Hopefully the dust of the holidays has settled, your office or house is quieter and calmer than usual and you have a few hours to reflect on 2011 and to create a killer plan for 2012.
For me, the week between the holidays and the New Year is all about planning. I organize my office, I file away non-essential information, I create new files, I write down To Do lists (yes, I love office supplies!).
I love this part of the year because there are so many possibilities and so much excitement leading into a new year. What’s in store for 2012? What will it hold? I can hardly wait to find out!
For my clients, I work on specific, individualized plans based on their particular industry and their goals, whether it be to hold a premier fundraising event, to increase product sales or to create compelling and unique content for their blog and social media profiles.
For me, I make a list of personal and professional goals and the methods I will use to achieve these goals.
I want to share the three steps I take to create a plan for 2012 that isn’t overwhelming and that actually encourages me to get to work.
1) Instead of making vague New Year’s resolutions, I make New Year’s goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely).
For example, instead of writing down “Go to the gym more”, I use the SMART method: “I will lose 2 pounds each month until June and I will fit into my old bikini!” Losing weight and looking fabulous is my goal, and when broken down into bite-size chunks, it can be measured. (Not very original, but it’s a goal of mine nonetheless!)
A professional goal: “I will increase traffic to my website by 150%.” You may wonder why I don’t write down “Make more money” or “Get more clients”. For me, increasing traffic to my website is the goal, and hopefully by next year I can translate that directly into making more money. Right now, I want to build awareness of my business and to establish a readership for my blog – a perfectly respectable goal that may not net me any money in the short run, but with an eye to my future goals, it will certainly help.
2) Create objectives (tasks) to put under each goal.
For the weight loss goal, these are: “I will go to the gym at least three times a week. I will walk whenever possible. I will eat vegetables with every meal. I will stop buying as many holiday-themed Starbucks lattes.” You get the point.
Some tasks to increase traffic to my website: “Write and publish a weekly blog post. Target influential people on Facebook and Twitter to share my content. Explore the creation of an email newsletter by June 2012.”
3) Build in time for evaluation.
Measure your progress against your goals every month or at the very least every quarter. See what you are doing right, what’s working, what’s not, what can be improved, what needs major tweaking.
Evaluation is so important and so many businesses and organizations seem to lose it in the race to increase donations and sales.
I’m off to put all of these ideas into action! What are your top tips for goal-setting in 2012? Any advice to share on how to stay on track and how to reach your goals? Please share in the Comments section below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year!