Don’t Roll Your Eyes. I’m Trying to Inspire Here.

Bonus: There’s A Handy Alternative Resource Below.

Ah, January. Fresh start. New beginnings. Anything is possible. Most people, by now, business owners and entrepreneurs alike, have laid down goals for the year. Bravo to all of you you who have set realistic aspirations with ways to measure your progress. You’re the ones that impress me — you’ve got your act together and you’ve got the track record to prove it.

Goals Are For Football.

I’m a different cut of cloth. I don’t get into making resolutions and my goal setting in years’ past were seriously flawed in one way or another. Like not setting any, that, and I actually dislike the word “goal.” Maybe because it feels too “male, sports and beer drinking” or it feels super rigid. GOAL. Even saying it out loud, the word sounds like a conservative 10 ton weight.

We Need Them Anyway.

January lets me make friends with goals and seeing them for what they are and be realistic about them. Goals are the WHAT and action steps are the HOW. Simple as that — but easier on paper than in practice. It’s about how you’re going to ensure that income goal per month, land those new clients or projects per quarter goal, add a new skill to your toolbox goal — skills that you can use to generate more income and land more projects and clients. Love it when things run full circle. See, we really do need goals for a delicious, well-rounded feeling of accomplishment.

First, Incubate.

What’s helped me define realistic goals that I want for me and my business is to use the first part of January to “incubate.” After years in business, I know the pattern. January tends to be a little slow. This could be scary, but the time to incubate, uninterrupted thinking and planning — to formulate those goals that feel right and true — so worth it. January has always been a great time for me to master or learn a new skill — this year it’s WordPress. My new website is Exhibit A of this accomplishment.

Have Goals. Get A Theme. Get A Character.

January means it’s time to Get Out Of My Own Way by choosing a Theme of the Year. OK, you may be thinking this is silly, but it’s really more like mental push-ups. For me, this year’s theme is “Fearless.” I’ve spent way too much time afraid to ask, afraid of making bad impressions at networking events, afraid to make the first move, afraid to take risks. Blending a theme with your goals can reinforce determination, especially if you find yourself slipping off track from reaching your target. But what’s a theme without character? Having a character to emulate works to support your theme and in turn support your goals. So with “Fearless” as my theme, I’m making Lara Croft my fearless persona. No worries. I don’t know Tae Kwon Do…not yet, anyway.

Stories Shape Us.

The idea of setting a theme and character for the year, along with my goals, is it sets up a narrative, a story I can share at the end of year and how theme, character, goals and my own creativity designs the outcomes over the months ahead — the good, the bad, and hopefully enchantment along the way.

Now the Handy Resource Bit.

I just discovered Haiku Deck — a cool alternative to too-painful-to-use-PowerPoint. Yes, you still have to have good content and visuals, (Haiku supplies some, but you can upload your own), and remember the Golden Rule of Presentations: Strong Visuals. Few Words. I did a test drive of Haiku Deck for this post. It’s super easy, intuitive, and actually — fun.

Have a theme for this year? A character to personify (but stay true to yourself)? An awesome BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal) you’re wanting to achieve this year? Tell Us — Inspire Us in the Comments.

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