Setting Goals for 2011: 2010 Habits to Keep or Leave Behind

Can you believe that 2011 is less than a month away?  For many of us, December is a time of goal-setting, resolution writing and figuring out how to make next year better than the last.  This December, I encourage you to examine your small business habits.  This piece is often overlooked as we enter a new year.  We’ll set sales goals, marketing goals and even personal weight loss goals, but we won’t take a hard look at the business habits we need to kick before the new year rolls around.  I encourage you to do that right now.

Here’s an exercise.  Grab a piece of paper and a pen.  On the left, make a column called “Keep.”  This is where we’ll write down the habits we want to carry forward into 2011.  Is there something that worked extremely well for your business?   Write it there.  Remember that we’re writing about behaviors, not specific marketing or distribution tactics.  On the right, title the column “Leave Behind.”  Every habit that held back our business in 2010 goes there.  I’ve included some examples from my own list to get you started.


Delegation and letting go.  In 2010, I finally came to the realization that I am not Superwoman.  I don’t even own a pair of red knee boots.  Rather than believing I could handle every aspect of my business solo, I reached out to subcontractors, assistants and interns.  It was one of the best decisions I made.  Now, my time is freed up to focus on the aspects of the business I want to grow: coaching and empowering small business owners to take control of their marketing.  If you find yourself overloaded with parts of your business, make 2011 the year you reach out for help.

Networking (online and offline).  I’ve met so many wonderful people in 2010.  Some came through an in-person networking event, others came from personal referrals and still others came via my social media profiles.  I’ll be partnering with these new friends on workshops, eBooks, and webinars in 2011, and it all started with one of us saying, “Hello.”  If you’ve been stuck behind your computer screen in 2010, I encourage you to throw on some business casual attire and head outside in 2011.  On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly in person, consider being just as social online by setting up a Facebook profile or similar account.

Taking action.  The one thing I did this year that had the most results was take action.  I’m a planner by nature and can craft strategies all day.  However, I realize that strategy alone won’t advance a business.  We have to understand that our final execution is the only thing our customers will see.  All the planning in the world won’t help if you never release the book, launch the web site or distribute the product.  Make 2011 your year of action.

Leave Behind:
If you find yourself doing any of these things, don’t bring them into 2011.  They are not serving your or your business.

Self-doubt and perfectionism.  You don’t have to be perfect to start a business or to be successful.  Make 2011 the year you build your confidence and let go of trying to be perfect.

Workaholism.  Taking action on your business is important, but you won’t be around to enjoy it if you run your body into the ground.  Leave behind the urge to work 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.

Disorganization.  With all the electronic gadgets available, there is no longer an excuse to be disorganized.  If you are still a fan of paper and a pen, day planners are also still on the market.  Make time to keep your business organized, or reach out to someone who specializes in keeping businesses on track.

Now that your list has been created, post it up somewhere you will see it everyday: next to your vision board, in your office, or on the refrigerator.  It will serve as a daily reminder of what you need to be working on for 2011 and what you need to leave in 2010.  I’d love to hear what you put on your “Keep / Leave Behind” list.  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the It’s Not Enough to Dream Women’s Small Business Circle for inspiring this article. 🙂

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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  1. I’m leaving behind magazines from as far at 5 years ago that I said I was going to to read. I’m de-cluttering for the new year.

  2. Set a realistic goal. You have a lot going on, so it won’t be feasible to read 10 journals a week. Maybe you can start each day with one article and then increase it as you get into the swing of things.

  3. The new year is always my time for reevaluating, too. Each year, I sit down and make several lists: Successes from the previous year, failures (or “Learning Experiences”), challenges, and goals. Then, I compare these to the lists that I made from the previous year. It’s amazing when you have it all of this information on paper and can look at it side by side with the revenues and customer lists how much insight you suddenly have about your business as a whole. When you take that step back, the big picture gets suddenly clearer and you are able to pinpoint what you need to keep doing, what you need to drop, and what you need to do more of. It’s so easy to get buried in the day-to-day; it is absolutely essential to set aside a certain time of year to make this evaluation and hit the Reset button!

    • Thanks for your comment Lisa! I’ve also started to do monthly evaluations where I look at what went well, what could be improved upon and any action steps needed to make the next month a better one. Those roll up into quarterly assessments and then into the big yearly one. Like you mentioned, it’s amazing to see how much insight you can gain into your own business once you’ve taken the time to write down your goals and benchmarked your progress against them.

      You never know what’s working until you take the time to measure.

  4. i know its a little late to chime in here but I wanted to add my 2 cents.

    you talked about Self-doubt and perfectionism.

    i know that held me back for a long time.

    having to things PERFECTLY.
    Waiting until the PERFECT time.
    waiting until i could do it perfectly.

    then i read something by Jim Straw that said I will be in the same place i am right now 5 years from now unless i take the first imperfect step. Then with each small step i can tweak and refine actions until i get to where i want to go. or i can stay right HERE for the rest of my life and wait until i can do it perfectly.

    This motivated me to start my website and hopefully it will motivate some of your readers too.

    • Hi Frank…it’s never too late to comment. 🙂

      I’m glad that you were able to move past the self-doubt and perfectionism and become motivated enough to start your own business. As you quoted from the article, you can either wait until never to be perfect to start now, imperfections and all.

      Breaking goals up into smaller parts has also helped me check the self-doubt. For example, if I wanted to write a book, it could seem impossible to say, “I’m going to write a book in 6 months,” but it sounds much more doable to say, “I’m going to have an outline done on this date 2 weeks from now.”

      What’s funny about perfectionism is that usually you’re the only one who doesn’t think it’s perfect. 🙂 If you ask a potential client they’ll likely be thrilled with the products and services you’ve put together.

      Thanks again for your comment!

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