Setting business goals

Make flexibility your key goal for 2022

When everyone around talks about the New Year resolutions, I prefer to stop for a while and rethink the whole goal setting idea.

2020 proved that all plans, whether you’re a freelancer or not, may quickly turn upside down.

2021 wasn’t much better either.

Will 2022 bring a wave of change?

I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, but I do have some ideas on how to tweak your business goals to make the best out of the coming year.

 

Flexibility

 

That’s probably the keyword for the coming year.

Being flexible will help you weather the storm, both in your business and private life.

Here’s how you can add more flexibility into your goal setting mission:

 

Change the date

Some business dreams won’t materialise as quickly as you wish to. Due to external circumstances or due to your (in)action, you’ll be forced to re-evaluate your goals and adjust your deadlines.

Why not include this unpredictability into your planning process from day one? No matter what you intend to achieve, double the time and add a few months more. That’s how you can avoid disappointments and increase the chance of being super proud of yourself once you reach your goal sooner.

You can also push the whole goal setting mission to another date. The New Year’s Eve isn’t the only time to work on your resolutions. There are so many other moments that you can use as a magical border between the old and new habits, between your “old business” and the “new business”.

For example, I prefer to set my goals after the summer holiday, when I’m rested, full of energy and excited to come back to work. You can pick any moment you like, be it after a short trip, inspiring conference, motivating meeting or when you’ve achieved a satisfactory business result.

You can also randomly pick a date in the calendar and decide that this is the day when you’ll start working on your new goal.

 

Change the plan

One, ideal plan that will guide you to your business goal might not be enough. Plan A and Plan B may not cut it either.

What you need is Plan C.

C” for “Close enough to make me happy”.

This is how it works:

You ambitiously plan to increase your rates by 20% and attract 5 more customers. Not a bad idea. But you know life likes to throw you curveballs, so you diligently draft Plan B as well. In the worst-case scenario, you’d be happy with a 10% rate increase and merely 3 more customers. Now it’s time for Plan C. That’s the minimum threshold that will let you deem your goal complete.

If you fail to increase your rate by 20% or 10%, maybe 5% is not that bad either? Maybe signing a contract with only one more customer is also a good reason to celebrate? It’s sill more than you currently have, isn’t it?

Decide what’s the minimum progress on your path towards your goal and call it a success.

Norman Vincent Peale once said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

So, find your moon and be proud even with the tiniest move upwards.

 

Change your motivation

Maybe the best goal for the new year is to keep the status quo? Why do we always have to strive for more? For more growth? More money, higher rates, and more customers?

Sometimes maintaining the good momentum is a big achievement already.

I’m sure the last two years brought invaluable lessons to every freelancer. Maybe instead of searching and chasing for more, it’s time to reflect, rethink and rewire?

Maybe 2022 is the year to lower our expectations and simply do our best to keep up the good work?

“But there’s nothing to keep up!” – you might shout in reply to these words.

Well, no matter how miserably your business fails, there’s always something positive to focus on. Maybe it’s a great product, trustworthy customers, strong online presence. There must be something you’re proud of. Even if other parts of the puzzle aren’t up to your standards, focus on that one little shiny piece and slowly take small steps to tweak other areas. Without setting goals that are too unrealistic or too inflexible.

 

 

These are my key lessons from many long years of aiming for the moon and overshooting. Whatever you plan to achieve, it won’t harm to add a hint of flexibility to your goal setting mission.

 

There’s of course nothing wrong with ambitious business goals. But a more flexible approach might help you avoid feeling burnt-out and disappointed.

 

I hope the New Year will bring you kindness and flexibility!

 

P.S. I share more tips for freelancers in my free e-book “How to make the best use of your time”.

And if you’re looking for advice on how to juggle your freelance work with motherhood, have a look at my book “You’ve got this: How to continue your freelance career when you become a mother”.

Dorota helps businesses and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is a qualified translator and an entrepreneur supporting other self-employed professionals on their path towards building a more successful business.