January is a great month for setting yourself targets for the year ahead. Often, it’s not just about the calendar year, as these actions can often lay the foundations for the longer-term future. Goal setting allows you to set the direction of your life and work; it also provides a barometer for determining whether you are progressing or succeeding.
There are five simple rules you should follow when setting goals, if you want them to be successful.
Rule Number 1 – Set goals that motivate
Make sure your goals are really important to you and that there is value in achieving them. If you’re not interested enough in the outcome, then the chances of you putting in the time to achieve them are small.
Rule Number 2 – Put your goals in writing
Writing down your goals makes them real and tangible. Frame the statement positively so it’s about what you ‘will’ do rather than what you’ll ‘try to do.’
If you want to improve employee retention, state “I’ll retain all employees in the next quarter”, rather than “I’ll reduce employee turnover.”
Post your goals somewhere visible so you and others can see them.
Rule Number 3 – Tell someone else
Sharing your goals with others can help you maintain focus. Ask them to check on you and how you’re progressing, be accountable to someone other than yourself.
Rule Number 4 – Set SMART goals
You’ll probably have heard this one before, but make goals are really Specific. Ensuring they have some Measures attached and that they are Achievable and Relevant is vital to success. The final attribute is making them Timebound, create a sense of urgency to drive you on to achievement.
Rule Number 5 – Make an Action Plan
All goals need to be supported by an action plan which outlines the steps and milestones along the way. You can cross the steps off as you complete them, ensuring you remain motivated to achieve that overarching goal.
So, goal setting is much more than wishing and hoping you’ll achieve something. Follow the Golden Rules of Goals Setting and you’ve a much higher chance of achievement.
By Sue Alderson, Director, Azure Consulting