SMART Goals for the New Year!

Your success is in your hands, set your goals, make them happen, live the life you have always dreamed of.
— Bob Banach

It’s that time of year again for many people: time to make resolutions and set goals for the upcoming year! It’s a given that we all have many goals that we would like to accomplish: todays, next weeks, this years and in our lifetime! These goals exist in each different area of our life; we have goals for our career, family, health, education, etc.

But what exactly is a goal? It’s something you would like to achieve; a desired result.  For example, exercising 5 days per week for 1hr each day is a goal.  Wanting a new deep blue pearl Nissan GT-R is not a goal, it’s a reward for a goal achieved (saving up enough money and/or lowering your debt, etc). Goal setting is all about deciding what is important, what is not important and maximizing the satisfaction in your life. They give you direction and keep you focused on where you want to end up.

If it is to be, it is up to me!
— William H. Johnsen

Accomplishing goals takes focus. Too many goals or too big of goals may bury you. But too few, or too small of goals will not challenge you. What is the perfect mix for you to insure your success?

Goals should have expected outcomes states as simply and clearly as possible. A great framework tool for setting goals was shared with me several years ago: SMART goals.

Specific: goals should have expected outcomes states as simply and clearly as possible. A few examples could be: Run a marathon in less than 4 hours. Earn $10K more. Pass 4 college courses with an ‘A’ Grade. Get waist size down to 36 inches. 2K new customers.

Measurable: include how you will know if you have met your goal. Know your starting point and your end point. Know what your goals are for the year, then break it down to quarterly and monthly.

Achievable: goals should have outcomes that are realistic given your current situation, resources, and available time. You need to be realistic with your goals. Losing 10lbs per week is not realistic; losing 2lbs is. Make the goal challenging and something that you are passionate about.

Relevant: goals that help you on your journey toward meeting larger, ultimate life outcomes. A few examples could be: Exercising 5 days/week for 1hr each day is relevant. 100 new subscribers per month is relevant.

Timely: goals should include realistic timeframes for achievement. Each goal needs an exact date that you plan on accomplishing the goal by. Track your progress; write down results, take pictures, take notes on a set schedule.

I normally set my goals in late October or early November each year instead of January. Two goals that I set earlier this year are:
- Take an intermediate SQL course & an intro to Illustrator CS6 (passing both with an above 80% average).
- Write one blog post each week; I’ve got a list of tips, FAQs, how-tos and more!

What are some things you hope to achieve in the next few weeks or months? What are some things you hope to achieve this year?