The new year is just around the corner. It’s all the buzz on the internet for online business owners to perfectly plan out their year, and let everyone know all the amazing things they’re going to accomplish.
But before you go planning out your goals for 2018, I want you to pause for moment. Hop in your DeLorean and take a trip back to December 2016.
Are you there? Good. Time travelling success.
You see yourself a year younger with your planner in hand prepping for an epic year, right?
Okay, hop in and zip back to the present as this year comes to a close. Did you accomplish everything that you planned back then? Better yet, do you even remember all the goals you had set? How many of your goals changed throughout the year?
Yeah, I thought so.
Many of the successful online entrepreneurs that you see killin’ it every year have a secret tool up their sleeve, and I want to tell you about it before you waste another year of your life.
Long-term goals don’t typically pan out quite how you expected, but short-term goals totally do.
Now, I’m not saying to not have a vision of what you’d like to accomplish by December 2018, but don’t waste your time scheduling every little actionable step you think you’ll need to get there.
Why Short-Term Goals Are Better
One word. MOMENTUM.
Here’s the thing about setting short-term goals – they’re easy to achieve because they don’t take you months to complete.
If you’re working on a goal over the course of twelve months, there’s all kinds of things that could get in the way or alter your plans.
If you’re setting a goal over the span of only three months, however, guess what happens? You can place your actionable steps into small chunks of 1-2 weeks and completely slay your goals!
You’ll be so proud of yourself, and the extra boost of adrenaline will propel you straight through your next productive sprint.
So by setting goals that are easier to reach and narrowing your focus, you can pump everything you have into getting things done; the fire inside you will grow and your productivity will skyrocket when you don’t make such daunting, unrealistic plans.
Determining What Goals to Set
So, here’s the tricky part – how do you determine what goals to set?
You know your goals need to be measurable, but what does that mean to you? Be specific about the value of what you’d like to accomplish.
If you’re goal is to earn 100k this year, don’t think that means you need to make 25k every quarter. Instead, scale your business to continuously make more and more throughout the year.
Let me explain…
The first quarter of the year, your priority may be to grow your audience, so your numbers should be focused on email subscribers – the dolla bills will follow.
Although you’re not using a dollar amount for your goal each quarter, you’re still using a numerical value as a means to measure your success – grow your audience and grow your income.
Your goal will typically be your end result.
Your energy is better spent working towards your end result by accomplishing each individual step in the process – one by one.
Long-term goals don’t typically pan out quite how you expected, but short-term goals totally do. @TheCreativeBoss
Setting Action Plans for Short-Term Goals
Let’s follow the example we just used… we know we need to start by focusing on growing our email list.
Now decide on a solid plan to make that happen.
Some ideas for this would be to do webinars, find blogs where you can guest post, or find peers to collaborate with on projects so you can expand your reach.
Determine what it is that your audience wants, then give them a taste in exchange for an email address.
There’s one crucial piece to the short-term goal setting puzzle that may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many don’t make it a priority and end up losing focus.
Don’t underestimate the importance of writing it down.
Invest in a planner, map everything out, and utilize it every day.
A planner will help you outline time frames for each step. You know your end date, so jot down your goal and work backwards from there giving yourself deadlines for each step.
Every task deserves its own spot on your to-do list.
It’s essential to break them down as small as possible so it’s easier to figure out how long it should take you to reach your goal. This will definitely help you to get things done and keep from falling behind.
Measuring Your Success
This is where you get to see the importance of using numerical values when setting your goals. It’s much easier to measure something when you give it a quantifier.
Sure, you can use the pass or fail method, but that doesn’t tell you how close you came to your goal if it failed. You also won’t be able to pinpoint what exactly worked and what didn’t.
The secret to reaching goals is finding a way to measure your progress along the way – not just look at it after the deadline. By using this approach, you can reroute any time during your process if you need to. So, if the numbers aren’t moving how you’d like them to, take a step back and pivot your direction.
The ability to change course is a vital element in accomplishing your goals.
If your only means of measuring your progress is by success or failure, knowing when to change course is almost impossible
Rinse and Repeat
You’ve planned your first big, scary goal for the year and knocked it out of the park!
Quite the adrenaline rush, huh?
You’ll be even more excited and confident to outline and tackle your next big goal for the second quarter.
A huge perk to this method is racking up extra time that you can put towards other things for a month or so. Before diving into another big project, take a breather from work. Go on a vacation or take on that home renovation you’ve been putting on the backburner.
When you get back to the grind, you’ll have a clear mind and fresh perspective.
You’ve established a solid foundation for setting short-term goals. You’ve seen how much you can accomplish in a smaller time frame. So you’ll be eager to repeat the process and watch your business thrive throughout the year.
Now utilize that planner you invested in and take notes of what worked out and what could be improved, so you’ll be more and more successful.
Sarah is the founder and lead designer of The Creative Boss. After years of running handmade shops on Etsy and scouring the interwebs for tips and advice on how to grow and succeed online, I knew that there needed to be a change! The Creative Boss was launched to offer a one stop shop for busy creatives who want to succeed online with ease.