How to set goals you can actually achieve in the New Year!
It’s that time of year when we start to reflect on what went right in the preceding 12 months (challenging task for 2021) and what we can do better next year (no nasty surprises please 2022) and we start resolving what we’re going to do differently come January 1st.
I’ll start off here by stating that there’s a very clear difference between New Year’s resolutions and goals. Goals are what I’m focusing on in this article because if set and planned for properly, they can actually materialise. Resolutions tend to be more difficult to stick to because we don’t take the time to plan their execution out.
Goals are our means of navigating where we want our lives and creative businesses to go. Achieving them requires an action plan, perseverance and persistence. I’m going to talk you through how to set goals and plan for their success.
At the risk of sounding like a management consultant, goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.
Specific – ‘Making more money’ is not a specific goal so it’s difficult to work towards, ‘making an additional £3,000 a month (£36,000 for the year)’ is. You know exactly how much more money you’’re aiming for.
Measurable & Motivating – £3000 a month is an amount you can check off, count up and see coming in. It’s also important to have an idea of what the extra money is for. If you’re saving to buy a new camera for example, you’ll know you’ve hit the goal when you’ve got your new kit in hand. Knowing what you’re working towards is also a great motivator. Who doesn’t love unboxing a new camera???
Attainable – Goals should stretch you out of your comfort zone, but they shouldn’t be so big they’re impossible to reach. If you’re currently generating £100 a month from your business and you’re aiming to hit £3000 off the bat it might not be doable, aiming for £500 might be better. But if you’re already generating £2750 a month from your creative work, £3000 isn’t going to be very hard and I’d suggest aiming higher.
Relevant – Does working towards this goal fit in with your lifestyle. Do you have time to take on additional clients in order to bring in extra income? Do your business goals fit with your other life goals? If you’ve just got married and have two young children, setting a goal to become a war correspondent (unless you particularly dislike your new spouse) isn’t going to work well. You’ll have different goals for different areas of your life, so it’s important to consider if they gel together or if your goals are in conflict with one another. Conflicting goals will be impossible to make happen.
Time based – In order to achieve a goal, you need a clearly defined deadline. Time constraints are motivating, allow you to measure your progress and a timeline also helps with planning the action steps you’ll need to take to hit your goals.
Let’s take the example of earning an additional £36,000 in the next 12 months:
You know the exact amount of money you’re aiming to bring in which breaks down to £3000 a month, an amount that’s already far more manageable and easier to deal with than the big chunk.
If you charge £500 per project or photoshoot for example, you need to book 6 projects or shoots a month. If you charge £1000 per project/shoot, you only need 3 bookings. If you’re working with high end clients you might only need one booking to reach your goal.
Taking the 6 /projects/shoots example into account, you’ll need to decide on the following:
- Who you’d like to be working with AKA your ideal client
- Which online & offline platforms you’ll use to get your work in front of them
- Your marketing strategy to attract client enquiries
- The action steps you need to take to implement your marketing strategy
Once you have a plan, you need to get to work.
Consistent and persistent action is what has to happen to bring your goals to life. It will be hard, you’ll want to give up, but if the goal is meaningful enough for you, you’ll push on.
I find it easiest to break my goal getting task list down into 5 action steps I can take each day which bring me closer to my goal. I make sure I do them first thing in the morning before I get busy with shoots and coaching sessions.
Action steps you could take each day might include:
- Emailing 5 prospective clients
- Writing a blog post that would help a prospective client
- Reaching out to other businesses you could collaborate with on a styled shoot for example
- Scheduling social media posts
- Making new work
- Taking the time to learn a new technique
- Implementing strategies you’ve learnt from a coach or mentor
Most people don’t achieve their goals because they give up when the going gets tough, so having some means of being held accountable is very useful.
I ran a crowdfunding campaign in 2016 to raise £6200 to self publish a book. I had 45 days to generate the money and it was literally all or nothing. If I didn’t hit the goal, any money donated (even if it was just £50 short of the end goal) would go back to the donors. I didn’t waste a moment promoting the campaign and in the end I brought in over £8000. If there had been no timeline or accountability, I’d still be working on raising the money for my book.
One of my most important roles as a coach, once we’ve got a step by step action plan in place, is to hold my clients accountable to doing the work required to hit their goals. A goal will take as long as you let it and I’m pretty sure you’d like to reach your goals sooner rather than later.
So, if you’ve got some big goals and you’d like some help with putting a strategic plan in place as well as being held accountable to doing the work, I’m here to help.
When you’re ready for a business uplevel, please book a FREE strategy call in with me here and we can chat through where you’d like to take your business and how I can support you on your journey.