January is a common time to set business goals, but there are many reasons you may not have. You might be discouraged by not reaching last year’s goals, or you may feel too busy to plan. And with Covid ravaging teams and business operations, it can be hard to know what’s next.
When so much is out of your control, you may wonder if setting business goals is worthwhile.
Even in a time of uncertainty, goal setting is important, as your results are too important to leave to chance.
Success in business requires consistent action on purposeful activities. Even if circumstances require you to change direction, you must know your destination to reach it.
Here’s how to get started with setting business goals for 2022.
Recognise the business goals you’ve already achieved
Start by reflecting on everything you’ve achieved the last 12 months. Write it down.
If you didn’t achieve all you set out to, write down what part of it you accomplished (put on one new tradesperson rather than two, or documented two procedures instead of five, for instance).
Also note all you achieved that wasn’t intentional. Read a few business books you didn’t plan to? Developed patience through dealing with the unexpected? Some achievements will have happened organically.
Acknowledging your achievements puts you in a positive mindset for 2022 goal setting.
Setting business goals backwards
Now imagine yourself in the future on New Year’s Eve 2022, reflecting on the year that was.
What are you celebrating? What great things did you accomplish? What did you learn? What did you acquire? What experiences did you have? How did you handle the unexpected? Feel the satisfaction of ticking those items off your list.
Visualising the achievement of a goal is proven to increase its likelihood of being reached. Professional athletes visualise winning, and doctors recommend stroke victims picture themselves confidently doing tasks they are relearning, as it wires the brain for success.
Still celebrating backwards, put a date next to everything on your list. For example, in what month did you acquire your new work vehicle? When did you start working with your new ideal client? When did you finalise KPIs for your team?
Now you have an end date, list all the actions you need to take, by when, to make it happen.
Focus on progress, not perfection
Not reaching goals is frustrating, but it’s important to recognise that success is about progress, not perfection. People often overestimate what they can achieve in the short term, but underestimate what they will accomplish over a longer timeframe. Setting and celebrating milestones toward goal achievement will keep you motivated.
Preserve your willpower
Achieving goals requires prioritising some actions over others, such as making sales calls instead of waiting for the phone to ring, or buckling down to write work procedures rather than responding to every email the moment it comes in. Every decision to move towards a goal takes willpower, which is in limited supply.
Research shows that in our world of many choices and distractions, it is hard to resist urges that interfere with productivity, such as surfing the internet and frequently checking emails. Make life easier by making time to work towards your goals, and protect this time as if it’s an important meeting.
Also plan in advance when you’ll do things that distract you, such as checking emails at a few set times throughout the day. You can even plan what we call ‘tooling around time’ by blocking time for it in your calendar – 10 minutes chatting to your team or scrolling through social media, at a time that you choose, can refresh you for concentrated effort later.
As said by the late, great, Jim Rohn, “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.” Linking new habits to old ones is an effective way to make a new habit stick. Commit to making sales calls immediately after your morning coffee (for the caffeine lovers out there, who skips their morning coffee, right?). If you are in a time-based business and often forget to record your time, link leaving your desk with first completing your time sheets.
Talk about your business goals
Most importantly, talk about your goals. Like-minded people will want to help you achieve them, and encourage, support, and keep you accountable. They may even connect you with people who can fast-track their achievement.