How I plan my long-term goals

Recently I mentioned on my Instagram account that I was going to set some time aside to plan long-term goals for my business. This was because after my declutter of office stuff, I came across my old folder and found the notes from the last time I set them – which was in 2016. Eek!

I find this quote oh so true…

I have started setting myself goals for my personal life and short term goals with the business but nothing too major. No scary aims and being honest with myself about my ambitions. I wrote a post awhile ago about how I had decided to take a step back from the amount of work I was doing because it was having a negative impact on my family life. I also think I wasn’t inspired by all the work either. And it is so true, if you love your job, then it won’t feel like work. I am lucky enough to say that 85% of the time I do love my job.

Taken during my ‘semi-retirement’ days

In 2016 things were a little different – we had moved from London in 2014 and I had basically taken a year of ‘semi-retirement’ to settle our daughter into our home life. I worked a bit but not that much. We had a shock when my husband was made redundant and suddenly I realised that I needed to step up my business. My business goals were quite simple – to earn money for our family whilst my husband job-hunted. We had a scary Autumn of that year but he was back in employment from January. In the meantime, I had refreshed my contacts and had work projects to do. My 9 to 3 really started.

Since then, I’ve been on a treadmill, accepting new projects when they come my way and I’ve since realised that not everything was really making my heart sing. So when I sat down in John Lewis Oxford Street cafe (it was half term), I started with a blank page in my notebook titled: Goals. Scary!

I decided to focus on 2 goals for the next 3-5 years:

  1. To earn more each year (I have set myself an annual income target for each year)
  2. To only work 9am – 3pm 5 days a week but allow for 1 evening work session

I then asked myself the following question:

  1. In an ideal world, I would like to…?

Swiftly followed by:

2. How am I going to do this?

These questions really gave me room to be honest with myself which was a bit scary because I realised that I wanted to work in areas that I haven’t for awhile and also gave me a steer on how I could achieve those wishes. I’ve learnt from Just a Girl and Her Blog website posts that if you break down a goal into smaller chunks, they don’t seem so terrifying. Whether that is a turnover ambition, saving for a car or learning a new language (hello coding!), if you break them down into bite size pieces, suddenly it isn’t too overwhelming.

I then broke down each goal further by setting myself time limits to action each intention. I’m really deadline driven and by setting myself targets, I know that I’ll do them. How can I be so sure? It worked for me in 2016 and it worked for me last Autumn when I told an ex-colleague that I wanted to start writing this blog by the October half-term. So another tip is to really know yourself – if deadlines aren’t your jam (as they say on Instagram) then find a way to tick those goals off that does work. It is all very individual.

What happens if I don’t achieve those goals? I’m not going to beat myself up because I know I’ll get there in the end. We can never be too sure of what’s round the corner but I hope by giving myself a bit of focus, I’ll be improving my chances of reaching those goals.

I’m not yet finished working on the how but I do have something that resembles a plan. Wish me luck!

Recommended reading/watching:

How I crush my goals – Abby Lawson- Just a Girl and her Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Goal Setting

An Edited Life by Anna Newton

Ted Talks on Goal Setting

My #10yearchallenge

Photos of me from 2009 and 2019
My #10yearchallenge

The #10yearchallenge has been doing the rounds on social media and instead of me thinking about how much I have changed (weirdly in the photos, I don’t look that much different except the extra lines around my eyes, I now have better eyebrows and can use a filter!), it has made me think about what I have achieved in those 10 years and what I would like to achieve in the next ten.

In 2009 I was 28, organising my wedding to Jonathan (we married in the August), tentatively dipping my toe into freelance life working 2 days a week for myself and I’d just bought my first house in the countryside. It was a time of implementing the plans that I had dreamt about through university and my first few years working. My ambition in my career lessened as I wanted to find a way to pay my mortgage but having a baby was on my horizon.

In 2019, I am still married to Jonathan (phew!) and we are looking forward to celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary this year, we have a 7 year old daughter and live in our dream house in the English countryside. I work from home, still freelancing with a business that is growing. The #10yearchallenge has made me realise that yes there have been many bumps along the way but what I have worked really hard for, is the life I am currently living and want to continue living.

However, I’m always wanting to move forward and I’m now wondering about the next 10 years. I would like to keep my constants – Jonathan, Amy, health etc…and I’ve been working on a vision board for 2019 but actually I want to look ahead and set goals for the next decade. Not many and they won’t be specific – more words then anything else.

To help me with this, I created a Word Cloud using www.wordclouds.com as it was easy to just write in words as they popped into my head. It is free and very simple to use. I imagine, those of you who are more creative than me will be able to create a beautiful image!

For me, the word that kept coming back was Adventure. I want to have adventures with my family, my husband and if its not too creepy, myself. That doesn’t mean expensive long haul holidays, but I think more getting out of the comfort of the life that I have created in the past ten years and experiencing more.

Here is my 10 year Word Cloud.

My ten year word cloud
I created this Word Cloud using https://www.wordclouds.com

Anyway, that’s my take on the #10yearchallenge. What’s yours?