Goal setting can be challenging, but the effort you put in can pay off in big ways for your business. Let’s be honest, we all go into the new year with the best of intentions for our businesses, but it’s easy for the ebbs and flows of life to throw challenges in our path, especially as parents.
Ultimately, the real challenge is not in determining if you want to achieve your business goals—most of us do—but instead, deciding if you’re ready to commit to the goals you set by carving out and spending time on them each day.
As we’ve learned after many years of helping moms start businesses-- it’s not about doing all the things, it’s about doing the right things well. So today, we’re sharing the top five goal setting tips we’ve found to help you make progress toward your small business goals every day of the year, and grow your business in sustainable ways that inspire you and fuel your growth.
5 tips to help you create goals that stick this year:
- Write them down
Study after study has proven that we remember information better when we write it down. In fact, writing your goals can lead to 33% more success compared to just trying to store them in your head.
Why does it help to write your goals down? Put simply, the process of physically writing down a goal helps you better recall and visualize what you want to achieve than by simply thinking about it.
Speaking of writing down your goals. We’ve created an incredible small business goal planning worksheet for you to do just that (and it’s free!).
- Break goals into simple, achievable acts
The fastest way to derail your success is by making your goals too big. Breaking each one down into smaller chunks can help keep you on track and moving forward.
Make each step—especially the first—small and achievable. We call these “Simple Acts” and each results in a “quick win,” and a dopamine release in your brain. This dopamine helps to keep you feeling more motivated and excited to make progress. These small wins are the best way to keep momentum up on your goals.
Try this formula for your simple acts (don’t forget to write it down): “During the next week, I will do [task] on [date/time] at/in [place]”.
- Show up for yourself
Whenever you set a new goal and begin working toward it, the single most important thing you can do is show up. In the beginning, showing up is even more important than succeeding. If you don't build this habit first, then you won’t have much to improve upon and your business will suffer.
What may initially seem like small insignificant steps—completed consistently over time—creates a radical difference. It's great to brainstorm and think about what you could do or what you’d like to do in your life and business, but what truly moves the needle is blocking off time in your calendar of choice (online or paper) to make things happen, consistently.
For example, at Pepperlane, we’ve been hosting virtual co-working hours each week to help our members “hold time” to work on a project that’s in line with one of their top challenges. Whether that’s making progress on their profile to improve their conversion rate, developing an email nurture series for new subscribers, or even as small as getting feedback on a Canva design for their next Facebook post.
Having the time blocked off in a calendar helps them make progress, and as we mentioned above, that feels fantastic!
- Find accountability buddies
Ready for the not-so-hidden secret to successfully hitting your goals? It’s all about accountability. A recent study by The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) suggests that those who set specific accountability meetings with someone else are 95% more likely to achieve the goals they set.
Why? Unfortunately, we humans are just less likely to get things done if we’re only accountable to ourselves, it’s easy and natural to make excuses when life gets in the way, but when you’ve said you’ll do something specific, by a certain date, to a single person, or small group, you’re more likely to do it because you engage the power of social expectations.
Try this: Reach out to one other business owner today (we’ve got plenty in our Facebook community) and tell them what you’d like to get done and how you’d like them to hold you accountable. You can also attend one of our Boost events where you’ll be in a group of nine other women in business who will help you stay accountable to your “Simple Acts.”
- Say no
Setting boundaries in your business is important, especially when setting goals. Developing your “no” muscle will help you stay focused and productive as you work on your goals.
Goal setting is not about completing 12 things hastily, but instead, aligning your resources to make one big push towards your top goal. This means you’ll have to say no to be mindful of your resource expenditures, both time and money.
Don’t like the word no? Try, “not right now,” or, “maybe in the future.” It takes time to get comfortable saying no, but using this one word will reap big rewards on your business and life.
Putting these tips into practice will help remove some of the fear around goal setting year round. To make it even easier, we’ve created a FREE Vision & Goal Setting Worksheet to help you set your small business goals.