Start the Year with the End in Mind

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Now that the dust has settled on the festive season, now might be the ideal time to start thinking seriously about what you want to achieve in the coming year. I’ve shared a great deal of blog posts on the topic of goals in the past (here’s a list of twelve of my favourite), so today I plan to keep the advice really simple.

Here it is: start the year with the end in mind.

Why? Because I think it’s far easier to make wise resolutions that are true to who you are and what you want for your business when you come at the process from a different angle. Instead of starting out by thinking about the changes you want to make, I suggest that you begin by considering what you want to achieve.

So, at the end of 2017, where do you want to be? Do you have a clear picture of what you’d ideally like you and your business to look like in twelve month’s time?

Wherever you see yourself, try and be as specific as possible about what that means for you and your business.  This process will be far more straight-forward if you think in concrete terms.

For example, do you want to…

…be working in a different industry?
…have opened a new premises?
…be working shorter hours?
…have more employees?
…be working with a wider client base?
…have introduced a new product or service?
…have earned a certain amount of money?
…have relocated your business?
…be focusing on a different kind of work?
…have an industry related Amazon bestseller?
…have a certain number of blog subscribers?
…be enjoying more time off?
…have won an award?
…have created a different kind of income?
…have a successful social media presence?

Once you’ve settled on where you want to be at the end of the year, it’s time to consider what you’ll need to do in order to get there.

What individual steps will you need to take? Are there new habits you need to build? Skills you need to learn? People you need to get on side? Will you need to change the way you work on a daily basis? Will you need to reach out to new potential client bases? Would it be helpful to engage support from other professionals?

The more steps you’re able to break your big dream down into, the better. Big goals are far easier to achieve when they’re split into tiny bitesize chunks! Write down each step and work out what you can do to make it happen: and make this list your business blueprint for the next twelve months.

Can I help to cheer you on with your goals throughout the year ahead? Get in touch to discuss how my services might work for you.  

Twelve Posts to Help You Make Your Resolutions for the Year Ahead

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I can’t quite believe it myself, but there are just four weeks left until the end of the year! The beginning of December brings with it all kinds of plans and shopping lists, and this festive planning probably means that January 1st is the last thing you’re thinking about.

Despite this, if you get a few hours of quiet time this week; why not use it to start thinking about your business goals for 2017? Well thought out goals can be an excellent tool to help you stay on track with your business and achieve sustainable organic growth.

Many of us only start thinking about what we want from our business in the year ahead once Christmas is over and the panicked New Year’s Resolution rhetoric starts up in the media.

All that pressure can make it hard to make well thought out decisions that really reflect what we want from our business and our life. A little planning time now could help you make resolutions that feel more true to who you are.

Not sure where to start? I’ve shared many posts in the past that may be helpful. Some are about goal setting, some are about your work/life balance, and some are about determining what you really want from your business.

Hopefully these twelve posts will inspire you to make wise choices for your business in 2017.

1. Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business, Make Wise Choices

2. How to Find the Courage to Make a Big Business Change

3. Seven Signs Your Work/Life Balance Needs Some Attention

4. How to Effectively Prepare Your Business for the End of the Year

5. Are You Sabotaging Your Business by Not Taking Care of Yourself?

6. If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done… Five Ways to Break the Cycle

7. Why Not Bring Playfulness Back into Your Business?

8. Ten Signs That it’s Time to Let Go of What You Know

9. Is it Too Late to Set Goals for This Year?

10. What Big Business Question Are You Asking Yourself… And What Are You Doing About it?

11. Productive Things You Could Do For Your Business in Ninety Minutes

12. Five Tips for Gaining Business Headspace

Feeling inspired? I’d love to hear what you’re challenging yourself to do in 2017. As an added bonus; sharing your plans publicly can be an excellent way to encourage yourself to stick to them!

Why not share your goals with me on the Green Shoots Coaching Facebook page?  

Is it Too Late to Set Goals for 2016?

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How have the first two months of 2016 been for you and your business? Some of you may feel as if it’s been half a lifetime since Christmas, while others may feel that the year has barely got going.

Whatever your January and February have looked like, the end of the month is a natural time to take a step back and reflect on how far you’ve come. The best way to do this is usually to look back at your goals and targets and measure your progress against them.

But what if you don’t have any goals in place?

Many business owners use the start of a new year as an opportunity to set goals and targets for the twelve months ahead. However, the start of a new year can often be a manic time! You may have been too occupied with post-festive tasks and the end of the school holidays to have had a chance to sit down and think about the big picture for your business.

Equally, you may have gone the other way. It’s easy to get swept up in the ‘New Year, New You’ mentality on January 1st and make impulsive goals that aren’t truly consistent with your long term ambitions.

If you’ve found yourself in either situation, don’t worry. It’s certainly not too late to set goals for 2016, or even to change the ones you set originally.

Goal setting doesn’t have to happen on anyone else’s schedule

Here’s the good news: there are no rules about when you can set goals! There are certain points in the year when there is more of a cultural expectation to set goals, such as new year or the start of the academic year, but these times won’t work for everyone.

Goal and target setting is a very personal process. For best results I’d always recommend finding a target setting schedule that works for you.

You could consider:

Re-evaluating goals on your business anniversary:

If annual goal setting makes sense for you, why not pick a date to do it that has personal significance? This could be the anniversary of the date you started your business, the end of your industry’s particular ‘busy season’ or perhaps even your birthday. You may find that choosing a date away from traditional resolution periods gives you more headspace to make wiser choices.

