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3-Step End-Of-Year Reflection & Goal Setting Process For Entrepreneurs

It's that time of year when we look back and reflect on what we've achieved (or haven't) and set our sights on the new year. While it's tempting to skip right to the fun planning part for next year, please don't skip the reflection process. As a business owner, taking time to reflect will help you make better business decisions and set achievable goals for the coming year.


 

Ep. 221: 3-Step End-Of-Year Reflection & Goal Setting Process For Entrepreneurs

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #221). If you'd like to listen to this conversation, use the link below.







 

STEP 1: Calendar Audit Exercise


Go through your calendar from January 1 all the way to December 31st and conduct an audit of what you actually did this year. While I know not everything makes it to our calendar, many things do: lunch with a friend, doctors appointments, kids plays and activities, work meetings.


This takes about an hour to do but look through your entire calendar and break things into categories:

  • Things I enjoyed or helped achieve a goal and want to do more of

  • Things I didn't enjoy or help me achieve a goal and I don't want to do anymore

My examples:

  • Coaching calls brought in the majority of my revenue and I enjoyed them but this exercise helped me understand what type I enjoyed the most

  • Connection calls were so fun for me but I need to be careful how many I have on my calendar

  • I signed up for WAY too many free masterclasses to learn from others, this took me away from my focus and I need to set some boundaries with this

  • I evaluated the paid programs I was a part of and which to continue with in 2024


Then identify the top 3 to 5 things that help you feel like you're living your best life. These also help you identify the boundaries you need with your time. These should include both personal and business activities.


My examples:

  • Luxurious self care experiences (massage, facial, eyebrows, hair appointments)

  • Time with my husband (daily walks, dates)

  • Time freedom (the ability to spend time with people I want to spend time with like chemo appointments with friend, visiting family, lunch with friends)

  • Connections with others (connection chats, but I have to be careful with how much time and what I end up committing too)

  • Partnerships for business (I tracked the most successful ones and will ensure that I have better parameters with partnerships)


How To Know If Something Helped You Achieve A Business Goal


Sometimes it's unclear if something has helped you achieve a goal when you're simply looking at your calendar. When you run into this issue, here are the steps to help you identify your answer:


Know your goals

Hopefully you're setting 90 day goals for your business. If not, check out Ep. 219 for this step-by-step process. Write out all of your goals from the year and the metric that indicates if it was achieved or not.


Examples:

  • Grow my email list by 500 subscribers

  • Book 4 coaching calls per month

  • Double my revenue from last year


Compare actual activities to goal metrics

Now that you have your goals identified and your calendar pulled up, you can do a time audit to see if your time spent was actually moving the needle forward on your goals. While not all your activities will be goal-focused activities, it's important to see how you're spending your time.


Example:

Maybe your goal was to book 4 coaching calls per month but when you look at your time spent you realize you spent most of your time on creating social media content but that didn't convert to coaching calls booked. This tells you that you'd be better off spending your time on another lead-generating activity next year.


If you're still stuck with this, check out the "metrics" section in the additional questions list below as that will help you identify specifically if an action was worth your time.


Person writing on a post it note in a notebook


Additional end-of-year reflection questions for business owners:


METRICS:

  • What were my goals this year? Did I achieve them? (Why/how or why not)

  • What was your highest revenue stream?

  • What lead generation type/opt in brought in the most leads?

  • What is the conversion rate (percentage) from a free opt in to a paid offering? If you have multiple, be sure to identify the highest converting opt in so you know what's working. *ConvertKit is a great tool for this, you can see this with one click.

  • How did your spending have a direct or indirect impact on your business growth?


ACTIONS:

  • Evaluate all the actions you take on a weekly basis and ask if they are truly helping you get to the next level you want to achieve (or maintain) in your business next year. Delete things that aren't helping you.

  • Are there any assumptions you're making that you need to test/validate?

  • Did I keep my commitments (to myself, to my clients, to my audience)?


FEELINGS:

  • What did you love/enjoy doing this year?

  • What did you not enjoy doing this year?

  • What am I proud of this year?

  • Who do I need to thank for their support this year?

  • How did my business and life integration feel this year? Is there anything you want to change as you move forward?

  • Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for so you can move forward?

  • What did it feel like when I was managing things well? What enabled that?

  • Was my business a force for good in the world?


OVERALL:

  • What is my why (for being an entrepreneur)? Has it changed?


*Not sure what your why is? Check out my book Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success to truly uncover this and the other components of your Y.O.U. Promise to help guide everything in your business.



STEP 2: Look Ahead To Next Year & Set Your Business Goals


Once you've looked back and identified what you enjoyed and want to do more of and the things you want to let go of, it's time to look forward. During this part of the process, I'd encourage you to look ahead to the year and what you'd like to accomplish but then really focus in on setting your first 90 day goal of the year.


Questions For Looking Forward Into The New Year:

  • What is my overall goal for 2024?

  • What is my Q1 90 day goal? (episode 219 shares how to set this)

  • What level of accountability/support do I need to follow through with my goal plans?


STEP 3: Write Your 2024 Self A Letter


This may sound silly but I want you to write your future self a letter. As you're doing this reflection now I bet you wish you had something to help you truly know if you had a successful year. How did you wish you would feel? What did you want to accomplish?


This is what the letter can help you with! By writing to your future self you can share your thoughts on feelings (instead of just metrics) and the bonus is that you can then read this letter every quarter as you set your next 90 day goal.


 

Example of a future-self letter:

Dear future Amanda,

As you read this letter at the end of 2024 I hope you feel so proud of yourself. When you reflected at the end of 2023 you were happy with your accomplishments but not as proud as you'd hoped you'd be. I hope that's drastically different as you're reading this at the end of the year.


I hope you took control of your calendar more and prioritized the activities that make you happy like quarterly spa days with Michael and long dinners with friends. I hope you blocked time on your calendar to actually pause and celebrate your accomplishments every month. And I hope you started that happy memories jar that you wanted to so you could remember the good stuff that happened all year long.


I hope you're feeling much less financial stress as you were this time last year. I hope you hit your financial business goals as well as personal ones but also that you didn't run yourself into the ground trying to do it. Your focus on contentment with what you have is something I hope you continued to work on yet always striving for more to keep it interesting too. I hope you found the balance and are proud of that accomplishment.


Overall, as you're reading this letter, I hope you have joy in your heart and that you're celebrating the goals you've reached and all the lessons learned along the way. While life will never be perfect, I hope you found the silver lining in all the experiences and you've allowed yourself to pause and feel all the feels about it all.


And now it's time to plan for next year so set your sights big but also remember to keep the critical things in your calendar. Prioritizing what you love doing is just as important than goal-reaching activities. You've got this!


 

Take Away Message / Action


Follow the 3-step end-of-year business reflection process and don't skip anything. Make sure to dedicate time for this so that you can truly set yourself up for a great next year. And once you write your future self letter, set a reminder to read it as you do your quarterly planning. This will help you achieve what you hope to feel.


Until next time give yourself permission to take time to reflect and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.



Let's Work Together:



Ep. 221: 3-Step End-Of-Year Reflection & Goal Setting Process For Entrepreneurs

"This reflection process will help you make better business decisions next year and save you time and energy in the long run."


Amanda McKinney










 


Let's Work Together!


Image of Program: Proffitt Podcasting

I help women who stumbled into entrepreneurship, get out of the weeds and create a sustainable, organized business they are proud of and provides the finances and flexibility they desire.


If that's you, let's work together!




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