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Get Set with SMART Goals in the New Year

December 30, 2014 | Staffing Blog

Ah, the New Year. It’s a time to reset. We can start fresh on our resolutions, goals and priorities. Missed a few goals last year? No problem. It’s time to start anew in 2015.

But as we all know, few people follow through on their New Year’s resolutions. By February, most have been forgotten. Whether it’s a personal goal like regular exercise or a professional goal of growing your client base, we tend to fall off the resolution bandwagon pretty fast.

Much of this has to do with the way we approach our resolutions. We declare our lofty intentions, but we don’t typically drill down into serious goal setting.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

So how can you do things differently? First, create detailed plan of action for your SMART goals:

  • Specific: “Grow my business” isn’t a specific goal. Are you looking to increase profits? Generate more leads? Be detailed in your goal.
  • Measurable: Maybe you want to grow your business by six new clients or increase profits by 10%. At the end of the year, you can truly measure the success.
  • Actionable: Start your goal with an action verb: Sign three new clients. Earn $10,000 more this year.
  • Realistic: Only you know your capacity to achieve these goals. If you have a huge project due Feb. 15, it’s probably not realistic to set a goal for closing two accounts in January. But can you close two accounts in the first quarter of the year? Not being realistic in your goals is a fast way to set yourself up for failure.
  • Time-bound: Deadlines are critical. An open-ended goal goes nowhere. You can even set mini-deadlines along the way to keep you on task.

Be careful not to set too many goals. The start of a new year has us all feeling optimistic and ready to take on the world. But we all know that roadblocks – unexpected work projects, family and personal responsibilities – can derail our plans. If you’ve set too many goals, it’s easy to fall behind on your progress and end up discouraged.

Finally, in setting goals, accountability is key. It’s tough to be your own task master. So share your goals with a co-worker, your supervisor or even your spouse – anyone you know will be willing to check in on your progress and give you a firm nudge if you’re falling behind.

By being more intentional in your goals and what you hope to achieve, you have a much better chance of getting to the end of the year having actually accomplished what you set out to do – and that is a great way to ring in the New Year.

Here’s a helpful article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting,” by leadership and publishing guru Michael Hyatt.