I’ve talked elsewhere about new year business planning and how overcomplicated it can get. If you read that post you’ll know that I’m not into complex, overly-involved business plans. For me, they act as a distraction from getting on with the day job. That’s not to say that I don’t value the process of a bit of reflection and planning – I just don’t want to spend too long on it.

I’d rather spend a couple of hours scribbling and then move on.

And then do the same again a few weeks down the line. It’s more organic that way (how pretentious does that sound?), it’s more manageable, and I think it’s better practice because it becomes part of your routine rather than something you do once a year. Anyway, I’m babbling now.

I’ve never really been one for goals and targets.

True, they can keep you on track and give you something measurable, but personally, I know that I often use them as an opportunity to beat myself up. If I don’t meet a goal I’ll focus on that (even if I reached the other 632). And if I only just met the goal but didn’t ace it I’ll feel like a cheat for ticking it off.

On top of that, I know that achieving things that weren’t down on paper makes me feel much more proud of myself. There’s some kind of psychology there about not liking to do what I’ve been told (even if it was me doing the telling in the first place). Please don’t analyse me too hard.

With all that in mind, I’m my own boss and I’ll work my own way, thank you very much.

I’m taking a fresh approach to goal setting for the new year.

In fact, I’m not setting myself goals (queue dramatic music).

Instead, I’m setting myself ‘directions of travel’ (I need to come up with a better term) for the business. That way I’ll have a direction to move the business in but I’ll let myself travel down those routes and see where they take me and how fast. It’s a bit more fluid. It’s a bit more ‘me’. And I suspect I’ll achieve more that way than with rigid goals.

I’m going to plot in some milestones along the way, but I’m not giving myself deadlines to get there. The milestones aren’t fixed goals, just bonus items or landmarks I can tick off on the way if I happen to pass by that way. I might not do them all, I might do something else, but as long as it’s in the general theme of things that’s OK.

I know they’re hardly SMART goals but this approach works for me. Last year I wondered if, by February, I’d have caved in and set myself SMART goals and targets, but I hadn’t. And it turned out to be a great year.

We’re all so very different and I love hearing how you’re setting yourself up for the 365 days ahead!

Find out more about me and my business here.

And check out the rest of the How To series here.

6 thoughts on “How to set business goals (spoiler: it’s an alternative approach)

  1. I like the idea of directions without being tied down. Being so early in my business (ugh) “journey” I think it’s crucial to be flexible and responsive, with an overall, nebulous, idea of what I want to achieve hanging in the air. There are so many opportunities to explore! All very exciting. I’m trialling a “bullet journal” this year as a tool to keep track of my immediate, and longer term tasks – pulling all aspects of my life into one planner. I’m hopeful it will be a useful exercise if nothing else! Very fun to look at my life holistically rather than boxed into “work”, “play”, “bulldog” etc.

    Best of luck with your 2018, sounds like a healthy and exciting way to approach things 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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