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2024 Design TLC Goals

Working with a lot of schools, “new year” occurs for us two times:

  1. The new school year in September is often a time when new school websites are launched
  2. The calendar year, in January, is when we look back on our year in business and life in general and plan ahead for the coming year.

I am a big fan of goal setting. The research around goals indicates that goals help us in many ways:

  • Goals make you happier
  • Goals suppress negative emotions, such as fear and depression
  • Goals you a sense of purpose and meaning
  • Goals give you something to look forward to
  • Life is harder when you have no goals

Tips for setting and achieving goals

I separate personal goals from business goals, although the process for goal setting is the same.

Personal goals are defined as “motivational representations of desired end states that guide sustained activity and are fundamental to human experience.”

Business goals are the ultimate results that a business hopes to achieve over a period of time. Goals describe the long-term destination of the wider business activity and are linked to the company’s vision and purpose. To achieve goals, businesses set objectives. Objectives are the steps and actions will be taken to achieve the business goals.

Whether working on personal or business goals, there are some things we can do to help set goals and achieve them.

I recently watched the Mel Robbins podcast episode about setting goals and appreciated some tips for successfully following through on goals:

  • Refer to yourself in the 3rd person (Illeism) – Research shows that when we refer to ourselves in the third person, we gain a new perspective on our thoughts and actions. Additionally, illeism has been shown to help improve self-control and regulation. 
  • Define the Why (the “Will”) – why do you want to achieve this goal
  • Define the How (the “Way”) – how are you going to achieve this goal; what is the behavior change you will make
  • Make your goals achievable but not too easy. Dreams are big and aspirational, and not specific. Goals must be something you know you can achieve. BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits method says “The clearer your aspiration is, the more likely your new habit is to succeed.”
  • Set a high-low range goal (ie I will lose 3-5 pounds). Research shows that having a range instead of a set number increases the likelihood of achieving your goal. High-low goals are both challenging and attainable.
  • Share your goals to hold yourself accountable. Consider having an accountability partner or team to help each other keep your goals top of mind.

Note: I recognize the need for breaks and grace when things don’t go as planned. It can be exhausting to be too rigid with goals. Having some flexibility reduces the chance of giving up on planned goals.

The 12-week Year

I have used the 12 Week Year method for many years both for my business goals and personal goals. I have written blog posts about this process and shared it on the Mindful School Marketing podcast. It turns out that this process is successful for me because it includes the Why and the How, and because it makes my goals smaller and more achievable in 12-week increments rather than trying to plan over the whole year. Having objectives toward one larger goal helps to reach that larger goal.

Design TLC Website Team Goals

Our team at Design TLC is successful because we all appreciate the value of setting goals to live a better life and to better serve our clients. We all are focused on creating effective websites on schedule and on budget, and on being kind and responsive to all of our clients and partners. 

I started Design TLC over 10 years ago, without much of a plan or goal other than to make websites for small businesses. Over the years, I have refined my goals and objectives, with a clear idea of what I want my company to stand for, who we work with, and how we serve our clients. Our mission and values are clear, and I refer back to them before, during, and after every project to be sure our work is aligned with them. 

Our team also really values our personal lives and it is important to us to have goals to strive to improve our lives and be better versions of ourselves. As the leader of my team, one goal I have is to ensure that everyone on the team knows how important they are and how much I appreciate them and respect their time and talent. I reached out to everyone at Design TLC and asked them to share their goals so I could share them here and give you a glimpse of these amazing people who, like me, look forward to challenging themselves to grow and learn.

Lauren Krieger, Client and Creative Services Assistant

Lauren is celebrating 5 years with Design TLC this month! I truly don’t know what I would do without her, as she helps all of our clients with website updates and backs me up on a daily basis. She is able to spend time with her horse, Freedom, every morning and then work on client tickets from midday on, allowing a great balance for her and a timely response to all of our wonderful clients. Lauren’s positivity is contagious, and her kindness is an inspiration.

“My goal for 2024 is to stress less and flow more, which I plan on doing through the daily studying and practice of techniques which build calmness, presence, and peacefulness in myself and with animals.”

Tom Ransom, Senior Developer

In 2023, Tom and I created some fantastic integration with Blackbaud for school websites, and I look forward to working with him to expand those capabilities to offer them to more independent schools. I asked Tom what his goals are for the next year:

“I just finished my most modern powerful javascript recently. This really opened my eyes to modern JavaScript (I also used nested CSS for the first time). It all worked swimmingly! This year I plan to master building Gutenberg blocks in WordPress and to learn react deeply. I am watching for opportunities to leverage AI to improve code and SEO. At Design TLC, we are also paying a lot of attention to accessibility, and I will be working on some code to help make our websites more accessible going forward.”

