New year, new goals. But how do you know if you have the right aspirations and that you’ll be able to achieve your objectives? Whether you’re just starting your planning for the year or want to know if the goals you’ve already set will lead you on the right path, here are some things to consider.
Plus, we’ve included a free worksheet to help you plot out your goals.
Scroll to the bottom to download our free goal-setting worksheet
1. What happened last year?
Before looking forward, review your past.
What were your wins last year? Your successes, big and small? Those times when you did a little happy dance? Likewise, where did you fall short? What made you unhappy and what would you like to avoid as you move forward?
Also review any goals that you set for yourself last year. Did you achieve them and how did you make them happen? What got in the way of success?
After some retrospection, what would you like to replicate in or remove from your life?
Knowing where we’re coming from can help us figure out where we want to go and how to get there.
2. Do you even need to set goals right now?
We know it seems counterintuitive to start out an article about setting goals by questioning whether one should even do it, but hear us out. Maybe you’re coming off of a hard year or are in the midst of a personal crisis. Maybe you’re just not feeling the whole goal-setting vibe or are looking at some uncertainty in your future. Maybe you’re brand-new to business and have no idea what your goals should be. Whatever the reason, if you’re feeling reluctant to plan for the future and your only “goal” is to just get through the year, we’re 100 percent behind you.
Or, another way to look at it could be to set goals that protect your physical and mental well-being over the next 12 months. For example: “Experiment with new crafting techniques.” “Maintain the same revenue as last year.” “Cut down to a four-day workweek.” Or simply, “Go for a walk every day.”
There’s no rule that says you have to make Big Hairy Audacious Goals every year.
3. What existing obligations do you already have?
Are you already committed to sending out a newsletter twice a month or adding new products to your site every quarter? It’s easy to forget about the things we do on a regular basis when we’re planning for the upcoming year, but it’s important to account for how much of your schedule is already spoken for.
New goals and projects typically require new tasks that you’re not already doing, and it’s imperative to be realistic about what you can accomplish with the time you have.
And don’t forget your personal life. Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You are a whole being, with obligations outside of your business that take up your time. Work a full-time day job? Parent a young child under five? Volunteer with a local charity? Have health issues that require intensive self-care? All these things affect whether you have 10 hours or 40 a week to spend on your craft. Set your goals accordingly.
4. What’s your vision?
We bet you have a dream, a picture in your mind of your future business. Do you imagine the studio space you’ll have? The team working under you? The product lines you’ll create?
When visualizing your future, there’s the near future (a year from now) and the distant future (five, 10, 15 years from now). Both are helpful for figuring out your current goals, as you’ll have to think about what needs to happen to get you from where you are now to the future you imagine.
For example, that studio space: you can’t will it out of thin air. You’ll need your finances in place, with enough consistent revenue to cover rent and the additional operating costs. Your pre-goal, before “Get a studio space,” may need to be something like “Increase revenue to X amount per month.” Then you’ll need to plan out your strategies and tactics to accomplish that pre-goal before moving on to your ultimate goal.
We also encourage you to keep in mind your vision for how you want to live your daily life. Do you want lots of free time to spend travelling or with your family? How will you need to structure and grow your business to allow for this, and do your goals align with the lifestyle you dream of?
5. Are your goals your goals, or just things you think you should be doing?
Reach 100K Instagram followers. Make seven figures. Get your product line onto the shelves of a major retailer. On the face of it, these sound like incredible goals, but are they truly what you want or just what everyone else is doing?
Why do you want 100,000 followers? What will it help you accomplish? Are you prepared to put in the work to get you there, or is it time better spent on other things?
Do you need seven figures to support your current or desired lifestyle? How will your business model and operations need to change to become a million-dollar company? Are those changes you want to make? Is that the kind of business you want to run?
Is a major mainstream retailer the best place for your goods? Do you have the capacity to produce that much product? Are you okay relinquishing some control over your design or production schedule if that’s what’s required to make the partnership work?
When setting your goals, think about what needs to happen to get you there in very real terms. Also picture how your company might change once you accomplish your goals and consider who you need to be to make it happen. Are those things that you want? Or is the goal just what you think everyone expects a maker business to do?
Free Goal-Setting Worksheet Download
To help you plot out and assess your goals, Workshop has put together a one-page worksheet, free for members. (Sign up to become a member here.) We designed the worksheet to hold one goal per sheet to keep you focused and prevent planning from getting too complicated — because we know overplanning can be a major pitfall, hindering us from taking action.
Print out or create a digital copy of the worksheet for each goal you have: one goal, one page. We encourage you to limit yourself to no more than three major goals a year, since any more than that and you may find yourself pulled in too many directions, unable to make headway on anything.
Here are some helpful tips as you fill out each section: