With the end of 2022 quickly approaching, I know many professionals are starting to think about how to set themselves up for success to kick off 2023. You may have big goals in mind, such as a promotion, joining a new company you’ve been following for some time, or simply sharpening your leadership skills.
Whatever the goals you have in mind, taking the time to reflect on what you hope to achieve is a useful exercise to turn thoughts into action and to create meaningful change.
Here are three strategies to get clearer on your goals and level up your skills in the New Year:
1. Be SMART
When thinking about goal setting, it’s useful to use the SMART acronym:
Specific: Be very particular about exactly what you want to achieve, including the tiniest details. For example, instead of writing the goal “I want to grow my leadership skills by attending a conference every quarter,” try including the exact conference with the dates and locations. The more precise, the better!
Measurable: I like to think of goals as actions that can be easily identified when they have been completed; it is helpful to think of it as an item you can check off of a list. By including goals that are measurable and easily identifiable as either achieved or not achieved, it removes the gray area as to whether or not you actually completed the predetermined goal.
Achievable: Some questions to help you determine if a goal is achievable includes asking if you have access to the resources needed to achieve the goal and whether you have the proper support. These two questions can help guide just how achievable the goal actually is.
Relevant: It’s important to set goals that are applicable and relevant to what it is you want to accomplish. Keep your goals in alignment with your “North Star,” your big-picture accomplishments and ideals you hope to embody.
Time-Bound: If your goals are lacking a deadline, it’s less likely that you’re actually working toward them. Get specific with the timeline you hope to achieve your goals, whether it be specific dates, quarters, or months.
2. Get a little dreamy
Although we want our goals to be achievable, don’t be afraid to dream a bit. Find the sweet spot between lofty and too attainable, and use that positive momentum to act. Most often we get stuck because we become too comfortable with our current circumstances; by setting goals that appear a touch out of reach we allow ourselves to grow, develop, and work toward being better versions of ourselves.
3. Prepare to Pivot
Our situations, aspirations and life happenings change as we move through time, so be prepared to alter or change goals altogether. There’s no harm in going back to the drawing board every so often as needed and tweaking goals to reflect where you’re at in your life and work. Plus, learning to pivot and adapt to change is an incredibly useful leadership skill.
As we enter a new year, having actionable goals in your back pocket to work towards will allow you to create forward movement and momentum that will better your professional skills and place you in a position to grow. Happy goal setting!
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