Setting goals is an excellent way to have the direction, motivation and drive you need to get through the lead up to the holiday season and start the new year on a positive note. This time of the year can be hectic, so on the way to or from work or when you’re having that quick cup of coffee, take a moment to write down what you’d like to achieve over the next 12 months. This will help you regroup, refocus and get your goals for 2017 on the right track.
Setting goals the SMART way
Whatever your situation, setting goals will assist you in achieving your desired reality: a new job, an overseas trip, the new car you’ve had your eye on, the course you wanted to enrol in but never had the time for, or something so simple as being able to organise yourself in your daily activities.
SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Using the SMART approach, you can set yourself up well to both define your goals for the year ahead and achieve them.
Effective goal setting
- Be specific - When setting your New Year goals, be clear and specific about what you really want to achieve. For example, what is the desired outcome and why is it important? Does the goal require the help of others to accomplish?
- Make them measurable - Your goals need to be measurable and not so overwhelming that you’ll never be able to reach them. Consider how you’ll measure completion, i.e. will there be a quantifiable or demonstrable outcome?
- Ensure they're achievable - Goals need to be both realistic and achievable, so weigh up how you can accomplish them in terms of the time and effort needed. Start with setting smaller goals and as you achieve these, you’ll become more confident in setting longer-term objectives.
- Assess their relevance - Are your goals truly worthwhile and relevant to your situation? Is the timing right and do they align with and support your other priorities, both in the short and longer-term?
- Timeliness is key - Make a plan and set an end date for your goals. Having a set timeframe will help you plan any actions required and work towards a successful outcome.
Start small, and when you’ve achieved your first goal, it will be easier to focus on the next and see it through to completion. Having a goal partner can help keep you on track, i.e. someone at home, a manager or a fellow co-worker. Once you’ve reached your first goal and felt that sense of achievement, you’ll never look back!
There are a number of books and video resources available on setting SMART goals. A good starting reference is SMART Goals: The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide - Kindle Edition by Jacob Gudger (www.amazon.com).