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Goal Setting: 5 Easy Steps

Happy New Year! This is the time of year when we all think about what we accomplished last year and what we want to accomplish this year. It is an important part of successful business planning. I was asked recently what my goals are for 2012. A mental list popped up in my head and I rattled off a few things…what I would focus on, income goals, technical skills to perfect, family time. That was a good start, but now what? How do I get these ideas in motion?

Having a sales background, January has always been the month my manager e-mails out the “goal sheet” for all of us to fill out. With photography, you are your own manager. No one will ask you to fill out your goals for the year. You have to create your own list. Here are some steps to creating the list and achieving results.

1. Write them down – A no brainer, right? The biggest mistake people make is not writing them down. The reason is that once we write them down, we are now accountable for them. Now we have to work at it. My most successful years have been when I have written my goals down in the month of January. One trick I learned was to write them on good old-fashioned paper. This way I can post them in front of me at my computer, I can put them in my bag, and I don’t have to open a program to look at them.

2. Make the goals attainable – Baby steps….don’t try to put too much on your plate. If your goals are small they will be attainable and you will check them off your list! Attaining your goals creates a momentum, it boosts your self-confidence, and your work will show for it.

3. Set Daily Goals –Procrastination will railroad your productivity. The internet can be your best friend, and your biggest distraction. You can lose yourself on the internet, with a click of a mouse. With photography we are often on our computers when we’re not out on a shoot doing research, editing and marketing, but the trick is to stay focused on the tasks you are working through. By setting small daily goals, it makes it much easier to stay on task and finish the work you need to do.

4. Be flexible - Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your goals throughout the year. Sometimes life may start taking you in a new direction. You may get thrown a curveball and you might have to switch gears. A new opportunity might present itself and you may find yourself writing a completely new list. You might also find that you are crossing goals off your list quicker than you thought. If this happens, you will have to evaluate where you are in your career path and add or change your list.

5. Don’t forget to have personal goals as well – If you are healthy and happy, everything else will fall into place. Having health, family, and spiritual goals are all part of the big picture of being a success. Well-rounded goals that cover all aspects of life are the key to being the best you can.

Get out a piece of paper and start writing! Regardless of what direction your goals take you, it’s having them that will make the difference between being good and being great

Jessica Ford