Goals need to be written down and reviewed regularly, and beginning by reviewing the past year, helps us identify what worked/didn't work so we can learn what to do next time. If your a small business owner then this planning process becomes even more important - how do you measure success if you don't know what your aiming for? We are also notorious for moving on after achieving something without haven't taken the time to review and celebrate what we have accomplished.
A favourite blogger of mine - Chris Guillebeau has a great process he uses to reflect on the past year and then plan for the year ahead , starting with the questions - What went well and What didn't go well?
I attempted to start this at the end of 2011 last year but didn't get very far, so this year I've made a conscious effort to reflect, capture my learnings from 2012 and record my goals for 2013. I really liked Chris's process but when it came to planning my 2013 goals, I got a bit stuck and started doing some research as to what other people do and combined it into something which made it easier for me.
Steps to follow for annual planning:
Take some time out, where you can concentrate to reflect and then plan for this coming year.
- Go through your calender, Facebook and other social network posts from 2012 - remind yourself what happened, what are the key things that stood out, things you did or people you met? (Thanks to Kerrie Phipps for this great suggestion)
- Review your goals from last year - did you achieve them, what did you learn, what worked/didn't work?
- Note down and answer any other questions to help you reflect. I liked Meg Appleby's questions.
- Set new goals - make sure you write them down and have specific measures in place. Still not sure what to do, my previous post on goal setting may help? I also liked this 2 hour plan for helping me with the measures.
- Prioritise your goals and start creating an action list for each one. Its good to have 3 main goals to focus on every quarter.
I would find doing this all in one go a bit overwhelming, so I have done it in stages over the past 10 days or so. Also this requires quite a bit of brain power so if you are feeling stuck, when we walk away or focus on something different our unconscious mind is still busy contemplating your thoughts, so you may come up with more information each time you come back.
Saying that, you don't want to make this a month long process, so you need to identify what complete looks like.
Other things you could do:
- SWOT analysis - take a good look at your business or personal life right now, or get an external perspective and start an action plan to move forward with
- Mark some time out at least quarterly to review your goals
- Share your goals with others
- Create a dream or vision board to help your goals really come to life and stick them somewhere you will see them everyday
- Celebrate your achievements from the past year
So have you done your planning for 2013