The New Year is dangerously close. This week you will see TONS of "Do this" "Do that" posts—and this is one of them, but I'm not sorry. Whether 2015 was a great, subpar or just downright hard—2016 offers you a fresh chance at new beginnings.
A chance to stick to your goals, grow your list, engage with your tribe. The New Year is a magical time to reflect not only on where you have been, but where you are going. That is why I am excited about 2016.
Sure, there are millions of things that you can do to prepare yourself and your business for the New Year, but that may leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused when it comes to actually achieving your goals and setting measurable objectives.
So, here are my top five things that you need to do on January 1, 2016 to set yourself up for success all year long. And, just for fun, here is a worksheet to help you map it out as we dig in!
1. Write out your top five goals.
Goals are a natural part of planning for any business. As the New Year approaches you may be dreaming about new KPI (key performance indicators) to track and evaluate, or new metrics to hit MoM (month over month). Setting goals is a great way to mentally prepare yourself for the next season of life with your business. Usually, you can set goals by just writing them out, jotting them on the corner of a notebook, pasting them on your wall—not generally with much rhyme or reason.
But on this day, January 1, 2016, I want you to set five very specific goals in a very specific way.
First, write out your loftiest goal for 2016. Dream big, my friend. Now, tell me why. What will you measure? Why is this goal important? How will it change, impact or strengthen your business overall?
Second, write out two actionable goals. These are goals that you can achieve today. They are powered by you. By your actions, choices and work. These goals require you to schedule your time effectively, do the "hard" thing. Now, tell me why these goals are important to your business? What will they result in? Can you measure their impact? If so, how will you?
Finally, write out two goals that will require you to step outside of your comfort zone, but can be accomplished with some work. Unlike your loftiest goal, these are manageable and you can see a clear path to their completion. But, unlike the actionable goals above, these will require you to do something hard that is outside of your comfort zone. You will need to push yourself—hard. Now, tell me what accomplishing these goals will mean for you? how will they make you feel? What will their accomplishment mean for your business?
2. Review your greatest failure of 2015.
It is bittersweet to move out of 2015. For me, this was a year of growth, of finding myself. It was a year of birth, struggle and flourish. McAlpin Creative was born this year, and for that I will always be thankful. I found my passion, trapped deep inside my longing and predispositions. I realized my calling and, harder yet, realized where I no longer wanted to be.
I won battles, but I lost battles too—those are the ones I am focusing on in 2016.
Take a moment and think about your greatest failure of 2015. What did it mean for your business? For your life? Could you have prevented the failure? What steps led to the failure? What would you do differently? How has your business grown from the failure?
Answering these questions will allow you to begin to dissect your actions and evaluate why your failure occurred. And more, allow you to see that sometimes your greatest failure can act as your deepest strength when it is fully understood.
3. Connect with someone who will be instrumental in your growth.
We all know that community is vital to our success as entrepreneurs. We need support, guidance and tough love from someone who understands what we are walking through. The third thing that you need to do today, January 1, 2016 is find someone to connect with. A mentor to help you through the sleepless nights full of business decisions and rejections. Someone who intimately understands where you are struggling and why you are so driven to succeed.
Take some time and come up with five influencers that you value. They may be fellow business owners, executives or just peers that you look up to. Now, reach out to every single one of them. Connect with them. Offer your time, support and advice. Help each other.
These people will be your backbone this year. They will help you to grow, push yourself and navigate the ebbs and flows of your business.
4. Choose five tools to invest in.
Make 2016 a year of investment. Your business can only grow as far as you venture to push it, and most of the time, that means investment. Investing in your business is always critical, whether you are succeeding or failing, investment into tools will always ease your burden and increase your productivity.
Take some time and jot down five areas of your business that are just plain hard. They are bulky, not functioning seamlessly—they need help. This can be anything from email marketing to content creation. Now, take those five areas and make the decision to invest in them. If you struggle with email automation, upgrade your services to make your life easier (or hire a VA to help you get set up!). If content creation has you down, then invest in a course that will help you to find your direction and strategically improve your impact. Use this list as your guide as your resources allow you to invest back into your business.
5. Determine your #passionproject.
I am big on passion projects. I need them in my life, and I would venture to guess that you do too. You may do what you love, I know I do, but that doesn't mean that you don't need a creative outlet. For me, I am a marketer. I love content creation and strategy—I am passionate about it. But, I still need my passion projects. Things that are so unrelated to my business that they allow me time to relax, reflect and re-center. For me, these are kayaking, hiking, painting and poetry.
Take some time and write out 3-5 passion projects that are missing from your life. Maybe you used to journal, but have been too busy to even think about it. Maybe you are an artist but haven't drawn in years. Now intentionally write these into your 2016 schedule. Make time to be passionate. The more creative and passionate you are in your personal life, the more productive and successful you will be in your business.
Above all else, take time today to be thankful for everything that you have—I know I am. From my business to my family to you, I am so thankful for everything that 2015 brought to me. But, I can't wait to see what 2016 still has in store!
What about you? What would you add to this list of must-dos for January 1, 2016? I would love to hear below!