setting goalsWith all the fan fare of New Year resolutions and everyone talking about setting goals, do you ever wonder if it’s an exercise in futility? After all, why keep setting lofty goals you don’t hit in your business?

I find if you just set goals from a place of wishful thinking it can easily set you up for failure in your business. However, understanding your past can help you discover the right goals for your future and set you up for success.

Here are 9 key questions that will help reveal a better approach to goal setting for your business this year:

1. What were the key goals in your business and life you set out to achieve this past year?

It’s important to have these answers right in front of you here to help you better answer the rest of the questions below. If you can’t rattle off this list quickly, it’s because you probably never wrote it down in the first place. If that’s you … reminder #1 — write down your goals this year 🙂

2. Looking back were these the right achievable stretch goals for you at this season in your life and business?

Donald, a new client I started coaching recently, shared a key outcome goal he wanted me to help him with. His stretch goal this year was to grow his 6 Million Dollar business to a 9 Million Dollar business. Donald shared he struggled to stay focused on his daily to-do list. He thought if he got better at focusing on finishing his projects that alone could add the additional 3 Million in growth.

I disagreed.

In my feedback I shared with Donald that it did not seem like the right goal to pursue for the season of life he was in. He already told me his wife wanted him to be home more for her and their three young daughters. Pursuing the goal of getting more tasks done was directly opposite to his family goal of being home with them more.

It was also not the right goal for the season he was in his business. Donald already had 10 employees. He had resources available to him that he was not fully leveraging. After some discussion Donald realized “getting more things done” was an unwise goal for him to pursue. The better stretch goal for Donald was to focus on teaching his 10 employees how to get Donald’s to do list done.

3. Which goals did you achieve this past year?

What were your wins this year? Celebrate those achievements no matter how small.
Think about even those seemingly “small” problems you succeeded in solving. One problem I had a few years ago was that I get way too achy sitting at my desk all day. I asked my husband Tom to rig up my treadmill, so I could ergonomically work on my laptop while I walk. Just celebrating a small win like getting on the treadmill 5 days a week has helped me start each day in a positive direction.

4. What is the biggest factor you would attribute to achieving your goals this year?

Give yourself credit for what you did right. I’m sure you know the wisdom in leveraging your strengths. So, it’s important to take the time to review the strengths you have demonstrated this year. You may even be surprised to discover new strengths that emerged in recent months.

If you can’t come up with at least five strengths ask other people to tell you what they think are your strengths. You can also take a fun strength-finder assessment.

5. What goals did you NOT achieve this year?

If you did not achieve every goal this year — welcome to the club. Make peace with the fact that almost 100% of high achieving entrepreneurs do not accomplish every goal they wrote for the year. At the same time, it’s important to note which goals you didn’t yet achieve and prioritize them higher or lower for this upcoming year.

6. Identify what was out of your control that got in the way of unachieved goals.

While you don’t want to let yourself fall into the blame game, you also don’t want to swing too far the other direction and beat yourself up when you had factors that were out of your control.

For example, a year ago I was excited to roll out plans to launch some brand new programs designed especially for my solopreneur audience. But, then I discovered I had a high toxic level of mercury poisoning. It greatly impaired my vision for five months which Ophthalmologists could not correct. As a result I had to move my launch date goals five to six months later than I originally anticipated.

What about you? What obstacles did you have this past year that were out of your control?

7. What would you do differently, knowing what you know now, to help you achieve those same goals this year?

It is easy to want to hit the ground running as fast you as you can, especially in the New Year. But, if you keep on doing what you did, you’ll keep on getting what you got. As entrepreneurs, it’s critically important to take the time to pause, reflect and evaluate the past twelve months in order to discover how you should best move forward the next twelve months.

8. What valuable lessons did you learn this year?

Here is the opportunity for you to put into practice the famous quote:

Failure isn’t failure, if you learn from it. http://paramountbusinesscoach.com/blog/9-questions-every-business-should-ask-when-setting-new-goals/ Click To Tweet

Likewise, we can also learn from our successes. Facebook guru Amy Porterfield shared on her podcast show, that she noticed the year she decided to invest in herself through a high level mastermind group program is the year her business truly took off. She attributes the valuable lessons she learned came from being in a mastermind group.

9. What can you do now in your business that you could not do one year ago?

It’s important to measure and acknowledge the progress you’ve made. Seeing progress feeds further progress.  Employee engagement experts agree that employee productivity is in direct proportion to the level of progress employees felt they were making in their work. As entrepreneurs, we should apply this same productivity principle to our own businesses.

Write down a list of all the areas you have made measurable progress. Maybe a year ago you did not know how to generate leads on LinkedIn, and now you do. Or perhaps a year ago your business did not have the cash flow to hire a marketing assistant, but now you do.

Before you start making new goals for the New Year be sure to assess the old goals you set last year. I invite you to carve out a block of time in your calendar this week or perhaps even right now to take action on answering these 9 questions thoughtfully. Abraham Lincoln once said,

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend four of those hours sharpening my axe. http://paramountbusinesscoach.com/blog/9-questions-every-business-should-ask-when-setting-new-goals/ Click To Tweet

QUESTION: What is one“a-ha” you gleaned from these 9 questions? Please share your comments below.

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