Elana Gaines, Designer

Elana joined our team early in 2023 and has helped expand our design capabilities and brings an extra perspective to our custom designs. In addition to working with Design TLC, Elana runs her own website agency while raising two adorable toddlers at her home in Boston. 

Here is Elana’s answer when asked about her goals:

“A lot! Two major goals, which both lead back to systems: 1) streamline my back-end systems for client management, project management, onboarding/offboarding, etc. and 2) build an authority machine: create content to build my authority and develop a system for leveraging that content across multiple channels, like blog, webinars, email, and social posts.”

Charu Choudhary, Developer

Charu has worked with Design TLC for 3 years. She is a master problem-solver and Beaver Builder guru. Charu lives in Punjab, India with her husband and daughter.

In addition to helping Design TLC with our focus on accessibility in our website development, Charu’s says:

“One of my biggest goals for this year is to buy a new house if possible. After getting married, my husband and I have been living in a cozy one-room rental, but we’re ready to take the next step and find a place to call our own. I want to stay fit and healthy, learn new things, and make progress in life.”

Miki Boulin, Social Media Manager

Miki helps Design TLC communicate our brand, personality, and values online, and she does a great job! Not only is she talented and organized, but she also has a similar vision and really “gets” what we stand for.

Miki had this to say about her goals for 2024:

“I am always working to keep a good balance in my life. This may stem from my teaching and riding as a rider biomechanics coach with over 30 years of experience. No matter how talented a horse or rider is, if they are functioning from a place of skewed balance it affects the whole system. Balance is not a place where you arrive, it is a constantly moving target, that requires consistent evaluation and adjustment, especially when we have been out of balance for a long time. My goal is to continue to set time aside to reflect on where I am with respect to balance and set up goals that will bring me back to center. Similar to your 12-week system, I like to check in a little more frequently, like 4 weeks, and especially when I am going through a time that I know things will be heavy in one area, looking to make the most of the time I have to nurture those bits that will get pushed aside and have a plan to not let those pieces stay too long in a place where they are throwing everything else off.”

Tara Claeys, Founder, Owner and Team Lead

Every year I share my “Year In Review” on my personal blog, and include some goals for the new year. 

2024 Goals for School and Nonprofit Websites

For Design TLC, I have a goal to bring on 5-10 new projects in 2024. We launched 9 new websites in 2023, and we already have 5 projects underway scheduled to launch in 2024. If your school or nonprofit is thinking about a new website this year, or you know someone who needs a new website, please reach out to me. We have openings starting in March/April. We love working with organizations that need help getting the word out on the internet about the wonderful and impactful ways they are helping to make the world a better place!

Our focus this year is expanding to include creating more accessible websites, and we will be offering accessibility audits as part of new website projects as well as for our existing clients. The process of meeting accessibility guidelines is complex, but we believe every step we take brings us closer to making websites that are beautiful, customized AND also functional and usable for all website visitors. 

I hope to reach and meet more independent schools and education-focused nonprofits in 2024 by speaking at some regional conferences and online webinars. If your association would like to learn more about website best practices, SEO and using AI for website content and development, contact me … I’d love to meet you! Also, for tips from experts to help you in your role as a school marketer or leader, check out the Mindful School Marketing podcast, which I co-host with my friend and colleague Aubrey Bursch.

Tara’s Personal Goals

For me, this coming year’s goals include continuing some healthy habits I have been working on over the last few years. Fitness in mind and body is important to me, so I strive to do some form of exercise every day, to get out once a month for a true “hike” in the woods and/or mountains, and to maintain a gratitude practice. This year I am trying out a new note and journaling app called Day One, which I am hoping will create a more comprehensive way for me to organize thoughts and objectives. 

I am admittedly feeling a lot of despair as we head into 2024, looking at the state of the world. I struggle with how to be effective with activism without spending emotional energy that only serves to create anxiety and hopelessness, which doesn’t help anyone. I want to stop looking at my activism as a means to an end, but as a practice that has meaning in and of itself, whether it advances progress or not. I can always find meaning in volunteering, voting, reading, speaking, calling, and donating, so will continue to do these things while finding reasons for hope and optimism.

Making websites for impactful organizations gives me a special focus and purpose – I am grateful to be able to do the work I do!

What are your goals for 2024? 

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