Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:06

Goal Setting


It’s the beginning of the year and many people are taking time to write down their goals for the coming year. I’ve always been the brunt of many jokes from my friends and family because I live by my planner. I write down my goals, have quarterly and monthly benchmarks and daily task lists. If I don’t get something done, I move it to the next day and make sure it gets done. I evaluate my goals regularly and change them as the world throws me the usual curve balls.

To me, goal setting is a natural part of my being, just like the color of my eyes or hair. For many, setting goals is a tedious task that is a necessary evil brought on by a boss or significant other. They write a few things down on paper to placate whomever is making the requirement, knowing that they can put the paper aside and everyone will forget about it in the coming months. But what if those goals really could make the difference you are looking for this year? What if you actually wrote down things that you wanted to achieve and worked toward? This article will provide you with some tips that can help make that happen. So read on only if you want to accomplish your goals!

  • The goals should be SMART (specific, measureable, action-oriented, reasonable, and time-oriented). We have all heard the acronym throughout our business lives. It really does work to help get tuned into a specific target. An example of a goal that doesn’t meet the SMART standards would be “To increase sales.” That goal should be written “To increase sales of our widgets by 5% over the sales in 2008 Quarter 1” so it is a “SMART” goal.
  • You should plan the completion of your goals. Prioritize and set the end date for the goal’s accomplishment. If you do not accomplish your goal by the deadline, it should be moved to the top of the list. Determine the closest reasonable timeline for completion and then, get it done.
  • Keep track of your goals through a simple tracking system. This can be as basic as a list or excel spreadsheet or you can purchase some project management software to track your goals. The system should be used regularly to see where you are in accomplishing the goal. Remember, your tracking system should be a tool to help you follow your progress not an obstacle for you.
  • Many people have lofty goals for the year. These big goals should be broken into manageable benchmark goals throughout the year. For example, take a year end revenue goal and break it up. Evaluate your past revenue patterns and determine reasonable monthly or quarterly goals to track.
  • Goals must reflect the organization’s (and your) values, mission and vision. Everything should tie back to the goal’s originator. And they should be true to who you are. If the goal contradicts your values or the mission of the organization, it most likely won’t be done.
  • Sharing your goals with someone is a great idea. Some people work with a goal or accountability coach to help them get their goals accomplished. This enables you to have an objective person to help you stay on track and increase your motivation to accomplish your goals.
  • The goals have to make sense to you. We all know we need goals that speak to our finances, health, family/friends, etc. But whatever you do, make sure the goals make sense. Don’t just throw something on paper because your friend or co-worker had the goal and it sounded good. Consider the most important things you want to get done and then write them down. Then go into action.
  • Your goals should elicit a passionate commitment to their completion. Losing weight is a personal goal we always hear about. Many of us set the number of pounds we want to lose and then are shocked that we don’t lose any of them. I have found the only time people lose weight is when they’re passionate about losing weight. That translates to all goals. The passion and commitment to the goal is fundamental to its accomplishment.

Goals are a funny thing. We can set them, we can write them down, we can make picture boards and charts and graphs and tell everyone about them. But the bottom line is we have to believe in them, we have to want them and they have to be reasonable for us to accomplish. If all of those things are present in our goal setting, we can accomplish anything! Have a great and successful year!