After the year we’ve had you may be forgiven if it may feel difficult to be a dreamer and feel optimistic when setting your goals for the coming year. But looking at your goals gives you opportunities to reinvigorate and recharge yourself and your work and using your newly developed skills and experience from living through the year of the pandemic. YOU DID IT! Your achievements may be different to those that you originally set but just think for a moment about everything new you have learnt or achieved as a result of working through such an unsettling time?
Know your skills and value and use this for planning the year ahead. Working on your goals for 2021 gives you a chance to rebuild your positivity, be really clear about what you want to achieve, what you are working towards, how you want to feel, how you want to live your life, and have the best possible mindset to ensure that you can achieve them. Remember, you’re responsible for how you feel and how you are deciding to travel through life.
You may have a usual routine for developing your goals and varying success at keeping to them. But working on your mindset alongside your goal development lays the foundations for both your BEST EVER set of goals, an increased likelihood of them being successfully implemented and you feeling more fulfilled. After all, goals aren’t much value if we don’t actually put them in place. It’s no surprise that there are parallels to the strategy development and values articles I have previously written about as one of my key awakenings over the years as a freelancer is that unless as freelancers, we have the right, confident and positive mindset then daily tasks, goals, strategies, development, networking just doesn’t happen.
Development and implementation of goals can feel like a bowl full of spaghetti if we aren’t careful. Lots of random strands without a clear end and no order or prioritisation. By connecting our different strands to a common starting point – our values and vision – allows us to start to be clearer about what we want to achieve. It is as early as value identification and vision setting that work around our mindset, confidence and self-belief needs to be routed.
Start off by giving yourself the bandwidth and time to develop your vision and goals. Using a pen and paper to physically writing down our thoughts supports a connectivity to those ideas encouraging better recall and accountability. You can be really abstract about how you develop your vision and goals, visually drawing, writing, creating a storyboard for example.
Start with your vision, what is your dream?
You may feel that after this year that you have discarded your dreams feeling that they will never happen but having dreams gives you the scope and mindset to live your life to the fullest. Investing a bit of time in reflection of what your dreams are, what your visions are is a really valuable use of time allowing the vision to become yours, focusing your mind on what YOU want.
To generate these ideas think through the senses – what will you/your life/your work look like in the future; who is with you; what is important to you; what do you enjoy and will energise you; how will you feel when you achieve this; what will you or others tell yourself about your achievements. Dream big and imagine yourself achieving all this and keep replaying these feelings.
Starting with where you want to head towards really helps with instilling a clear mindset with a greater chance of you maximising your happiness and fulfilment.
The quick wins and the stretch
Your goals are yours (stating the obvious!) so of course I wouldn’t be dream of being prescriptive over what they should contain but there are however a couple of considerations which will help them become more achievable as they are support your development of a confident, energy fuelled and fulfilled mindset.
Setting a mixture of short and long-term goals to help you get to your vision will really help. Those ‘quick wins’ achieved through short term goals that are delivered within your comfort zone are fuel for motivational energy and confidence. Your brain will soon be telling you that ‘you’ve got this’, just what is needed by your mind to tackle those goals that may be longer term and come more from your ‘stretch zone’ but really help with the growth of your work and your mindset (bringing double value!).
Goals that are about you
Being self-employed, the only person who is 100% vested and responsible for your vision and goals is you. Which means you really need to look after not just your work but YOU! Again, why your mindset, confidence and energy are so important to you AND your work. Think about what drains your inner core and also where you draw this energy from, and invest in it. It could be around relationships, family, money, health and fitness, learning, etc. Include them as goals to ensure that it takes as much weight as your other work goals.
Find your cheerleaders
What will help you implement and achieve your goals from pinning them up on our office walls to having accountability buddies, we need to find what works for us. Support can usually play a huge part in this. Think of those people who are your cheerleaders – family, friends, other freelancers, a coach. They can play a part in increasing your confidence or keeping you to your timescales.
This may not seem your usual approach to goal setting but give it a try. Remember that they are your vision and goals and you are responsible for how you feel. This next year invest in yourself as well as your work, both you and your work will like the results!
Nicola Hughes has been a freelancer for over 14 years. She provides consultancy in service development and improvement and is also a Confidence and Freelancing Coach.
If you would welcome a chance to reflect and receive clarity without judgement, understand the root causes and receive help with coping strategies please get in touch – Nicola