I regularly get asked about how to set goals that can actually be accomplished. It’s why I put the Plan to Grow Challenge together for you. This is the time of year when I hear that question, and it usually comes out like this:

“The New Year is right around the corner. What should I be doing about setting goals for it? It’s something I know I need to do. I want to do it. Next year to bigger than ever, but…I don’t know where to start.”

The reality is that the answer to this question is different for everyone. It depends on:

  • Your business model (product vs. service or traditional vs. direct sales),
  • What you are looking to get out of the year and how much time you can commit overall? Are you side hustling this thing vs. working at it full-time?
  • How you naturally get things done (what you avoid like the plague vs. what you jump over hurdles to do)

You see there really doesn’t seem to be a clear cut answer to this, and that’s why I really LOVED when this article from Karyn Greenstreet of The Success Alliance popped into my LinkedIn feed.

Karyn’s eye-opening year-end exercise takes the overwhelming task of planning for next year and makes it seem possible. What’s more, her process works for anyone in any business via taking a reflective look into this year to determine the connection between the momentum you’ve build up this year and what you still need to do to keep that momentum moving all the way to where you want to go.

Here’s what Karyn says to do:

  • Write down everything you’ve accomplished in 2017 for your business.
  • I do mean EVERYTHING! All the big projects, all the milestones, all the To Do items that yielded a positive result.
  • Allow yourself a few days to do this exercise, keeping a blank notepad or computer document open so you can add to it as you remember items. Also, check your appointment calendar and old emails to remind yourself of projects, tasks and meetings that had a positive impact on your business and professional life.”

Everyone can do this:

Not only has Karyn given a way to actually accomplish this seemingly Herculean task, but she has also done it in a way that makes sense. When I work with my clients to get this done, we always start by:

  1. Looking at where they’ve been this year,
  2. Evaluate their actions to find what produced income and positive results that we can leverage momentum from,
  3. Revisit their business plan (yes, you should have one) to find out where they intended to be at this stage in their business and where they intended to go next,
  4. Use all of this information to come up with a road map to what needs to get done in the coming year, and
  5. Begin planning backwards from the ‘X’ on that roadmap to where we are today setting goals, determining sales targets and strategies, and putting plans in place that are going to get them to that ‘X’

I know it’s scary:

This can be a very scary exercise. It’s likely not the thing at the top of your list, and probably one of the tasks you avoid like the plague, but the reality is that this kind of planning has to happen to keep your business moving forward. So grab some wine, a notepad, your phone and maybe even your girls, and dive in. This is one task you can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid.