New Year, New Approach to Goal Setting

By Jen Heil | January 20, 2021

Happy New Year, friends! 2021 is already flying by but it also feels like we’ve not quite left the spectre of 2020 completely behind. Both businesses and individuals continue to face challenges and uncertainty and, whilst the future is looking more hopeful now the vaccine rollout has started, we’ve still got a way to go. Ordinarily, that start of a new year would have us focusing on setting business goals but we feel like our new normal needs something a bit different. 

Last year, we produced our #SurviveAndThrive blog series and social campaign to support our community through these challenging times, sharing useful links and resources and tips for taking care of yourselves. We want to continue that spirit of care as we head into 2021 so we’ve got a few top tips to help your January goal setting go further – benefitting yourself and your business! 

Keep moving 

Just as it’s easy to get stiff and feel stagnant if you’re sat unmoving in your improvised home office, your business will suffer if you stay stuck in the same goal setting routine. 

To keep yourself moving and avoid those uncomfortable aches, try working a simple stretch break into your daily routine. This quick and easy standing yoga routine doesn’t require a mat or any fancy workout gear, is suitable for people with no yoga experience and fits nicely into your work day – perfect for after a long zoom meeting or to do in between tasks to keep you energised. 

For your business, when you’re looking at your goals for 2021 don’t just stick to the usual revenue-based aims. We know those are important and will be a priority, especially for companies that are struggling, but in this strange new world we have to think outside the box. Work with your team(s) to set at least one goal that is focused on your company culture and community. We’ve all experienced a big shift in how we work and there have doubtlessly been some issues thrown up in the process. Take some time to engage with your employees and think about: 

  1. What’s been working well with the changes we’ve had to make? 
  2. What’s been missing or caused problems? 
  3. How would we define our company culture right now? 
  4. How do we want to improve and move forward with our company culture? What’s our cultural roadmap? 

This kind of goal setting can help increase the sense of community within your organisation and should feed into your wider business goals. In this way, your team are likely to feel more invested in your company’s wider mission, helping them feel they are engaged in meaningful work. It’s a good chance to connect and make sure you’re providing the support and direction your team need. Furthermore, it could provide the opportunity for some future planning – for example, when this is all over, will your flexible working policy look the same as it did pre-pandemic, or has this experience shown you can operate successfully in a different way? 

Keep it simple 

We’re all guilty of trying to do too much – in life and in work – but the world is busy enough without us over-busying ourselves as well! 

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by mounting to-do lists, especially if we’re working from home and are outside our usual work environment. Instead of trying to focus on everything on your list, try this simple exercise: 

  • Grab a pad of post-its and write each task on your list on a separate post-it 
  • Arrange the post-its in order of priority 
  • Now take away all but the top 3 items from your post-it list – these are all you need to focus on (you can even just leave one if your highest priority task is something heavy!) 
  • Move the rest of your post-its to the back of your notebook, your desk drawer or somewhere else out of sight and only return to them once you’ve completed your priority tasks. 
  • Repeat this process! 

Reducing the number of ‘to-dos’ in your direct line of sight can help to reduce stress and makes you feel more productive. (And it’s very satisfying to screw up a post-it each time you finish a task!) 

Likewise, when it comes to your business goals for the year, don’t overwhelm yourself with 101 things you’d like to achieve. Choose 3, achievable goals to start with (make one of them culture focused as above) – you can always introduce additional goals if things are going well as the year progresses. Focus on goals that your team (or your clients/customers) can get behind and feel excited about – and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!  

Keep in touch 

The last 10 months have been a strange time of separation and isolation for many. We’ve been all too forcefully reminded of the importance of connecting with other people – both in our personal and professional lives. 

As we continue to navigate our way through turbulent times, prioritise keeping in touch with the people in your network. Have regular wellbeing check-ins with your team or, if you’re a freelancer, sole-trader or someone who otherwise works alone, arrange a regular check-in with a friend or family member. Use this time to talk honestly about how you’re all doingwhat’s difficult and what’s been good. Allow space for ‘water cooler talk’ and share stories of what your pets or children have been doing, that interesting article or funny story you read, and what you’ve got lined up on Netflix for the evening.  

Creating time and space for this connection and communication is just as important for your business as for individuals. Build regular opportunities for connecting with your clients and customers into your business plan for the year – revive your email newsletter, start conversations on social, host virtual networking or other events. And don’t be afraid to have fun with it! You could even avoid the digital and write a letter or just make a phone call – many people are suffering from screen fatigue and welcome communicating in a different way. Predicted marketing trends for 2021 overwhelmingly point to a desire for connection, an emphasis on humanity, flexibility and enjoyable experiences. Put people first both within your business and its target audiences and you won’t go far wrong. 

Keep on keeping on 

Maintaining a care-based focus when you’re working out your aims is a sure way to survive and thrive. We hope you’ll find these tips useful in taking a different approach to your goal setting this year – whether for yourself, your business or both!  

If you’re wanting to dive a little deeper into how to set effective business goals, check out our posts on setting marketing goals and tracking progress, and don’t forget to catch up on the Marketing for Manufacturers Masterclass where our MD, Cathy, shared her wisdom on a panel of experts looking at planning marketing activity for 2021. 

If you’ve enjoyed reading, why not sign up for our quarterly newsletter to get the best of our blog right in your inbox?