As the calendar pages fly by in December, many of our thoughts turn to setting goals for the new year. This is natural, it’s expected, and it can often be painful. Whether you’re choosing personal resolutions or setting new goals for your company, you may feel a mix of excitement and dread. Excitement comes with fresh starts and dream fuel. Dread comes with past lessons of goals that fizzled by the first quarter or did not pan out at all.
I would like to offer three simple rules for making the goal setting process more palatable and effective. Ready, set, go!
- First and foremost, do not go crazy with too many goals. If you need a spreadsheet for your goals, that’s too many. Ten? Too many! I’m awfully fond of capping your resolutions or goals at three – two would be even better. Here’s why: more than one keeps you balanced and interested in working on them, but the small number is very manageable, memorable, and focused.
- Secondly, employ the SMART method for your few goals. The acronym really lives up to its name – so much intelligence in these boundaries:
- Specific – describe each goal with enough specifics that you and everyone else “gets it”
- Measurable – make sure you’ll know you’ve reached your goal because it’s described in measurable terms
- Attainable – (personal favorite) – is it achievable?
- Relevant – probably the easiest box to check – is each goal relevant to you personally or professionally?
- Timely – this one actually meshes with Measurable and Relevant – set milestone deadlines and ensure the priority of each goal
- Celebrate and calibrate! This third tip encourages frequent reviews of your goals and tweaking them. If you have SMART goals in place, you will revisit your measurements and timelines at reasonable intervals. Celebrate the accomplishments and calibrate the goal specifics as needed for the good of your organization and your personal dreams.
All of us at CSR wish you very happy holidays and a richly blessed new year!