Goals for 2012 (and Beyond)
Well, it’s that time of year again. Once more, we’ve reached the point in the calendar where we forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and transgressions of the past 12 months and vow to be better. The reset button has officially been pressed on 2011, and here we stand with a fresh start to accomplish the tasks that were forsaken in the recent past.
It’s easy to look at January 1st and think of it as a new beginning. We make ‘resolutions’. We tell ourselves this year is going to be different. This is going to be our year. We are going to eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, save money, etc. Well, I am no exception – although I don’t buy into the whole ‘resolutions’ point of self-delusion. I think that in order to better ourselves, whether it is personal, financial or professional prosperity we seek, we need to focus on the goals and work backward. Focusing on the tactic without identifying the goal – whether in business or in life – is a surefire path to failure.
While I have financial goals I’d like to meet in terms of revenue and number/type of clients, I am not going to discuss them here. I don’t think it would contribute to the value of this piece and including that information would potentially come off wrong. The purpose of this is to outline a few things I’d like to accomplish in the next 12 months. A year ago, my son was born and while being able to hang out with him all day every day while I worked was a priceless experience, it didn’t make for an environment suited to maximum productivity. As a result, some of the fundamental aspects of my business were neglected or under-utilized.
I will write and publish 30 blog posts (well actually 29 more :)). Blogging was an important aspect of 2009 and 2010. However, a post-a-week became a post-a-month and last year, I only completed and published a total of seven articles on my blog. While it was never important to me to build a huge following, having my site go from an Alexa rank of about 300,000 (meaning mikejuly.com was ranking as the 300,000th most trafficked site on the Internet) to a ranking of somewhere near 3 million is unacceptable to me and the biggest reason for the decline was the lack of content.
How I will accomplish this is simple. I will publish one new article on this site every 10 days. Make sure you subscribe via email or RSS for updates.
I will write six guest posts for prominent blogs in my field. Guest blogging is something I’ve intended to get involved with for a very long time, but time constraints and other obligations have back-burnered this objective for far too long.
I will accomplish this by reaching out to bloggers and publications on the web who accept guest posts and commentary.
I will reach out to and cultivate six meaningful professional relationships with business professionals in my arena. Despite my diminished availablity in 2011, my business actually increased by nearly 50% in terms of billable hours and number of clients. The main reason for this was the relationships that have developed between myself and esteemed professionals like Paul Kortman, Mike Yoder, Renee Harrison, Dan DeWard and too many others to name. The difference is that almost every solid business contact who’ve had an impact were ones who sought me out. While I certainly hope to grow my existing relationships, and I always welcome anyone who takes the time to contact me, I’d like to be more proactive with this in 2012.
I will accomplish this by attending more networking events, and by reaching out to more professionals that I may have been apprehensive about before.
I will redesign this blog with a more modern interface, with the intention of making the site more interactive and to better showcase what I have to offer.
I will update The Manual, the guide to marketing on the web that I wrote last year but have not touched since I finished it.
I will secure some type of office space away from home. This will require a bit of planning and possibly some strategic alignment with other professionals in the area.
I will continue to improve and expand my knowledge base. This one is critical – and is really just an extension of what I already do.
I will work on myself to feel and look better than I do today. While I am not inclined to say ‘I will 30 lbs’ or some such jibberish, there’s a way I want to look, and right now I don’t look that way. I am out of shape and that needs to change. There’s also a way I want to feel, and I don’t feel as good as I know I would if I were to drop some of the extra poundage and get the blood flowing once and again.
I will accomplish by going to the gym at least once a week. More would be better, but I’ve noticed a significant improvement with just one visit weekly. I will also reduce intake* of such foods and beverages that will be a hinderance to this initiative. Fried foods, fast foods, soda pop, beer, etc. have all been staples of my diet for most of my life, and it’s time for a change.
*Notice I said ‘reduce intake‘ instead of ‘eliminate completely‘. I’ve tried the ‘eliminate completely‘ attitude and I’ve always failed. Why? Because it sucks to give something up. Deprivation feels like punishment and the goal often becomes de-prioritized as a result.
I will make better use of my time. Having a baby around all day makes for a very limited amount of ‘work time’. That said, there is plenty of time available to accomplish the things that need to happen on a daily basis.
I will accomplish this by reducing distractions such as Facebook, Craigslist, etc. Two years ago I published a popular article called ‘Avoid Productivity Busters Like the Plague‘. It’s time to follow my own advice.
I will be less self-critical and be better about letting things go. Dwelling on past mistakes has always been a problem for me. I know I am not perfect, and I also know that no one expects perfection from me. But that doesn’t always prevent me from looking back to reflect on things I maybe could have done better, or how I may have could have been a better person at times.
I will accomplish this by simply reminding myself whenever I feel like I am slipping into those old patterns, that the past cannot be changed. I’ve already identified how I would have done things differently if given the chance – so the next time the opportunity presents itself, I will be better. Our experiences – both negative and positive serve as lessons for life going forward. As long as I don’t consistently repeat the same mistakes, I’ll be fine.
What are your goals for the coming year and beyond? Please share – I’d love to hear them!