Tips for Setting Goals in 2016

As the new year rapidly approaches, it’s time to consider your goals for the new year. Sometimes this process can make people feel anxious.  Questions start to fly through your head… What if I can’t reach them? What if they aren’t reasonable? How do I begin?  Ignore those doubts.  Goals come in all shapes and sizes.  They are meant to be set just outside of your reach, so that you stretch yourself a bit.  All that being said, people with defined goals, that are written down, tend to make more progress than those who avoid verbalizing where they want to go in a given timeframe.  So where DO you begin?  Rest assured… goals do not need to be world-changing.  They do, however, absolutely need to be personal and specific.  Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Select Small, Short-Term Goals.  Many people think all goals need to be lofty and long-range. While it is good to think big, it is perhaps more important to consider short term goals as a pathway to reaching the big ones. Break down large goals (i.e. bring in one new client in the first six months) into smaller goals (i.e. identify three targets and have lunch with them quarterly).  Dissect large goals into easier steps, tracking how and when you accomplish them.
  • Commit to Your Goals By Writing Them Down. By physically writing down your goals, you makes them real. Keep written goals in a visible place and schedule reminders in your Outlook calendar to execute upon your actionable items and check your progress.
  • Avoid Distractions.  When planning your actionable steps to reach your goals, only take on steps that further your goals in a meaningful way.  Prioritize your marketing activities, undertaking those that will give you the most result for your time investment.
  • Ask for Feedback. Ask someone you trust to evaluate your goals.  This person can be a colleague, mentor, family member or marketing guru.  The point is that a reality check helps you know if what you are setting out to do makes sense.  Ask your advisors to give you honest feedback, both positive and negative.  Remember that negative feedback can be difficult for the giver and receiver, so remain calm and take their input for what it is.  It is always helpful to consider the perspective of the people around you.
  • Take Action.  Once you have your goals in place, don’t waste any time getting to work.  Plan to participate in reaching your goals from the very beginning.
  • Check Back Often.  Don’t make annual goals that sit on the shelf until December of next year.  Check your progress at least quarterly so that you may make adjustments and tweaks as you go along.  This will help you assess if your goals are appropriate and that your actions are furthering your progress.

Planning for success is an important step in achieving it. Plan a strategy to reach your goals and you will be more likely to accomplish them. Along the way, play to your strengths while working on your weaknesses.  I think you will find that you can reach your goals with focus, determination and solid effort.   Good luck!