I have found that no matter the industry, business owners and entrepreneurs always have goals they want to accomplish to better and grow their business. However, sometimes these goals can be unrealistic or too ambitious, resulting in fatigue, burnout, and disappointment.
The start of the new year is a great time to set achievable goals you envision accomplishing for your business in the future. The first thing that comes to mind is New Year’s resolutions, but as a coach, I have witnessed firsthand how these rigid resolutions can set you up for failure. As a Master Coach, I help my clients design the life they want, and give them the encouragement to live it. I serve as a judgment-free partner, providing clients with a new outlook and helping individuals who feel stuck utilize new strategies to accomplish their goals.
Additionally, in my role as President of LeTip of West Desert, I have worked alongside business owners in all industries, from social media marketing to residential real estate. In the weekly meetings with my networking group, my fellow members often express that they have trouble staying committed to the goals they plan to accomplish by the end of a new year. I help them avoid the common pitfalls and achieve their desired goals by showing them the benefits of following a set structure to guide their thinking and push them forward.
I will explain how shifting your mindset from negative to positive by setting intentions rather than resolutions can push you forward in your journey and accomplish your goals. I will also be identifying the elements of a SMART goal because the ways you structure your goals impacts your likelihood of achieving them.
It is critical to make the distinction between resolutions, intentions, and SMART goals:
- A resolution is a statement to change a perceived problem you want to fix, positioning you in a negative frame of mind.
- An intention is a targeted focus on creating goodness in your life based on your values.
- A SMART goal is a specific goal framework that helps you create a plan and stay on track and when reaching personal or professional goals.
The following five steps will explain how to formulate business goals that you can realistically accomplish in a year’s time and still feel challenged and fulfilled as a small business owner through utilizing the strategy of intention and SMART goal setting:
- Shift your mindset from setting a resolution to setting an intention
Research shows that only 10% of people successfully stick to their New Year’s resolutions, and multiple psychological studies suggest that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. So, what is wrong with resolutions? Clearly defined resolutions are still too strict and often lead to disappointment when circumstances inevitably stray from the concrete plan that you laid out in the beginning.
Resolutions are dictated by what we or even society has deemed as “wrong” and needs to be fixed. As a result, our focus is unintentionally shifted onto the negative thoughts about where you currently are on the path to achieving your goals. These resolutions can start to feel like a burden and become an obstruction to reaching your goals.
2. Define your intention
Choose to shift your focus from the framework of a resolution to an intention. Intentions open the door for individuals to organically build a supportive structure to enact positive change through exploration and asking questions rather than sticking to the fixed mindset of a resolution. It recognizes the intricacies of each individual journey and opens up multiple paths to the desired outcome.
Unlike a resolution, an intention does not imply something is wrong with the way you currently live. An intention motivates you to look inward and choose every day to be the best version of yourself, which is why setting goals based on intentions is the key to accomplishing them.
In order to set a powerful intention for the new year:
- Clearly articulate what you want to cultivate or achieve
- Create an affirming “I am” statement around your intention that you repeat to yourself in the present tense as if it is already a reality
- Simplify your intention into one word, so you can easily carry your intention with you into the new year and the future
3. Develop a SMART goal that aligns with your intention
Now that you have defined your intention, you can utilize this intention to fully develop your SMART goal. The term SMART goal is an acronym for setting goals that are:
- Specific: Clearly define the who, what, when, where, and even why of your goals.
- Measurable: Outline the milestones you’ll need to hit on the way to achieving your goals through asking yourself specific questions: How much? How often? How many?
- Attainable: Setting an unrealistic goal is setting yourself up for failure and be sure to set your own goals rather than basing your goals on the expectations of others.
- Relevant: Be sure that your goals align with your personal and professional values and the values of your team.
- Time-based: Set a deadline to motivate yourself to take the necessary action to achieve your goals.
When documenting the progress you are making towards fully achieving your SMART goal, it is essential to consistently check-in with yourself to reassess.
4. Check-in with yourself to keep track of your progress
Approaching your goals with compassion for yourself and having faith in the process is an integral part of successfully accomplishing them. Remember to review your intention regularly. Do you need to change course, overcome a roadblock, or change directions? Establishing benchmarks based on the victories along the way that may seem small in the moment will motivate you to keep moving forward and continue living by your chosen intention.
Your network is also an important resource to utilize in this process. I have learned that having a trusted mentor or business network to integrate into your tracking is extremely beneficial because they can hold you accountable for your progress. For example, when I meet with my LeTip networking group, I engage an open dialogue with members, asking about how things are going and if there is anything I can do to help them with their goals.
5. Evaluate and celebrate success
You will accomplish your goals when you clearly set your intentions. Rather than focusing on what you do not have, you will continue onward with your journey, making the adjustments necessary to keep moving toward your desired outcome. As you reflect on your journey, be proud of yourself and your hard work paying off. Share your successes and celebrate with your team, mentors, and business network.
Closing: Your mindset is a powerful tool you can utilize to accomplish your business goals moving into the new year. By shifting your focus from the negative mindset of resolution into the positive mindset of an intention, you can accomplish the goals that you envision for the future of your business. For example, if your goal is business growth, consider how you might do this, like by coming up with a lead generation strategy that involves networking on a regular basis through groups like LeTip. The focus of an intention is internal – on your relationship with yourself, and confronting your own negative self-doubt makes all the difference when taking action to growing your business.
About Joy Huntsman
Joy is a Master Life Coach, Business Consultant, and Mentor. Her workshops and coaching inspire participants to be their best selves, hone their leadership skills, and master the art of creating deep, meaningful relationships. She knows the life-shaping experiences and challenges along her life’s journey have contributed to her holistic approach to coaching:
• to see the light at the end of the tunnel
• to recognize life lessons to avoid repeating them
• to support you in designing the life you want and living it successfully.
She can confidently say, “Life works better with joy.”