It may seem cliche sometimes, but setting goals for the beginning of the year make a lot of sense.

As an entrepreneur, this time of year is a transition between the close of one financial year and the beginning of a new one. It’s logically a great time to evaluate what worked or didn’t work in the prior year and to set a course for the new year. It’s also a time of year when many have time to reflect and feel renewed after spending time with friends and family. The beginning of the year metaphorically marks  a line in the sand, which makes it the perfect time to commit to making big changes. But always remember, any time a is a great time to start anew. So how do you plan for the best year ever? Here’s how:

Take a inventory of where you are
Before you can move on to setting goals and planning for the future, take some to time to evaluate the last year. What worked for you  and what did not? What were your successes and failures? What do you wish you had done differently? This is also a great time to celebrate all your successes, big and small.

Set goals the smart way.

In our post on prioritizing,  we talked about setting SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. Take some time to think about what you really want to accomplish in the new year, write it down and commit to doing your best to achieve these goals.

Break big goals into smaller goals
This is where the strategy works comes into play. Take those big goals and break them into smaller, mini goals and then into an actionable plan. If you have a financial goal of making $60,000 a year, that means you need to make about $5000 per month. To make $500 a month, you’ll have to further break that down into a number of money making activities.

Plan for great
Create a game plan for checking in on your goals and measuring your success. It may be wise to take some time each week, each month and each quarter to check in and see how things are going. Check-ins are a good time to make sure you are staying on task, to evaluate what’s working and to tweak what’s not.

Organize, upgrade tools and automate routine tasks
Your job as an entrepreneur is to focus on the work that is creative and innovative. Getting rid of mental and physical clutter, and automating repetitive tasks can free up your time to focus on big ideas.  Take time to organize computer files and discard any unneeded papers and materials.  The tools that you use can also have a huge impact on how effective your business runs. Think about how you spend time from week to week managing projects, your time, finances and contacts. Do the tools you currently use help to ease  your workload or add to it? Most repetitive tasks can typically  be automated. Getting organized and upgrading tools now will help you throughout the year.

Evaluate negative relationships, and  time wasters
Now is a also good time to think about people and things in your life that may be  drama filled, complicated, negative, or time wasting. This may be a good time to let them go, or to at least make a decision to devote less time to these things and people. Subtle time wasters can be a small business owner’s Achilles’s heel. Too much TV, idle conversation and social media are some of the small time wasters that can not only waste time but can emotionally drain you. I realized this year that the time I spent on Facebook and it really not helping me in any way, so I set parameters around how much time I could spend each day and committed to that. I feel like this small decision gave me more energy to focus each day. You may find that by making small adjustments you can can use your time better and focus more.

Create success habits
Yoga, meditation, list making and positive affirmations can be a great ways to help set the pace for your day. Accountability partners, coaches and mastermind groups can also help you develop a positive and supportive network. Finally, surround yourself with inspirational books, shows and programming to help keep you feeling motivated.

What are your goals and plans for the new year?