With the end of the year looming, you are probably feeling the pressure to make plans for your business for 2022. That may be because others say they do (in fact they may not!) or you feel it is needed to ensure that next year is better than the pandemic affected 2021.

I feel my role as a mentor, sounding board, coach can be to slow things down and encourage my clients to take smaller steps. Yes, take a view of what you want to achieve in 2022, set some objectives for the longer term but plan what you want to achieve in the next 90 days only, not 365. I like to ask my clients to work this way because if they achieve their 90-day plan, they are then on the right trajectory to achieve their longer-term objectives. If they don’t, the direction of travel can be affected and corrected before it’s too late.

Does that feel less daunting? Now you know you don’t have to plan for more than three months at a time, how will you go about your effective goal setting? Here are my top 10 steps to get you through it. Some are classic, and some you may not have come across before, but I feel are essential for success

  1. Define your goal

For this step we refer to the SMART tactics. I like to focus on the S and be as specific as you possibly can right at the start. Write down your goal or goals, and display them in plain sight. But do make your goals realistic and achievable. No not easy, enough to push you, but we have enough negativity to manage let alone bringing more on ourselves in this way.

TIP: Visualisation and being able to see your goals every day is imperative to keeping you focused on achieving that goal.

2. Be clear on your dates

You don’t have to start as soon as you finish planning. The beauty of goal setting is that you can plan when to start as well as your target finish date. The end date helps you visualise your objectives with the end in mind and a date to aim for.

3. Visualise the benefits

I believe that a key step is to truly understand and visualise the benefits of achieving your goals. This is a powerful method of keeping you focused and motivated.

TIP: Some companies organise vision board days with their teams, so everyone can create their own visual representation of what success means to them. This might make a nice festive team building exercise. Look out for more on vision boards in the next blog, next week!

4. What are the risks of you not achieving your goal?

Once again, I would ask you to visualise and record the risks as well as the benefits. Some of us are more motivated by the loss than the gain, so doing this really helps you understand the pain of losing focus, avoiding the work or not achieving what you set out to do.

5. Envisage the obstacles

What is likely to get in your way? Whilst there are infinite things that could cause you to derail, there are infinite ways to help you avoid them, or get back on track. Recording those obstacles will prepare you for them, if and when they come your way, which leads us to step six.

6. Consider the solutions to those obstacles

Then build the solutions into your action steps within the delivery plan. Some obstacles can be anticipated, so be ready. Delivering on the well-considered solutions should stop the obstacles from occurring.

TIP: To help you consider those obstacles that may take you by surprise, I offer a free hour of mentoring. Just visit my mentor contact page and find a time to suit you.

7. Who needs to know about your goal?

This is another step that you may not have come across before. I’m not asking just about board or team members, but who in your family, circle of friends or associates are a part of your support mechanism? Who needs to know your goals to help you achieve certain steps? This will fuel your sub conscious and also keep you accountable to the delivery.

8. Look at your action steps

A good old-fashioned checklist is the best way to record your action steps, I find. If you have them on display, even better for ticking those boxes and visualising your progress.

9. Schedule the actions and diarise reminders

My biggest learn when I went through planning myself, was to make sure I could plan action steps on days I set aside specifically for working on my business. It’s easy to say you’ll do something on a certain day, but I often see people planning to deliver a task so far in advance, that when that day comes around they are out of the office and in reality have no chance of delivering. Again, we just beat ourselves up.

10. Tracking methods

How will you track your progress, other than ticking boxes? What data can you refer to, who or what will you make yourself accountable to?

I hope you can take away from this article that planning, and goal setting isn’t the frightening or onerous task it can seem. Or it is it meant to be a stick with which to beat yourself. For entrepreneurs it is a vital part of running a business and often building rapport within teams too.

If you would like further guidance on writing 90-day plans, or which part of your business you should focus your planning on, please do get in touch for a no-obligation conversation.

I also have a full stock of free resources for you, consisting of free e-books to help you grow your business, podcasts, videos, and a very helpful questionnaire to narrow down your needs.

Or, you may like to start with my previous article, ‘Managing your time with effective goal planning’, from where you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

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