Guide: Setting realistic goals for the new year

Guide: Setting realistic goals for the new year

Now is prime time for setting new goals, and depending on various factors such as how the last year in business went, for example, this could present itself as a very daunting task. Whether you want to launch your course in the new year or you’re well-established with your business, setting realistic goals that also push you outside your comfort zone is essential. Read on to find out how to create goals that you feel good about and actually seem achievable.

Neutralize negativity

Before sitting down to write any goals, the first thing to do is to check in with yourself. Notice how you feel and what your business planning mindset is for the new year. If it feels uncomfortable—which can be the case if you have unmet goals from the current year—then the first thing you want to do is neutralize that negativity.

You don’t have to be jumping for joy to do goal setting but coming to a neutral place is crucial. One way of doing this is by examining any limiting beliefs. This might be towards any beliefs about setting certain goals, assessing if they’re actually true, and reframing them.

For example, let’s say one of your goals is to grow your community, so you want to reach a certain follower count on social media. If that doesn’t happen, the limiting belief might be that it’s a waste of time or people don’t have interest in what you’re selling.

Now ask yourself, “Is this an actual true fact?” (Spoiler alert: The answer is pretty much always going to be “no.”)

It’s time to reframe. Instead of creating meaning around people not being interested, you could see this as an opportunity to amp up your copywriting skills. This way you can resonate with your desired audience. You could also use this as a chance to step outside your comfort zone and try creating more video content, for example.

Redefine “realistic”

When setting goals that are “realistic,” there’s a fine line between setting ones that are practical and selling yourself short. The goal needs to feel doable, but it should also scare you a little bit. This can prove challenging mindset-wise, because it’s likely your brain wants to avoid putting you in situations where there’s a possibility of failure. The more you push yourself, the more risk (and resistance) your brain is going to feel.

To avoid this feeling, it’s common to lean towards the “safer” option—instead of a goal of welcoming 25 new students into your course monthly, you might settle for 15. Take note if you notice fear or self doubt kicking in. If you find yourself over-rationalizing a lesser number, then take a closer look and see if there’s some self doubt at play. It’s also helpful to pay attention to how your physical body reacts. For example, if thinking about this goal brings a shortening of breath, tightness, or any other uncomfortable feeling in the body, it’s likely there’s some anxiety happening.

If that is the case, try to breathe into it. Ask yourself what the absolute worst-case scenario is if that goal isn’t met. “Would I actually be in danger or harm’s way if the goal wasn’t met?”

This can feel uncomfortable, but the idea is to let that part of your brain (which is hard-wired to protect you) know that you’re safe. Reaffirm that it’s okay to make mistakes and that you are not in actual danger if the goal doesn’t materialize. Slow, measured breathing will help to calm your nervous system as you do this. It might sound simple, but remember that the lizard brain doesn’t know logic or rationale.


Opening to possibility

After clearing out resistance to creating expansive goals, it’s time to dive in with details. Ideally, set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely.

Choose three to five goals that you will focus on. If you set more than that, it can be easy to lose track of them or become overwhelmed. If you’re having trouble narrowing them down, ask yourself “What is going to make the biggest impact?” This is in terms of both money and services provided. Find the intersection of what is the most lucrative and transformational for your students. This is usually something that feels “big.” Meanwhile, let the smaller goals fall aside for now. Your energy and attention is going to be more powerful if you narrow your focus.

When setting profit goals, it’s common to get caught up in trying to figure out how you would make that amount of money in a year. If the thinking mind can’t figure it out clearly, then it’s easy to settle and lower the bar for yourself.

Notice if your brain is trying to figure out the logistics of how a money goal would come to fruition. While it’s healthy to have some level of analysis based on profits from year’s past, make sure that you’re also leaving space for possibility. You truly never know when a good idea will strike or an opportunity will arise for you to make more money than you ever thought achievable.

Stay open to possibility and remember that you don’t have to have the “how” figured out.

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