As we approach the end of the first full week in the New Year, we wanted to talk about goal setting and whether or not you have clear goals in place for 2019?

A New Year can often prove to be a great blank canvas upon which to paint your vision for the year ahead. A New Year is filled with new opportunities, anticipation and reflection on past experiences. There is so much potential in every year, so many new opportunities to capitalise on, consider and so many dreams to realise.

A great way to achieve these dreams, reach new heights and increase your chances of growth is by goal setting. Everyone speaks about New Year resolutions, but forget about it days later, but if you take the much needed time to step away from your business and reflect on where you want to be 12+ months from now, you start with the end in mind! A clear vision of what your business looks like and you will also have considered what you need to have done, to have achieved that success.

Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish, so if you are still to sit down and truly define your future strategy and lock down your business objectives for 2019, then now is the time! Don’t just think about WHAT you want to achieve, consider HOW you’re going to achieve it and break things down in to clear, manageable action plans.

What is Goal setting?

Goal setting is a way to motivate yourself by taking some action and understanding what achievements you want to complete in the future. These goals can be relevant to any aspect of your life such as work, fitness, experiences, family and friends.

When setting your goals for 2019, a great way to plan them out is by using the acronym ‘SMART’. This is a fantastic way to get started with identifying a goal and planning out how you will achieve it.

The term ‘SMART’ is an acronym that is used as a guide for goal setting/objectives and planning, so when it comes to defining what your goals are for 2019, make sure they’re exactly that!

Specific – Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise you won't be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve what you set out to.

Measurable - It's important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and ensure you have defined what success looks like, from the outset. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused and ensures someone is accountable for reporting progress. If things aren’t going as well as expected, having targets and measures in place will allow you to spot any issues early and adjust/refine as required.  It’s also a great motivator, especially as you move closer to your desired goal.

Achievable - Be realistic and ensure your goal is attainable and not so far reaching that it is almost impossible to achieve. In other words, a goal should stretch your abilities but still be entirely possible.

Relevant – This step is about ensuring your goal are relevant to your business, your overall strategy, and align with your other goals. Make sure your goals are designed to drive everyone forward in the same direction and ask yourself the following questions as you define them;

Time-bound – Every goal needs a target date, so ensure you have a clear deadline and something to work towards, reviewing your progress periodically. This part of the SMART goal criteria can help to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority and impacting your long term goals.

Be reminded of your goals – have your goals front of mind, reminders

So now you have your targets and goals set out and ready to go, but how are you going to be reminded of them? Your goal could be related to acquiring a bigger social audience or a second round of funding to scale your business. Whatever they are, here are a few tips on how to stay motivated and keep your vision and goals forefront of mind.

A picture paints a thousand words!

Visual stimulation can be much more powerful than words. Images can be a great inspiration so gather a vision board, to include photos of what you want to achieve and print out a large copy for your office wall, have a photo of your vision on your phone, as a screen saver or create a calendar for the year with an inspiring photo for each month! For eg, if you’re looking for investment for your company, don’t simply write INVESTMENT on your vision board in a marker pen, use a picture of a handshake to illustrate success!

Technology

What technology do you use most, is it your phone, tablet, laptop? Why not set reminders on your phone about your goals or what you are going to do today to achieve them. If you use a laptop or tablet everyday change the background to a motivating quote or a picture of what you want to achieve. There are 1000s of apps out there to help you become more efficient, to help you stay on track of your to do lists or plans, use technology to your advantage to free up time to focus on your business instead of in it!

Share your vision and goals with close family and friends.

Talk to your nearest and dearest about your plans. Share your vision with those who inspire you be it a mentor, a friend or otherwise and garner their support, so that they can help you on your business journey. Arrange time to meet up, jump on a call, grab a coffee, go for a walk and share your successes as well as your challenges. A challenge shared not only unburdens you, but gives you outside perspectives and ideas on how you could get past a particular stumbling block!

When you lose motivation or start to become worn out or overwhelmed, remember WHY you started out in the first place, where it all began, go back to your vision and remind yourself of the purpose of defining clear goals.

Expect hard work, long hours and lots of bumps in the road in any business journey but if you get things right, plan carefully and focus on your vision, we’re fairly sure you’ll be working SMARTER not HARDER in 2019!