Planning for the New Year: How to Set and Hit Your Goals

December 07, 2023

The end of the year is fast approaching, and it’s an excellent time to reflect on how far you’ve come, fine-tune your goals, and start planning for the new year. Take the opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned — from your successes to things that didn’t quite work out as planned — and apply these newfound learnings to your business. Key takeaways from the past year will provide you with direction for new goal setting and implementation.

Planning for the new year will give you a renewed sense of purpose in your business. It will serve as a reminder of why you started your business and give you the motivation to hit the ground running in the new year.

To get started with planning your goals for the upcoming year, it’s important to first reflect on the past 12 months. Start by reviewing your business plan for the year and consider what worked for you and what didn’t. Ask yourself why you were able to reach some of your goals and not others. You can gain clarity by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Where did I see success?
  • What didn’t go to plan?
  • Did I achieve the goals I set for your business last year? Why or why not?

Take note of what information you can gather from different tools that can also assist in your review:

  • Website analytics
  • Social media insights
  • Practice Better Reports & Analytics
  • Client feedback

Determine Your New Goals & Objectives

Once you’ve reviewed the past year, you’ll be ready to determine what you’d like to focus on achieving in the upcoming year.

Take note of both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of your business when considering your goals. Use your dreams as inspiration, but ensure the goals you set for yourself are attainable and actionable.

1. Quantitative Outcomes

Quantitative outcomes are objective, measurable, and numerical in nature. They aren’t influenced by your personal feelings or opinions. Consider reviewing the following quantitative information when planning for the new year:

  • Your income (monthly, quarterly, and annually)
  • Month-over-month growth
  • The number of services, packages, and programs booked and purchased
  • The performance of new services and programs launched
  • The number of cancellations or no-shows
  • Growth on your social media platforms
  • Conversion ratios of prospective clients
  • Repeat business and referrals

2. Qualitative Outcomes

Qualitative outcomes are more subjective and refer to the quality of something. These aspects of your business can typically be observed but not directly measured. As a business owner, these are important considerations when thinking about the culture of your business and the type of work environment you foster when planning for the new year:

  • Did your schedule feel manageable?
  • How were your stress levels throughout the year?
  • Did you feel in flow and aligned?
  • Did your business feel authentic to you?

What a successful business looks like will vary depending on the practitioner, so whether you want to focus your goals on the qualitative aspects of your business, the quantitative, or a combination of both, there is no right or wrong focus when it comes to goal planning.

Map Out Your Goals

Implementing a strategic plan can turn your desires and dreams into real goals that are ready to be put into action. Once you’ve determined what you’d like to achieve, it’s important to further break down your goals into smaller action steps.

A strategic approach to consider is the SMART goals for creating well-defined objectives: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This is a formula for ensuring your goals are actionable and can be followed through on.

  • Specific: Use as much fine detail and precise wording as possible when crafting your goals. Vague goals do not set the stage for easy strategizing and implementation. Specificity will help your goal be more effective.
  • Measurable: Adding a quantifying aspect to your goal makes it much easier to track progress and success. To make a goal as impactful as possible, incorporate numbers that can help act as progress benchmarks.
  • Attainable: Goals should inspire you and push you out of your comfort zone. While they should challenge you, they should also be realistic and within reach.
  • Relevant: This is your opportunity to evaluate whether or not your goal is truly important to you and your business. Ask yourself, if you follow through with your goal, what impact will this have on your business? Is the goal aligned with your overall vision?
  • Time-Bound: Objectives tied to a deadline will reduce the opportunity to procrastinate and keep you moving forward in a timely fashion. Time-bound goals should include a plan of when you’d like to have the entire goal accomplished and deadlines for your broken down, smaller tasks. You can consider what can be accomplished weekly, monthly, or quarterly to contribute to your annual goals.

Breaking down your broader goals into smaller actionable tasks will ensure efficiency and accountability and can help you turn your dreams into reality as you start planning for the new year. Consistent small steps add up to big wins! Smaller tasks will also make it easier to roadmap and create a timeline.

Starting with small, easier-to-implement tasks will also provide quick wins that can boost your sense of progress and help build momentum. This momentum will build so you have the confidence and motivation to take on bigger tasks along the way.

Work backward to break down your goals. Start at the end and think of all the steps it will take along the way to get you to your end goal. When working backward to map out your tasks, identify roadblocks you’ve experienced in the past or are anticipating encountering. This will allow you to be proactive in your approach rather than reactive as hurdles and other challenges present themselves along the way.

Create a Follow-Through Plan

Now that you’ve mapped out your goals for the year ahead, it’s important to implement a clear follow-through plan so you can stay on track when planning for the new year. There are many accountability exercises and strategies to consider:

  1. Understand your why: Why does it matter for you to achieve this particular goal? What will it mean to your business and you personally? Getting clear on the “why” will reinforce your goals and remind you why you started in the first place as the new year’s motivation and buzz wears off.
  2. Use the task feature: Take it further by creating Tasks within Practice Better for the action steps you’ve broken down your bigger goals into. Tasks can be set for yourself as a practitioner, with a due date, and will be on the first page you see when you log into your Practitioner Portal. This will provide a visual reminder to keep your goals top of mind.
  3. Write down your goals: Find a place to track or write down your goals so you can easily remind yourself of what you are working towards. Keeping them somewhere you will see every day will allow your goals to stay top of mind and keep you apprised of what you need to focus on at all times.
  4. Schedule your goals: Input target deadlines for your goals into your calendar. These scheduled reminders will keep you on the path you’ve mapped out for yourself and keep you accountable to your deadlines. Consider adding monthly and quarterly reminders in your calendar to regularly review your progress.
  5. Have an accountability partner: An accountability partner is someone you can check in with and who provides you with support and motivation. Consider asking a colleague or friend and sharing your goals with them, and plan to check in with one another regularly.
  6. Celebrate along the way: Plan to celebrate small wins along the way to maintain momentum and motivation.

The end of the year is a great opportunity for reflection and strategizing on how to reach new heights in your business. Reviewing your business to date, determining your goals, and mapping out an accountability plan will ensure you are planning for the new year with your best foot forward!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on November 10, 2020, and has been revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.

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