5 steps to setting real 2017 goals that will actually grow your business
Growth & Marketing

5 steps to setting real 2017 goals that will actually grow your business

by Mary Marnell

Published on January 2, 2017

2017 just hit. You’re excited. You’re ready. You’ve got your resolutions printed and taped to every surface of your home.

If you’re anything like me, every year brings with it a shiny new list of goals you’re going to accomplish. But as the months pass, life gets in the way. As a business owner, and a human being, there are many hats to wear and endless lists of things to do, and they all make your goals harder to reach.

By the end of the year, maybe you’ve accomplished some of them. Maybe none at all. Through the many years of repeating this cycle myself, and with lots of trial and error, I’ve devised a plan that helps me set real goals I can reach and accomplish, and can help you do the same.


1. Don’t aim for the stars (wait, it’s not what you think!)

For a long time I had a grand ol’ goal of posting to social media once or twice per day. The problem is, with running two businesses, posting to social media consistently is something that’s extremely difficult for me.

When I’d miss a post for a day or two, I’d just feel bad about it. The pressure and guilt would paralyze me from posting for even longer, which would lead to more pressure and guilt, more not posting…you catch my drift.

After months of trying and failing, then giving up altogether, I decided to change my posting schedule from daily to every few days. This changed everything! Suddenly, I could post when I was inspired, and ideas came to me more easily. I’ve been posting way more frequently than before. All because I made my goal more realistic, and worked it into my existing habits.

When you’re setting goals for a specific time period, make them realistic. Think about yourself. What are some of your most dominant habits? How do you actually want to spend your time? Evaluate your goals through that perspective.

2. Trees and goals that don’t bend, break.

Any goal you set is based on information you have at the moment you set the goal. This information comes from and is based on various factors: the events of your life, the events of your business, your thoughts, feelings, opinions, desires, and more.

One of the most counter-intuitive things you can do in business or life is stick to the same goal when the information you’re getting has changed.

Change can be scary. Whether we like it or not, it happens all the time. Things happen in your life. Your priorities become different. The longer you live the more experiences you have, and sometimes you reach a point where your goals simply don’t resonate with you anymore.

Rediscovering your goals can be confusing and scary: “What does it mean? I’ve wanted this for so long, and now I don’t? What do I want?”

But it’s also a good thing. It means you’re growing, learning, and coming closer to what is most important to you in your life.

Which leads me to #3:

3. My “internal / external” test that saves me a ton of time.

This may seem obvious, but in today’s world I see one of the biggest challenges people face is knowing what it is they really want in life.

We’re bombarded with information constantly. It takes conscious effort to get away from it. We get messages from our parents, society, social media, regular media, advertisements…all about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable for us to want and to be.

Whether we want it to or not, this influences our thoughts, feelings, and desires, and sometimes we need to spend some time digging through all that to get to the core of who we are and what we want.

Have you ever asked yourself if you really want the things you want? 

Years ago my partner David and I used to want things like a fancy new BMW, or to hit a certain income goal, but as the years passed, and we honed in on what we really wanted out of life, our goals changed.

We found that our goals were more internal and life style related. For example, some of our current goals are:

  • Freedom with time and space in our lives
  • Inner peace
  • An environment where our team members feel happy and cared for
  • An environment where our clients feel happy and cared for
  • Etc.

So when you set your goals, dig a little deeper, and make sure you really want them.

4. Delegate (here’s how).

Another part of setting goals successfully is figuring out what you do and don’t want to spend your time on.

In this life, this time right now, this moment…this is what we have. No matter how far you travel through time, you always find yourself in the present. This moment is how we spend our lives.

Think about what you want to do with this moment that you have. How do you want to spend your time?

Now apply this same logic to your goals.

Let’s say your goal is to double your client base this year. Maybe your passion and strength is to come up with the plan and steps to do so, but not to actually go out there and implement every single step of said plan.

Sure, you could do everything yourself. But as you begrudgingly pull teeth to get through the part you hate, imagine how much work you can be getting done towards your other goals! Work you love and enjoy!

This is where delegating comes in. Letting go of control is hard, especially when you’re a control freak like me :-), but I promise, as soon as you do it once you’ll never look back. This is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself in both business and life.

Find people who are passionate about the things you’re not and let them do their thing. They’re out there, they really are. And not only will they do a better job than you, they’ll also thank you for giving them the opportunity to shine and express their passion.

Bonus tip: if you’re new to delegating and outsourcing, make a list of all the things you’d like to delegate.

At the top of the list put the thing you never want to do again, and work your way down to things maybe you don’t like as much, but wouldn’t mind doing every once in a while.

Make #1 on your list the first thing you delegate.

5. There is no new year.

At the end of the day, the new year is a man-made concept. You’re still you and you never run out of opportunities to “start over” or “turn a new leaf”.

In fact, every moment, every day, is such an opportunity.

I wouldn’t even call it starting over. Even what you’d consider a “failure” led you to this moment now, helped you grow and learn, and made you the person that you are today.

The real power you have in your life is this moment right now, and what you do with it. And the beauty of it, is that in this life, you always have this moment.

The 5 crucial questions for successful goals.

To summarize, when you set your new year’s resolutions, or any other goals, put them through this test to increase your chances of success:

  1. Is the goal realistic for the time frame I’m setting it for? Does it fit within my current habits and lifestyle?
  2. Am I open to my goal changing as time passes and I change, and modifying or leaving it behind if it no longer suits me? Is my goal flexible?
  3. Do I really, truly want my goals? Have I dug deep beyond what others expect of me and connected to my true needs and desires in life?
  4. Are there parts of my goal that I’m not passionate about that I can delegate to someone else who is passionate about those parts?
  5. Do I remember that every day, and every moment, is a new opportunity to grow and change and that I never run out of opportunities to move towards my goals?

Your Turn:

How do you feel about the new year and setting goals for yourself and your business? Have your plans changed after reading this post? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback.

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This post was last updated on December 17, 2021


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