I Changed How I Set Goals For My Businesses And Here's How

It’s early February. How are you doing on your year-long goals? Every year I set myself year-long goals in my personal life and for my businesses. I did it again this year. Then in January I read the book The 12 Week Year, and I’ve completely converted to a new kind of goal setting.


The book points out that when you set 12 months goals, you tend to procrastinate. 12 months is pretty far away.


Let’s say you want to have a full practice by the end of 2016. You may not feel the need to take any major steps in January. Even if you haven’t made a lot of progress by May, you still might feel like there’s plenty of time to turn things around.


Perhaps there are actions you dread that you know you SHOULD to build your practice. You might put those off until closer to the end of the year.


In the 12 Week Year method, you choose a small number of goals that you’ll accomplish by the end of 12 weeks. Then you map out what steps you’ll take to accomplish each goal, and give yourself a due date for each and every step.


The key to this is that you choose goals that will move your business forward.


After your first 12-week “year,” you assess what your next most important goals are.


Does this mean you’ll lose track of your long-term vision? Nope. Before you choose those 12 week goals you spend time thinking and writing about your LONG TERM vision, the one you’d like to get to within several years. You choose the goals that are most likely to move you towards that vision.


Let’s say your long-term vision includes having a practice full of cash paying clients. First you’ll create your vision, considering what you’d like to earn, what kinds of clients you’d like to work with, what your hours will be, and even what your office will look like. You’ll spend some time thinking and writing about that vision until it feels clear and you can easily tap into your desire for it.


Then you’ll choose one or two measurable goals that you can accomplish within 12 weeks to bring you closer to making your vision into your reality. You won’t pick more than one or two goals because you also have to do all of the regular stuff that takes up time in your life. Choose goals that will stretch you AND that you can accomplish in a few hours a week.


If you think you don’t have a few hours a week to carve out, question that. (link)


I’ll repeat: The key to this is that you choose goals that will move your business forward.


Maybe you’ll choose a goal of rewriting all of the copy on your website or of reaching out to 50 colleagues. Then you’ll break down the tasks that it will take to get you there, and spread those tasks out with due dates spanning the 12 weeks.


Why not just map out your goals for the whole year all at once?


Once you’ve accomplished your first 12-week goals, you’ll be in a better position to decide what your next goals should be. Opportunities and challenges come up several times throughout the year, and 12 weeks is a short enough time to stay flexible.


Will you find out how much you can change your business in the next 12 weeks?


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