Now is the time when people think about and set New Year’s Resolutions. Chances are you have as well. However, I am not a big fan of most New Year’s Resolutions and here’s why:
- They’re rarely specific.
- They’re easy to break.
- They lack focus and clarity.
- They’re seldom risky.
- There’s typically no accountability.
I use this time of the year to set specific goals for how I want my upcoming year to look. There is a process I use to set goals, and it is one that I have used for a number of years, and it is something that I have taught to students and adults alike.
To help transform your team’s resolutions into goals involves five easy steps. It doesn’t take a lot of time; however, these simple steps will help turn those non-specific resolutions into winning goals that you can measure, track, and look back at the end of the year to see all that your team has accomplished.
1. Make the goal specific.
Many New Year’s Resolutions are not specific. They are too general. Examples include:
Drink more water.
Be a better leader.
The challenge with these is that there is no specific target to hit. Here are some ways to make the above goals specific.
Lose 15 pounds.
Drink 6 glasses of water daily.
Read 1 leadership book a month.
2. Create goals that are measurable.
As with the initial examples above, there is really no way to measure certain characteristics like “more” or “better”. What does it mean to be a better leader, husband, employee, etc.? How will you measure that? Again, it’s next to impossible.
On the other hand, 15 pounds is something that is specific and measurable. You know when you’ve lost it, and when you haven’t. You can check on your progress along the way. You can also measure if you’ve read a book a month on leadership. It is something tangible that you can look at and know that you’ve accomplished (or haven’t).
3. Make sure the goals are attainable.
Often when resolutions are made, they are not attainable. There are two reasons why this might be. One is that not enough time is given to be able to achieve the desired results, as in losing weight.
Many times, when setting goals, people are over-zealous for what they can achieve. Then, when they fail, they get discouraged and may give up on the process of goal-setting.
Planning out bite-sized steps to achieve each goal can be helpful. Creating a plan of action around each goal will help assure that each small step is completed on your way to completing the big goal!
4. Add some risk to each goal.
While you want goals that are measurable and attainable, I like to encourage people to put a little risk in the goals. There is a fine line here between risky goals and ones that are a bit too much; however, I tend to err on the side of adventurous goals that will excite me.
Many times, for me, when setting goals, in addition to having specific and measurable goals, I will add something to strive for in addition to the actual goal. I find this helps me stick to my goal better.
For example, instead of just a goal of getting in shape or losing weight, add in a 5k or 10k to strive for as you get in shape. These provide milestones and targets to hit as you progress toward the overall goal.
5. Make each goal time-sensitive.
Set an end date for each goal. Have a time frame that you will work with. For example, if you want to drink more water, then a good goal might be:
Drink 5 glasses of water, 5 days a week, for 90 days.
Having an indefinite goal for every day of the week more often than not is unattainable. Breaking the goal into smaller segments can help to create more small wins as you look to accomplish bigger goals. Remember, goals are different than habits, but can be a great kick-start to formulating new habits.
BONUS #1: Partner with someone for accountability.
Setting goals is great; however, being able to set them with someone and help keep each other accountable is a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of staying on track.
Pair up with someone to help you reach your professional goals. Two are better than one!
BONUS #2: Celebrate small and big victories alike.
As you complete action steps and each of your goals, take time to celebrate! This will boost your motivation and help you keep going. Decide ahead of time how and when you will celebrate your wins.
What other steps do you use to transform your goals? What goals have you set for this year? Let me know in the comments below?