With the New Year come and gone, many people made resolutions they’ve vowed to stick to for 2011. Perhaps you would like to beef up your online presence by revamping your current website. Or maybe you’re looking to add several new clients in the coming months. Whatever your goal (or goals) for the New Year are, they’re likely pretty important to you.
So how can you achieve what you’ve set out to do?
To make a goal achievable, you need to clearly define your target or end result. Specifics are key! A vague goal is hard to achieve. It also needs to be a big enough goal to keep your motivation up throughout the process. Start out with a clear direction and focus for your objective. An easy way to define specifics is to think of the 5 W’s (and H):
- Who: Who will be involved?
- What: What am I looking to accomplish?
- Where: Identify a location for your goal.
- When: What is the time frame for my goal?
- Why: What is the purpose of the goal? What are the benefits if I accomplish it?
- How: What are the means for accomplishing the goal?
Make it measurable
How will you determine if you’ve achieved your goal? Even if it’s a tough thing to measure, you need to make your goal measurable in some way. For example, a goal of weight loss can be measured by pounds and inches lost from your body. However, other goals are less quantifiable. For goals that are tough to measure, develop a ranking system in order to keep track of progress. Make adjustments if you realize something is not working.
Focus on actions
To keep yourself on track, develop a plan of action for achieving your goal. At first, a general outline is adequate. As you start making changes to achieve your goal, make your plan very specific to continue pushing yourself toward the end result.
Your goal needs to be something that is possible to achieve. All too often, people put unnecessary amounts of pressure on themselves to make drastic changes in the New Year. A goal can always evolve once you’ve achieved the initial result. It also needs to be something that’s in your control!
Stick to a time-bound schedule
Deadlines are important—after all, how often would something be put off (or not be finished at all) if it didn’t have a deadline? Achieving a goal can become almost impossible if you do not put a end date on it. You’ll find yourself putting it off or making excuses instead of pushing toward positive change.
What are your goals for the coming year?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.