If you’re like me, every year end reminds me to evaluate my previous year’s resolutions–things such as improving my work system, learning a new language, reading certain books, spending more time being creative, eating healthier foods (or eliminating unhealthy ones!), or cleaning out my closet. The problem is, I don’t always accomplish what I said I would, because I fail to make a plan.
Can you relate? If you’ve experienced the same defeat I have, perhaps you need to make your New Year’s resolution a SMART goal. This method of goal-setting will set you up for success both at work and in your personal life. It also works for helping others set goals for themselves (employees, friends, co-workers, even your kids):
Specific–Define exactly what you will be doing.
Measurable–Decide how you’ll measure your progress.
Attainable–Determine the steps you must take and what resources you’ll need.
Relevant–Identify your motivation, expected result, and fit with long-term objectives.
Time-Based–Set a schedule for when you will work on it and complete it.
Here’s a great example of a SMART goal from AboutMoney.com:
Broad Goal: I want to become a well-known expert.
Specific: I will become a well-known expert on the topic of small business accounting.
Measurable: I will be successful if I am asked to speak publicly on the topic at least once a month, receive interview requests every week and write one article per month for a top industry publication.
Attainable: I will accomplish this by acquiring the services of a PR/publicity firm and launching a publicity campaign.
Relevant: Establishing myself as a small business accounting expert will reinforce my 20+ years of experience in the field and allow me to reach more small business owners who need accounting advice.
Time-Based: I want to be considered a small business accounting expert in two years.
SMART Goal: I will acquire the services of a PR/publicity firm and launch a publicity campaign that will help establish me as a well-known expert in small business accounting who is asked to speak publicly on the topic at least once a month, receives interview requests every week and writes one article per month for a top industry publication. This will reinforce my 20+ years of experience in the field and allow me to reach more small business owners who need accounting advice.
Suppose you want to find a better job in 2016. Your SMART Goal could read something like, “I will find a new job that offers better training and development and where I can be part of something meaningful. The job I find will have growth and service opportunities. I will post my resume on three major job boards and enlist the help of a recruiter. Finding a job with additional training in the next six months will help me move toward my goal of moving into management within the next four years.”
A final tip on achieving your goals comes from Sensei Julie Cameron of Crossfire CrossTraining.” Don’t keep your resolution a secret,” she advises. “Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better.” Even if you slack off, says Cameron, don’t beat yourself up. Just stick to it and keep on trying until you succeed.
If you’re tired of never accomplishing your previous year’s goals, then make your New Year’s resolution a SMART goal. Setting a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based will elevate your wishful thinking from good intentions to results you can feel good about accomplishing.
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