Monday, January 06, 2014

Upping Your Game: Action Plan for 2014

One of the biggest problem with New Year's Resolutions is that we set them and forget them for roughly 345 days. (Some of us -- not typically me -- make it through to the middle or end of January.)
In the past, I've been known to have completely forgotten my goals, a few days after New Year's has come and gone. If you struggle with your resolutions or objectives and goals as I like to call them, here's an action plan (a tried and true plan that I use with all of my clients).
2014 Goals
If you ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you I'm crazy organized. Give me a date and a goal and I'll come up with a plan for making it happen. Now when it comes to my own life outside of my clients, I'm not so organized. So, when I started thinking about this year's objectives and goals I was surprised to find I'd actually jotted down my 2013 goals (I often don't). More startling was the fact I'd achieved some of them! Immediately, I decided this year is going to be different!
This is the year that I treat myself like a client. I'm going to use my mad organizational skills on my personal life.

How to Achieve Your Goals in 2014

At the beginning of every fiscal year, I make my team go through the following steps. This exercise gets us on the same page, identifying any areas of contention and facilitating a discussion of approaches that will enable us to meet our goals.
  1. Write them down. Sounds obvious but it's not. I don't mean capture them digitally. I mean grabbing paper and pen or canvas and watercolors or whatever and transferring your goals onto a physical medium. There's a permanence to your goals when you represent them physically.
  2. Post them where you can see them first thing every day. With your goals visible as new projects and opportunities come up you'll be able to evaluate whether they advance your goals or distract you.
  3. Purchase or make a physical day planner. It's often said, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." Likewise, if you don't record what you plan to do and annotate what you did do, you won't be able to evaluate which of your goals and tactics did or didn't work. A calendar or a day planner can be a great tool for year end retrospection.
  4. Mark all important dates in your day planner. Include holidays and all team member vacations. Black out dates force you to avoid over scheduling or launching the same day as your lead is getting married or at the hospital delivering a baby.
  5. Color code all activities related to a particular objective or goal so that you can see at a glance the ratio of your activities to goals. This helps you determine whether or not your time is being spent in the right place. If you day planner or Google Calendar are completely highlighted in the color associated with your lowest priority goal, it's time to reevaluate what you're doing.
  6. Duplicate your calendar in Google Calendar and share with your colleagues (husband, parents, children, etcetera.). This ensures that everyone is on and stays on the same page.
  7. Set digital reminders for each goal. Depending on how easily you get distracted, you may want to set these reminders as frequently as monthly. In each reminder, note what you hoped to have accomplished.
  8. At regular intervals, sit down for an hour and evaluate your progress. You can block time out in your calendar with your digital reminders or meet with yourself more frequently.
  9. Revise your goals as necessary.

2014 Mood Board

How I Came Up with My Goals for 2014

Friday I shared my objectives for 2014. This year I have three, one of which I had last year as well. They are:
  1. "Build a profitable business that fills my heart." - Hilary Rushford, The 4-Part Entrepreneur Cocktail (aka Develop a business plan.)
  2. Pursue a formalized weekly thankfulness exercise.
  3. Internalize a daily 20 minutes of creativity practice.
My goals for 2014 flow directly from these objectives. Because a six month period is too long for me, unlike last year, I'll be reviewing progress towards my goals every three months and adjusting.
First let me say, I don't believe goals are hard and set. If circumstances, or market conditions change, goals should adapt as well. I've worked in a few places where MBOs (Management by Objectives) were set for the year and people were held to them even though they no longer made sense for the product or the company. In the end, everyone suffered.
Definition of Tactic
I considered each objective separately and wrote goals (or tactics) for achieving each. Here's my partial list of goals/tactics for 2014:
  1. Have a consistent, professional online presence that showcases what I offer: branding, content development, product definition, and analysis.
  2. Develop more for-pay content to achieve a 3:1 ratio.
  3. Show up where my customers are and network in person at least once a month.
  4. Have each member of the family write down what they're thankful for on a slip of paper and after sharing over a meal place in a jar.
  5. Recruit three contributors for the #HaveNotWant Challenge and get at least 100 participants this year.
  6. For all of 2014, post one photo on Instagram that represents a positive moment and tag with #myordinary_365. Each month, choose four photos for a month end wrap up post for the blog.
  7. Each week, set an intention to ponder and explore throughout the week. Share the intention on Monday on Instagram with #MondayMaxim tag. Write a Ponder post and share the following week on the blog.

What tips do you have for accomplishing your goals?
Ciao Bella!
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Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.