Simple Steps to Setting Effective Goals This Year
how i’m setting goals and staying accountable
Read Time: 8 Minutes
Okay, so today (just 1 day prior to this actually going live) I am FINALLY getting my goals all set up. I am not just thinking about them today. They’ve definitely been top of mind since the end of 2018. But now that we are officially back from our holiday vacays and really digging in to our to-do lists, I feel like it’s now or never. This year though, I don’t want to write down a few things on a piece of paper in a notebook and forget about them. There are a few ways that I am making sure they happen. And while I may not have had them all organized and set in stone until this week, i’ve already been taking small steps to move towards the end goal.
How am I setting my goals this year?
This year, I decided to set quarterly goals rather than HUGE, anxiety inducing, goals for the year. We are doing this with our entire AFF team as well so it felt like, with everything else we had going on in the day to day, the quarterly breakdown seemed more realistic. But even if some of our goals end up rolling over to Q2, I 100% think it is going to end with a better outcome. Any other time i’ve set year long goals, it just seems like you have so long to do it all… next year is so far away! And then you forget, and you put it off, and before you know it, it’s too overwhelming to even take on anymore. Maybe next year.
So, what are my goals for this first quarter?
Expanding our shop - We have so much more to offer. We often do small one off projects for clients that get pushed aside. But the truth is we’ve already done the hard part (research, pricing, production, etc.). If we would just curate those items and put them in our shop to offer to a larger audience it would be so beneficial. Another thing that I’d love to offer more of is education for you guys. I’ve written a handful of things like styling guides and strategy guides. I think it would answer a lot of the questions I get if I would have a place for everyone to go and decide what they need help with. I know not everyone can make workshops that we host, so having some sort of educational items in our shop would be a great way to learn from afar.
Video - This one makes me a little queasy. I’m not great on camera… I barely want to talk on my instagram stories. So paying someone to help me create something that is focused on me and what I am doing is scary. But I think that’s why I really want to do it. Growth never comes from sitting in your comfort zone right? There will be quick videos that will cover everything from lettering tutorials to how to create a simple arrangement for your next dinner party. I’m super excited to try creating content in a new way. And I hope that it gives you, our readers, another way to access inspiration and tutorials! I’ve been loving all of your feedback from our survey (you can still take it here and get a 10% off coupon for our shop!). It’s been so helpful narrowing down what you really want to see, especially with video content coming.
Finances - Ah. I started sweating just typing that. Finances are not my thing. I barely made it through my math courses in school and took the bare minimum to graduate. And if i’m being completely honest, I haven’t been great at keeping track of growth in our business. I’ve run my business by saving a lot and making sure we have enough to pay the bills + a big safety net for unknowns. I’ve never paid myself an actual paycheck. If I need money I make sure it’s doable and transfer myself only what I need. I mean, i’m not saying poor me. My job is really fun and we get to be around a lot of beautiful things which usually means I don’t need to go on shopping sprees for myself. BUT, I should know what’s going on and be aware of our profits and losses and budgets and ALL the money things. So in addition to my bookkeeper whom i’ve asked to take on a bit more, i’ve enlisted the help of my FIL to help me understand what all the numbers mean. We will be going over my P&L’s, we will figure out where i’m spending too much, we will decide where to invest, we will decide how we can grow our team, and most importantly we will set goals for AFF to ensure we aren’t sitting stagnant and we’re always moving forward. Just making that first phone call to ask for help relieved so much stress. Before I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I was just floating by making sure we had money in the bank. I don’t feel that anymore by just taking the first step. I might not be a money expert yet, but soon I will have a handle on that side of things and I think it will finally start to feel like i’m running a legit business here (cause we’re all just winging it…).
Now that you know what i’m dealing with, goal wise, I want to share how I am breaking them down.
You obviously start with your main goal, write that out in a notebook or your planning app. We use asana which I highly recommend. There is a free version too. We keep all of our projects organized in asana but I also track my personal goals so I have everything in one place. If you are doing the same, you can make your goal a “project” and keep it private.
Now, decide what projects need to be done in order to meet that goal. For example, if you are designing your website, you will need to create new imagery for the site, write copy, decide on your page layout, etc. Don’t break these down too small, you want bigger pieces to the puzzle here.
Next, create subtasks for each of those projects. If we were following the example above, you would break down the “create new imagery” project into tasks like hire a photographer, create a shot list, find a venue or space, purchase props, etc. These are going to be the small tasks that you can easily tackle a few of each day. These make your goals manageable.
Lastly, schedule these tasks. Decide what you can realistically complete each day by assigning an amount of time on each task. Doing this ahead of time with ALL of your tasks will help you see how long it will actually take you to get to your end goal.
And this is the most important step.
how do you stay accountable for all of these tasks?
I’m lucky enough to have 2 ways I am keeping myself accountable. The first is a small group of friends whom I meet with once a month. We usually talk about what’s happening in our businesses, ask for advice, feedback… or just drink wine and complain if that’s what we feel like. This year, we decided to focus on our goals. We will still talk about the random day to day things going on, but our focus, and what we keep each other accountable for, will be our goals. We set our goals in December, and in January we started to schedule weekly touch bases. So we will essentially have 1 meeting a month in person where we go into detail, and 3 phone calls outside of that to touch base. At each meeting or on each call we decide what we will have done by our next check in. It got me to do SO MANY things quicker than I normally would because I didn’t want to be the one dropping the ball and not having anything ready!
I believe that having an accountability partner is one of the biggest keys to success when you’re running a small business by yourself. It can be anyone you trust and who will give you honest feedback.
The second way I am starting to stay on track is with the ladies here at AFF. When it comes to keeping each other accountable for our work goals, we use asana to keep track of them, but we will be discussing the progress in our monthly team meetings. There are a lot of shared goals so we have created shared projects. Now work can be delegated to each member of the team through this system. I don’t feel like we need to touch base on these as much because many of our tasks are dependent on someone else finishing their own. It’s basically an unspoken “check-in” by checking off your task in Asana:)
So if you’re reading this and haven’t set goals yet, seriously, it’s not too late.
Don’t let the fact that January 1 has come and gone make you feel behind. My best tip is to start small. Little victories will lead to you wanting to move on to bigger goals. It’s okay to do that and let your goals get bigger as the year goes on. One of my goals 2 years ago was to hire an assistant to help me 10-15 hours a week. Now we are a team of 4. So I can definitely say that method worked out for me!
Are you setting goals for yourself this year? What methods do you use to stay on track?