Six Steps to Formulate Business Goals for the New Year


As we enter into the new year, it’s an excellent time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going.

We recently went through this process with two different companies who asked us to help them create a theme for this coming year. For one of the companies, it was a matter of revisiting an older strategic plan they were already happy with but had put on the back burner. Their theme became “Resetting the Plan in 2019.”

For the other organization, the CEO wanted to change the culture of her workplace so that her direct reports weren’t coming to her when they had the authority to make decisions on their own. She wanted their theme to be, “2019 is the Year of Independence.”

Here are six steps you can take to uncover your own theme and goals for the year ahead. You can use these and apply them as an individual, for your team, or for the company as a whole.

  • Step OneList your accomplishments for this past year; big and small, tangible and intangible, significant and seemingly insignificant. The idea is to celebrate and recognize that you have done a lot and you are capable of a lot. You’ll be able to refer back to this list of wins whenever you need to reinforce your successes as a capable, committed and persistent winner.
  • Step Two – For each of your wins, ask yourself what you did to accomplish this, looking at the specific tools, techniques, resources, and people that were most helpful.
  • Step Three – Next, list the things you did not complete and be really honest with yourself about why you didn’t follow through. Some possible reasons might be:

It seemed like a good idea but turned out not to be

It’s something I thought I should do but didn’t really want to do

I did something else, instead, to please someone else

I did not have the resources I needed to complete this project

I recognized that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t doable at this time and I chose to let it go

Now that you have a clean slate and you’ve set aside your wins and losses from last year, let’s look ahead to the coming year, 2019.

  • Step Four – Imagine that your organization has its own version of the Super Bowl. Determine the goals your company needs to achieve in order to win your Super Bowl.
  • Step Five – Break those goals down into small, achievable tasks. Remember, there are many steps along the journey to completing your goal. I recommend you distinguish between your destination goals and the journey goals that will get you there. If scoring a touchdown is your destination, your journey goal is to catch a pass and keep the ball moving forward. Hint: Incorporate your list of tools, techniques, and resources from Step Two so you’re not reinventing the wheel in the New Year.
  • Step Six – Reflect quietly on everything you’ve written, and sum it all up into one overall theme for the New Year. Start by saying: 2019 is the Year of ________________. Here are some examples that my clients have come up with over the years:

The Year of Living Dangerously (sure, you can borrow from movies and TV!)

The Year of Having Full, Caring Relationships

The Year of Giving Up Struggling

The Year of Adventure

The Year of Less Stress and More Time

The Year of 2X Growth

Play with this process and make it your own. Above all, have a fun, safe, and Happy New Year!