I begin each year with a big list of goals and anticipated challenges. About halfway through the year I find my January expectations don’t always match up with the way things are shaping up in June. Since we’re almost halfway through 2014, I’m taking the time to revisit the goals I set in January so I can finish 2014 like a rockstar. I’ve gone through a pretty rigorous assessment and picked up a few tips worth sharing.
1. Do a self-assessment.
I started with a self-assessment. I looked at what I’ve accomplished thus far and made notes. I encourage you to do the same. Take 10 minutes to make notes on what you’ve done thus far this year. Making notes now will help you remember all you accomplished at the end of the year. Are you proud of what you’ve accomplished thus far this year?
If you’re not, think about how you can modify your performance to be proud. It might be setting or modifying goals. It might be looking at your audience to see how you can better serve them. Spend 20 minutes brainstorming now. Seriously. Grab a pen and some paper, set the timer on your phone and start writing for the next 20 minutes.
Once you’ve brainstormed, divide your list into three categories:
1. things you know you can accomplish
2. things that will be hard to accomplish, but you might be able to
3. things that are outside of your control
Make an action plan for the things you know you can accomplish. You’re going to focus on these items for the rest of the year. You’ve got a few weeks before June 30 (the end of the current quarter). What can you tackle between now and then? Now that you’ve looked at key pieces of information and put together a plan, put the plan away and don’t look at it again until August 15.
Make notes about things that will be hard to accomplish, but you might be able to. You’re not going to focus on these items, but you want to keep them top of mind in case serendipity helps makes this list more reasonable. I recommend hiding this list until August 15.
Don’t worry about the things that are outside of your control. You’ve acknowledged them and written them down. Now you can forget them. You don’t want this list to make you crazy, so don’t look at it again until December 31.
Once I completed my self-assessment and had a plan of action, I felt pretty good about what I needed to do to finish up the year.
2. Look at your end of year goals.
For me, life goals and work goals are always intermingled. I’m able to accomplish more if my goals are complementary. If I have a personal goal of improving my writing, a complementary work-related goal will be to blog regularly on the Cuberis site.
When you look at your goals, I’ll bet you’re killing it on some goals, but have some work to do on the rest of them. While keeping your current goals in place, what can you do to exceed the ones you are currently meeting? What about the ones that are falling short? Why are they falling short? Can you create a few complementary goals to make your personal and professional work match? It’s possible the market changed? Or you set bad goals? Many times there is something you can do to refine your goal — and then meet it.
If you’re behind on a few of the goals, start by the steps you need to take for you to meet the goal. Write down steps for each goal. Now think about what you are doing to achieve the goal. Do they match up? Read this article about goals and see if there is anything you can do to modify the way you’ve set up your goals; you might find that you need to implement new systems instead of new goals.
Spend 30 minutes thinking about ways you can modify your behavior or your goals. Write everything you think of down. Revisit this list in one week to see if there are any changes you need to make to your behavior. In a week, it’ll be time to put together a new, achievable set of goals (and/or systems).
Coupling goals and creating systems was just what I needed to get my goals back on track.
3. Look at your website analytics.
I was guilty of not looking at analytics for years. Once I started looking at them it took me a while to find anything meaningful. Website analytics are a great indicator of performance and, no matter what your job is, it is great to interpret this data to learn more about how your customers are interacting with your brand. Tying your website content to your business objectives will help you make sure you’re communicating the right things to your audience.
Are you looking at your analytics at all? Is anyone? Do you understand what you are looking at? Are you getting meaningful, actionable information out of your analytics?
If you’re not looking at analytics, and no one on your team is, make a plan to start doing it today. Spend 25 minutes writing down your business goals and finding related content on your website. Is there anything you can modify in your analytics to track user behavior in a more meaningful way? (If you need help, send me a note. I love doing stuff like this.)
If you are currently looking at your website analytics on a regular basis, start looking at how you’re using them. We often find ourselves not doing anything with the data we collect, for instance, who cares about the amount of traffic you’re getting if you’re not paying attention to what they are doing when the come to your website? Grab a partner and start brainstorming for one hour. You are going to look for ways to get more meaning out of the data you are tracking.
Here are a few articles to get you inspired:
Start hacking Google Analytics to see more relevant information.
A few additional tips
Look at social. Archele wrote some inspiration suggestions for this summer. She finds social media a source for inspiration. It’s also a great place to see what your customers are talking about.
Look at your logo. Your brand, and your logo, may need a refresh. Lydia discusses 10 indicators a logo refresh should be in your near future.
You’ve taken some time to reflect on what you’ve done and made a plan for the future. Although you probably have a pretty big list of things you want to accomplish, you now have an action plan!
Let’s get to work.