:Mindset / Success and goal setting

Is 2021 leaving you with unmet goals? Here’s how to navigate that

woman cutting a wick off homemade candle woman cutting a wick off homemade candle

The end of the year can be an equally exciting and stressful time for entrepreneurs. The wrap of the fourth quarter also brings time to assess which goals you could achieve and which you weren’t able to meet. While this is a necessary part of running your business, it can feel pretty uncomfortable to look over goals that didn’t come to life. Sometimes it can feel like downright failure and cause feelings of imposter syndrome. That can make setting goals for the next year even more daunting. 

Instead of letting self-doubt take over, there’s a way to assess and review your unmet goals that will inspire and inform your goal-setting for the new year—and keep the momentum going. Have these tips below handy as you review your fiscal year so you can get into an easy flow for planning goals for the new year. 

Commit to reviewing your goals in detail

Perhaps you’re the type of entrepreneur who carefully tracks sales and other numbers throughout the year, or maybe you’re not really sure what to expect when you sit down to do your end-of-year review. Either way, if you have a feeling that you didn’t meet your goals, it’s more likely that you’ll avoid the task or approach it with dread. 

No matter how you’re feeling going into it, make the commitment by setting aside time to carefully review your goals from the year. If you’re already feeling the resistance to doing it, try to make the process a bit more enjoyable by turning on some relaxing music and treating yourself to a nice warm drink before hitting the books with a red marker. 

Neutralize negativity

As you look at which goals you met or not, be mindful of your internal dialogue. Unmet goals do not automatically equate to failure. And even then, failure doesn’t have to have such a dire connotation. 

Oftentimes, the story of failure is told from a lack perspective: The endeavor didn’t work out because you didn’t post enough on social media about your launch, or you didn’t make enough connections with your audience or potential clients. Essentially, that something you did or didn’t do just wasn’t enough. That can really sting.

Instead of making it a personal story, (“I didn’t do enough and that’s why I failed”), reframe the narrative. Failure, mistakes, and unmet goals are an indicator of innovation and risk-taking—elements that are essential for successful entrepreneurs. So rather than seeing your unmet goal as a horrible loss, instead it can be a reflection of your willingness to try new things and to set the bar high—and no matter what the outcome was of that, it deserves a celebratory pat on the back. 

Gather all the information possible

Once you’ve neutralized any stories or negative thoughts around perceived failure and unmet goals, look at the numbers and details of each goal as a wealth of information. Ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. Get curious and do some digging—looking in depth at analytics can be very helpful in this. You can use this feature on different social media platforms, and also tools like Clicktale when analyzing your website traffic and email campaigns. 

Ask yourself how the numbers and other observational data that relates to an unmet goal can paint a larger picture of the situation. Once you sit down with this information in a neutral way, it makes it easier to spot what went amiss and what can shift for next time.

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Evaluate the criteria of the goal

Sometimes goals weren’t met simply because the time frame was off, or because when you set the goal you didn’t realize other moving pieces that would need to fall into place. That’s completely normal and part of the process.

Besides looking at the numbers, carefully assess the criteria of your goal and notice the ways that might have impacted the outcome. For example, maybe you set a goal to sell 10 coaching packages with your online course per month. However, once you started doing this, you realized that 10 one-on-one clients a month was way too much to handle, so you scaled it back to seven to avoid burnout. In the end, you may not have met the original goal, but you were fluid with the process. Plus, making needed adjustments as you go is more important than just ticking off the box of goal completion. 

As you review each goal, look for places where the numbers, time frame, and measurable actions could be shifted to make the goal more realistic and attainable.

Is this goal still for you?

One of the graceful feats of being your own boss is being able to pivot and shift when needed. Holding onto goals just for the sake of seeing them through to completion could be adding unnecessary pressure to your plate. If the goal wasn’t met, ask yourself if the goal is still in alignment with bringing your business vision to life in the new year. If so, check in with yourself about what could shift with either the goal itself or your process. Remember to stay in a place of neutrality as you do this.

Perseverance and careful consideration are key when analyzing unmet goals and deciding if and how they should fit into your new plan for 2022. Instead of getting sucked into a quagmire of self doubt with unmet goals, let them be a treasure trove of information and further motivation to see them through to the end, even if the original time frame wasn’t met.

Author: Nicole Quintana-Wolf, Nicole is a former public school teacher turned Teacher Wellness Coach and entrepreneur. Catch her on Instagram @wellnesswith_mswolf for live meditations, tips to master your mindset, and more.

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