At the beginning of 2019, I talked about how to establish meaningful business goals for the new year. Well surprise, surprise the new year is almost here!

Happy Almost New Year – time to face the music and answer the question: “Did you meet your 2019 goals?”

Answering this question is just as important as setting goals in the first place. After all, no matter how reasonable a goal is, setting it is the easy part. It’s the follow through that is the real challenge.

If you accomplished the goal or goals you established 12 months ago, well done! You deserve a pat on the back and should be confident and comfortable looking at the coming year with even more ambitious goals than last year. Feel free to celebrate the new year in style.

If you didn’t, well, answering this question may be a painful process. Coming up short of missed goals is disappointing, no doubt. Missing them, however, shouldn’t be all doom and gloom. It is true that you either meet or miss a goal, that much is pretty black and white. But there are just as many positives and insights you can take away from a missed goal as you can from an accomplished goal.

Answering the question “did you meet your goals?” with a simple yes or no is the most superficial way to evaluate success. But don’t stop there. Take a closer look into missed goals. Doing so can be a tremendous help as you look to define and establish similar or entirely new goals for the coming year.

Close, But No Cigar

If you came within inches of meeting your goal you can still hold your head up high, especially if you outpaced the prior year along the way. This is a sign that you were on the right track but something minor held you back. Maybe it was a slow start or one bad month, but whatever it is should be easily overcome with a more resolved focus and a few tweaks to your process. Admittedly, coming up just short is almost more painful than completely whiffing but that is just something you’ll have to get past. Turn that frustration into determination and use what you learned to accomplish, or surpass, the goal this year.

Halfway Home

If you made good progress but still came up reasonably short of your established goal is a sign that there is still plenty of work to be done, and requires a bit more of an in-depth… we’ll say “autopsy” for lack of a better word. Clearly you aren’t quite equipped to meet this goal yet with your current configuration, so get into the nitty-gritty to determine what needs to be done to get you over the hump. Figure out what was holding you back and what you can do to change that weakness. What tools can you incorporate? What investments (both monetary and time) can you potentially make to improve next year?

Swing and a Miss

If your best attempt hardly made a difference, there’s not really a nice way to put this scenario: you dropped the ball on this goal. This is going to be the toughest kind of evaluation because you likely need to completely rethink how you need to approach this goal because, quite frankly, it didn’t work the old way. As you evaluate what tools you have at your disposal and changes you can make, it may also be worth considering if this is indeed a goal you are capable of meeting at all. You may be better served focusing your efforts elsewhere or scaling back your objective to a more manageable expectation.

New Year, New Tools

Whether you need to rebound from a tough year of missed business goals or you plan on pushing yourself even further in the year to come, most people can benefit from a few new tools in their arsenal. Digital Toolbox is an online marketing community for business owners filled with tools, tips, training programs, and real-time discussions that can be a tremendous help to any business owner as you look ahead to defining your 2020 business objectives.

The base membership is free to join, so check it out and see what’s new in our toolbox that can be added to yours.