Setting quarterly or monthly targets:

A year is a very long time! Some business owners find that it’s too long to focus on just one big goal. It may work better for you to set quarterly or monthly targets. These are likely to be smaller, more achievable goals that will enable you to see real progress.

Working with a goal setting professional:

We all have different strengths. Setting and sticking to SMART targets might not be yours. If this is the case, it doesn’t have to be a problem. There are a wide range of professionals who are qualified to support you through this process. Regular sessions with a business coach could have two benefits in this sense: they could help you to make wise decisions about goal setting and provide a built in accountability factor.

Will you be taking time over the coming weeks to re-evaluate current goals or set new ones? If so, you may find it helpful to take a look at some of my previous blog posts on goal setting.

Is it Time to Bring in Support for Your 2016 Goals?

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Earlier in the year I blogged about making wise choices for your business in 2016. Many of you will have sat down to do something similar; whether you called them wise choices, yearly goals or New Year’s Resolutions.

Today I’d like to ask you all how things are going with those goals. The first month or so of working towards a new goal or target is often easier than we thought it might be. This is often due to the novelty factor of a new habit or routine. Unfortunately, as that novelty wears off it can often be difficult to make sure you keep on track, especially when new challenges crop up in the meantime.

So how is it going? Are you still in the honeymoon period with your 2016 goals or are you struggling to keep reaping the benefits?

February can be a tricky month for staying on target. If this feels true for you, it might be time to bring in some help. Investing in some coaching sessions could be an excellent way to ensure you stay true to your goals and work towards greater success in the future.

If you’re not sure how a coach would help in this situation, here’s a few examples.

A coach would work with you to review your 2016 goals

Sometimes we struggle to keep goals because they weren’t the right ones for us to have made in the first place. Alternatively, we may be having an issue because even though the overall goal is a wise one, the  individual steps we’ve set ourselves in order to work towards it need tweaking.

An experienced coach would start by reviewing the goals you’ve set and making sure they’re achievable and relevant to your individual situation. They would also help you to break big goals up into a series of smaller manageable targets.

A  coach would act as an accountability partner

Not only would a coach help to ensure the goals you’re working towards are the right ones, they would also give you further accountability to stay on target. Organising a monthly or quarterly check in with a coach can often help motivate us to have some progress to show!

A coach would offer impartial guidance and experience

It can be incredibly difficult to get a true picture of what your business situation looks like from the outside. A professional coach can be a great solution for this as they’re able to look impartially at the facts without getting caught up in the emotional side of owning a business. They would also be able to offer pointers and things to think about from their own experience, both as a business owner themselves and as someone who has helped countless other people through similar challenges.

A coach would remind you to focus on the bigger picture

When you work hard every day to keep things in your business ticking over it can be really easy to lose track of what you’re aiming for. Regular sessions with a coach would give you a neutral space to think about the bigger picture and remember why you set goals to begin with.

If you think it might be time to get some support with your 2016 goals, I’d love to hear from you. Why not read about how to tell when you’ve found the right coach for you or take my questionnaire to find out if you’re ready for coaching?

Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business, Make Wise Choices

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It’s the start of a brand new year and many of you will have sat down over the last few days to make New Year’s resolutions for your business. I’m a big believer in the power of goal setting… so it may surprise you to know that I don’t advocate making resolutions at New Year.

There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with setting achievable and realistic targets for your business. Unfortunately, in my experience New Year’s resolutions don’t typically fall into this category.

Why is this? 

The problem with making resolutions at New Year is that we often get caught up in the the magic of the season and decide on targets that are just too lofty. No matter how determined you are, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to completely transform yourself or your business overnight!

Real change takes consistent work over time. In fact, psychologists have shown that real change is forged by slowly adapting our thinking in order to create new neural pathways. In other words, if you want to make a real difference in your business, you’ll need to concentrate on gradually changing your working habits in order to create better ones.

Progress is really important in business and it is vitally important to make sure you’re regularly setting and reviewing targets.

So how can you do this in a way that works?

If you’re determined to make a positive impact on your business in 2016, there are many effective ways to do it. Below are nine of the most useful pieces of goal-related advice I share with my coaching clients.

Keep these in mind when it comes to target setting and you’ll find your efforts are much more successful than they have been in the past.

  1. Forget year-long resolutions. Instead of setting one big goal for an entire twelve months, aim to work towards smaller quarterly or monthly targets.
  2. Think about the realistic rather than the ideal. After all, you can only start from where you are right now.
  3. Give yourself permission to consider what you really want for your business rather than what you think you should want.
  4. Don’t try to do it alone: appoint yourself an accountability partner to use as a sounding board and keep you in check.
  5. Sit down regularly to assess how well you’re doing, what’s gone well and what didn’t go the way you expected it to.
  6. Give yourself a pat on the back for each success, however small. Running a business isn’t easy and it’s important to give yourself the credit you deserve!
  7. Recognise that it’s generally the progress that matters, not the end result. Big changes happen one small step at a time.
  8. Don’t keep going back to goals that don’t work, if you haven’t been able to make progress towards them after numerous attempts, it may not be the right direction for you to be moving in.
  9. Focus on getting better at reflecting on your past successes and challenges. That way you’ll be better equipped to make wiser business choices in the future.

Did you find these suggestions useful? I’d love to share more advice with you throughout the year. Why not connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to see regular blog post updates?