We’ve done it! We’ve conquered all 83 days of January!
Now how are you getting on with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you making steady progress towards achieving your 2019 goals? How sure are you that you will achieve your objectives? Can you say with relative certainty what progress you will have made towards reaching those goals by the end of January, Q2 or the middle of the year?
If you’re feeling confident, you’ve probably written down not only where you want to get to, but also how you are going to get there, and when.
And if everything I’m saying is making you feel uneasy, I’m going to guess you either haven’t set goals yet, or your objectives are still fluffy and not written down.
If you want to be successful this year, that’s got to change. Research shows that if you write down your goals, you’re 42% more likely to achieve them than if they only stay in your head.
There are many reasons for this: writing down your goals gives clarity and kickstarts creative, strategic thinking about how you will go about achieving them. Having them written down somewhere visible also serves as a reminder and provides motivation, especially if you also track progress in the same place.
It is also useful as a means to remind yourself of what is actually important in your business. If something doesn’t serve you in your pursuit of your objectives, you shouldn’t do it.
How to set your goals
I hope I’ve convinced you about the importance of setting goals and writing them down. Now you need to be aware of the three biggest traps you can fall into with goal setting are:
Failing to link your marketing objectives to your business objectives (and by extension your “why”). It’s no good setting an objective such as “increase my Facebook page likes by x amount” if you don’t know for sure that Facebook page likes contribute to your sales.
Not being ambitious enough and so setting yourself up for underachievement based on your potential.
Being too vague.
The best way to avoid these three traps is to set SMART goals.
S - Specific (as opposed to vague)
M - Measurable (so it is clear whether or not it has been achieved)
A - Achievable (but not too easy)
R - Relevant (to your business goals)
T - Time bound (with a deadline attached to it)
So an example SMART objective might be: “To increase room bookings for April 2019 by 10%” Or “To grow my Instagram audience to 500 by June”. And NOT “Make more money” (because it’s not specific or time bound) or “Post more on Instagram in February” (because it’s not specific or relevant).
SMART goals can be tracked over time, and at the end of the period, it’s clear whether you’ve achieved it or not.
Once you’ve set your annual goals (and you can also set more long-term goals), you need to break them down into smaller chunks of tasks or micro SMART goals. This is so you can track progress and also get the satisfaction of ticking things off your to-do list.
So take one of your objectives for the year and break it down into separate tasks or markers. For example, say one of your objectives for the year is to increase the amount of business you get via organic traffic to your site. Achieving this will consist of doing a number of things, for example assessing the current performance of your site, doing keyword analysis, publishing regular, organic content and linkbuilding. Examples of micro goals could then be doing the keyword analysis or writing x number of blog posts.
And remember that goals need to be SMART.
S - Specific e.g. write blog posts
M - Measurable e.g. 4
A - Achievable - consider whether you have the time to do it yourself or if you need to outsource
R - Relevant - is it related to your annual objectives which are in line with your business goals
T - Time bound - set a deadline
Just do it
Goalsetting - like other elements of planning and strategising - sometimes takes a backseat to more pressing issues such as hitting your revenue targets this week or hitting your deadline today.
But the benefits are undeniable: clear, SMART goals that are written down provide the guidance and motivation to actually get the big things done.
No more dreaming, the time for doing is here.