month’s goals and talking about future goals. As an added bonus, we’ve built a solid professional friendship and exchanged tips and tricks that we’ve both put to use in our respective businesses.
[bctt tweet=”Meet with an accountability buddy monthly, reflecting on past goals and setting new ones.” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Identify the right electronic tools
Paper planners are great for old-schoolers like me, but nothing beats clearing the clutter when you’re planning regular and ongoing tasks. Though I resisted it for a long time, Trello has helped me with team communication and organizing client work, marketing and daily and weekly tasks. Since many of my clients use Trello, it only made sense for me to transition there too.
Set aside time to plan
Once you have your planner ready to go, set aside some time to plan out goals and content for the coming year. I’ve carved two half-days each week to work in my own business on a regular basis, but I also plan business “retreats” a few times a year so I can step away from client work and focus solely on my own business. This dedicated time is essential to recharging your mindset and being able to really dig deep into your own business.
Review your current goals
Before you start working on next year’s goals, it’s important to take a look at what you accomplished this year–both planned and unplanned. If there are goals you won’t reach by the end of the year, can you identify why? Were there big things you did but hadn’t planned to at the beginning of the year?
As you’re doing this, know that your business is in a constant state of shifting and growing. If you didn’t accomplish some goals, it may be because they were no longer relevant to your business. So don’t get down on yourself because you didn’t publish a YouTube video every week (because you found your audience really isn’t on YouTube) or you weren’t accepted to speak at an event (that wouldn’t have had your ideal audience anyway). However, if you’re falling well short of a big income goal, make sure you explore why that is and what you can do differently next year–whether that’s setting more realistic goals or doing something different inside your business to get you closer to where you want to go.
Set goals and write them down
Goals that aren’t written down are just daydreams. Use your planner or workbook to solidify and write down long-term goals for the year as well as quarterly and monthly goals, if appropriate. This is one of the reasons I like Your Best Year so much: there’s space to write down and reflect on goals on a regular basis so I’m never too far from a good review session.
[bctt tweet=”Just writing goals isn’t going to get them done. What needs to be done to get where you want to go?” username=”AbbyMHerman”]
Once your goals are planned out and written in your workbook, put them where you can see them every day! Your bathroom mirror, your computer monitor, your refrigerator…somewhere you’ll read, see and really absorb them. I have my yearly goals written and posted on a pretty picture frame hanging in my office. Shorter-term goals are written on bright sticky notes in my planner. Use whatever works for you!
Now you’re ready for success next year. Of course, there’s another step to all of this. Having your goals written down isn’t going to get them done. Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get there. Create a step-by-step process for accomplishing your goals and add each task to your project management system with clear and manageable deadlines. And use your accountability buddy for holding you to those.
If you’re struggling with how to set up goals for your content in the coming year, let’s map it out together with a Map It Out session! Find out more!