Did you set goals for your business back in January of this year? It’s a fairly common practice among entrepreneurs to set new intentions when the year begins. So, how are you doing on those January goals?

It’s also pretty common for business owners to get to December, and realize:

  1. They’re nowhere near reaching the goals they designed for the year.
  2. They don’t remember what their goals were, or have just now recalled they even had some.
  3. They feel like a failure because they didn’t reach their goals.
  4. 4. All three of the above.

Are you ready to make a commitment for next year to be different? Here’s what you need to do:

  • Know exactly what your goals are. Don’t just state your goals; define them. Goals often fail to be realized because they aren’t specific enough. “Get more clients” isn’t a goal; it’s a wish. “Get 4 new retainer clients paying $500 each per month by March 1st” is a goal.
  • Design a way to track your progress. When you make a goal numerical, it’s easy to track. If you’re shooting for four clients and you have three, you’re 75% of the way there. With a goal that’s more qualitative, you can still track your progress by assigning a starting and ending grade or score. Then instead of the vagueness of “learn to sell better,” you can benefit from the exactness of “raise my sales skills from a C- to a B by June 30th.”
  • Check in with your goals on a regular basis. This reminds you what your goals are, motivates you to work toward them, and helps you plan what to do about them each month, week, or day.
  • Build in an accountability structure. You need something or someone that will remind you of your intentions on a regular basis. Depending on the level of accountability you might need, this can be notes in your calendar, phone calls with a business buddy, meetings with an action group or success team, or sessions with a business coach.
  • Divide your goals into projects and commitments. Goals are often too large to tackle all at once, and that can make them seem overwhelming. For every goal you set, define either a project (something you do once and then it’s complete) or a commitment (something you do repeatedly). “Write the copy for my home page” is a project. “Go to my BNI group once a week” is a commitment.
  • For motivation, use rewards, not punishment. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach a goal; instead design a juicy reward you will earn when your goal is achieved.

If you didn’t do any of these things this year, December isn’t the time for blame and remorse. Instead, use this yearend time to follow these steps so you don’t end up in the same place next year.