2018: Setting Realistic Goals for the New Year with Alissa Zimmerman
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It’s a new year, which means it’s time to sit down and evaluate your goals for the year ahead. It’s easy to get caught up in the “new year, new you” mindset and get overwhelmed setting unrealistic goals for yourself and your business. When that happens, nothing happens. Nothing productive, at least. The goals are too big and your ability to execute any of them too daunting, so you don’t meet them. And so you feel like a failure by the end of the first quarter.
This unicorn really is possible. It’s all about finding what works for you. I stumble across so many blog posts and articles about finding work/life balance and practicing self-care. What the social media world expects you to do with your life is a bunch of crap, and let’s be honest: No one actually does all of these things these blogs and articles tell you to do (at least no real business owner trying to build an empire).
With that, I repeat, find what works for you. We all need to practice self-care on at least a weekly basis. This concept of work/life balance was never meant to be dictated by someone else. Your balance is just that: yours. So why let someone else tell you how to live your life or tell you what should or should not make you happy?
I find balance in keeping a cleared inbox and a short to-do list. That takes a little work. But it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life: Some days are exhausting, some days are slower. And on those slower days, I make time for myself in some fashion. Work/life balance is a mindset, an understanding of what sacrifices need to be made to get yourself to a balanced life.
This is your life. You are a business owner and have the luxury of building the life of your dreams. How badly do you want this? What are you willing to do to reach financial freedom, to wake up every day and love what you do? This is priceless to me.
“Always aim for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
–W. Clement Stone
An opportunity is what you make of it, and is really only an opportunity if you see it as one. It all comes back to your state of mind. Are you ready to see every open door as an opportunity to better yourself and your business? Or are your fears stopping you from seeing opportunities that are smacking you in the face?
Now is your chance to get your back of house in order so you can start seizing every new opportunity in front of you. There’s no reason to let fear get in the way. It’s a waste of time. What’s the worst that could happen? You fail? Who cares?
To quote the infamous Aaliyah: “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.” Life is too short to be anything less than extraordinary, so stop worrying about what could go wrong in life and just do what makes you happy.
Set Your Flags
Goals that you set personally and professionally have to be actionable. Do not set goals without putting together a plan for executing them. That means you have to set realistic expectations. Do you have a team of people to help you execute these items, or are you doing this by yourself? Are you working with tight deadlines on any of the items on your list?
When putting your goals together, it’s best to assign deadlines and estimated times of completion so you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Do a giant brain dump at first. List every big goal—think big picture here, not minutia. What is something you want to achieve in 2018? Put that item on your list.
Once you have all of your goals listed, determine what needs to be done to accomplish them. Start assigning tasks to yourself (and/or your team) to begin executing them. Assign tasks by quarter, and make sure they are appropriate to the time of year they are assigned to. If you want to rework your client experience or back-of-house workflows, don’t assign it to yourself in the second or third quarter, the busiest times of the year.
Once you have your flags set, it’s time to get to work.
Weigh Your Opportunities
Not all opportunities need to be acted on. At a certain point, you need to weigh your options and determine what is worthy of your efforts and what is just not viable at that moment.
Learning how to say no is one of the best skills I have learned. Saying no to another person or opportunity can be hard. It doesn’t have to be. Keep your answer short and simple, direct and to the point. You never want to be rude, but you need to know when to draw the line. Drawing up a list of pros and cons comes in handy. It allows you to visually weigh your options.
It is also important to not feel guilty about your decision to say no. It is human nature to feel obligated to say yes to another person to avoid confrontation. Being able to say no when something just isn’t the right fit for you shows you are in control of your life. Always do what’s right for you, and always trust your instincts. Nothing is worse than committing to something and then backing out later. Your name and reputation matter, and maintaining integrity is the most important piece of the puzzle.
Work Hard, Play Harder
Now for the fun part. The new year offers a chance for you to get out there and kick some serious ass. Work hard. Push yourself to limits you didn’t think possible. When you feel like giving up, push harder. You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish when you stay focused and on track with your goals and flags throughout the year.
My biggest piece of advice: Don’t forget to celebrate and enjoy the benefits of all your hard work. When you have a win, celebrate, but then get right back to business. Lingering on a celebration can delay your mission. Stay focused, but have fun along the way and always enjoy the life you’ve built.