When you're planning for your own year ahead, you need to be on the lookout. There are 6 fatal mistakes you want to avoid making. The goal is to have a successful, winning year, and not the other way around!
- Not having a plan
Defining your goals does not mean you have a plan. Having a clear and specific goal is essential but it’s not enough. Without a well-thought-out plan of how you're going to reach your goal, you're probably doomed to failure.
Let's say your goal is to start a successful online business. Making the intention to work hard at it is good but where are you going to start? You might plan to take the following steps:
- Defining what problem your online product or service will solve.
- Planning your research carefully. Looking at other similar offerings and how well those businesses are doing.
- Deciding to offer a product or service with a new twist and deciding how you will go about it, for example, by hiring a designer or developer.
- Developing a marketing strategy that builds interest and excitement and includes special offers at the launch of your product.
- Planning a loyalty program, online customer service and other services that will make your business stand out.
This example should help you see how much easier it is with a step by step plan.
In this example, the biggest mistake is to just throw a product or service out there with some random copy and expect it to succeed. The same principle applies to any goal.
- Going into denial
Sometimes, we just need to face the fact that it's time to quit because our goal is just not realistic for us.
This is not to say that you shouldn't try to pursue your goals and passions. However, it may not make sense to pursue them indefinitely if you're not making progress.
Let's say your goal is to become an actor. You believe you have the talent and skills to start an acting career. You understand that it’s a tough business but you are determined to succeed.
However, if after two or three years, you have not landed a single part, how realistic is it to continue pursuing this goal? A better option would be to find another more achievable goal.
Again, this does not mean that you should shy away from pursuing a goal. Keep in mind how realistic your goal is and give yourself a deadline.
More importantly, never tell yourself that you've failed. Every milestone in our lives is a valuable learning experience. Pat yourself on the back for having the determination to try – and the courage to be realistic.
- Not using available resources
When planning for the year ahead, you should always assess the available resources you can use to propel yourself towards your goal.
This could be anything from a mentor, self-development courses to build specific skills, interacting with people who have similar goals or various online resources.
Whatever your goals may be, there are always helpful resources available that are often overlooked. It's worth taking the time to identify these resources as they can save you a lot of time and setbacks in the long run.
- Not analyzing your current environment
How realistic is your goal in the current environment? Sometimes, it just might not be the right time to pursue a certain goal. For example, investing in property when the market is unstable or during times of political upheaval. Likewise, starting your own business or buying a house when you're deep in debt can be a disastrous move. A more feasible goal would be to work towards repaying your debts consistently.
Always assess your environment and personal circumstances when planning your years to avoid these toes of pitfalls.
- Making it too complicated
Planning your year doesn’t need to be a complicated process. In fact, the simpler it is, the easier it will be for you to achieve your planned outcomes.
Long, detailed to-do lists, complicated schedules and beating yourself up when you fall behind will accomplish only one thing – it will seriously derail you.
The answer is to simplify and to give yourself room for flexibility. Find what works best for you.
Some people prefer to get one or two high priority tasks done each day that help them work toward their goal. Other people like to get mundane tasks out of the way first before working on priorities. You may find that giving certain tasks a shorter deadline will motivate you to work more efficiently.
You'll need to experiment a bit until you find your ideal mode of flexibility and simplicity.
- Not rewarding yourself
Yes, you should stay committed to achieving your goals and taking responsibility for staying on track. But often, we tend to feel that we're not doing our best or that we could be doing more.
As long as you're making progress, continue doing so at your own pace and congratulate yourself for moving slowly but surely towards your goal.
Always celebrate every little milestone you reach successfully and reward yourself. Always be proud of your accomplishments no matter how small they are. Be strict with yourself but never seek perfection.
Planning your year can help you keep the bigger picture in mind and make it easier to reach your long-term goals.
But more importantly, you need to be mindful of the six mistakes discussed here if you truly want a successful year. Stay alert, assess and evaluate your progress regularly and take proactive measures to remedy any of these mistakes. It's never too late.
By planning and staying alert, you are on your way to your best year ever!