Whenever the holiday season is ending, many business owners often see a slowing of sales, fewer phone calls and emails, and fewer prospects walking through the door. Many of our business-owning clients choose to use this time to sit back and reflect on their successes or failures over the last year.

Now is the best time to set simple personal and financial goals for the new year, and look for opportunities to improve.

You could start by writing two lists that can help you make progress in both your business and personal goals.

The first is a list of your top 10 goals for the year – as simply stated as possible. This list might include paying more attention to your children, exercising more, increasing your business’ marketing efforts, paying off old debt by following a new budget plan, and making sure your estate plan is up to date.

Of course, you don’t have to finish this list in one day and laminate it! Some people freeze if they are on a deadline. Instead, draft it out, set it aside for a day or two and come back to it to make revisions or additions.

Once you’re set on your goals, make three copies: one for your desk at work, one taped near the bathroom mirror at home, and one miniaturized in size to carry in a wallet or purse. This might seem silly to some, but reading your goals regularly can help ensure your commitment to achieving them.

The second list is all about the little things you have been tolerating over the last year. We encourage you to “mind map” a list of these annoyances.

Maybe you’ve been so busy solving problems at home that you’ve come to accept working in a messy office. It can be as simple as a missing button on your favorite sweater and you’re reminded of it each time you put it on to take the dog on a walk but neglect to fix it. Perhaps you have sacrificed having some dental work done because of unexpected business expenses. Or maybe that list will contain the names of problematic customers you’ve tolerated instead of firing.

Regardless of its content, this second list of tolerations will certainly grow if it is not addressed.

You don’t need to take an oath to eliminate all these issues by January 2021, but you will have a much better chance of addressing most of them if you just start by writing them down!

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