It is a new year. Many people have begun the year with resolutions in mind and are attempting to follow through on them right now. They have entered 2021 with renewed determination and focus to achieve personal or business goals that they consider important. However, resolutions often fail when we don’t develop clear missions and goals for ourselves. Periodic introspection and reflection are vital to keeping any person or organization on a path to success because conditions are always changing and those who become static are likely to struggle. Part of the evaluation process should include reexamining goals and objectives to determine whether or not you or your company are really moving in the right direction. Let’s consider some tips for recalibrating your personal and business improvement plans to increase your potential for future success.
1. Begin with a mission in mind.
If you have not done so already, develop carefully crafted mission statements for you and your company. Personal mission statements define who we are as people and what we want to accomplish, and mission statements for businesses serve the same purpose. It is actually a good idea to develop goals based on your mission statements. Your long-term goals can be developed from key verbs or phrases in your mission statements, and these long-term goals can provide important visions for both you and your business. Developing careful mission statements make our goals more concrete and provide something tangible to work toward.
2. Make your goals SMART.
The reason many resolutions fail is because they are not well defined; they amount to little more than wishful thinking. If you are serious about achieving your personal and professional goals, focus on making them SMART goals. SMART is a common acronym for the following:
- S stands for specific. Make sure your goals are clearly written and specific. Avoid vagueness that can lead to ambiguity or confusion.
- M stands for measurable. For a goal to be effective, you have to be able to measure it. Otherwise, how would you know if you have obtained a goal? Making goals measurable will allow you to accurately gauge progress that you are making.
- A stands for actionable. Put into place achievable short-term objectives that you or your employees can work toward to achieve your long-term goals.
- R stands for relevant. Your goals should be relevant to either your or your institution’s overall success. The goal should also be realistic given the resources available to you, which will ensure that they are actionable.
- T stands for timely. Having time-specific goals are important. Human beings have a tendency to procrastinate, which can kill all momentum toward achieving personal goals, and we all know that time is money in business. Set timeframes for establishing your goals and stick to them.
3. Involve others in establishing goals and celebrating achievements.
Making your goals public can help you achieve them because it will give you another level of accountability as others can see how you are progressing. Sharing our struggles and victories with loved ones or friends can provide the external support that we need if we are struggling with the internal motivation to keep going. In business, soliciting employee input in setting goals will give them more motivation to attain the goals, and showing your appreciation for the successes you collectively experience will enhance your employees’ feelings of worth to the enterprise and increase their buy-in to the mission, which in turn will improve your company’s culture.
Creating clear goals is an important step in accomplishing any successful endeavor. It goes well beyond making some half-hearted or ill-defined resolutions, and it requires a good deal of reflection, planning, and commitment. As we start a new year and a new decade, consider what you can change that will enhance your sense of personal and professional accomplishment, and take the necessary steps to make these changes a reality.
Leadership Excellence is dedicated to providing individuals with personal leadership training to help clients reach their goals. Check out our personal leadership program here or contact us to learn how we can help you make 2021 your most productive year yet!