Everyone has off days. It’s not always easy to believe in yourself. But a new year offers an opportunity for a fresh start. If you’ve lost your way in your career, it’s time to find a new direction. And a set of SMART objectives could be just the solution.

If you want to achieve the most from the year, you need to set SMART objectives. They need to be ambitious, and they need to be credible. By making them SMART, you will be able to achieve all you set out to do.

Specific

Think carefully about what, specifically, you need to achieve. Avoid making your goals vague. Broad statements such as ‘I want to progress my career’ or ‘I want to do more interesting work’ will get you nowhere. Consider what progression you want. Do you want to be promoted to your boss’s job? Are there other vacancies that you’re aware of? Do you need to look externally to progress your career? In which case, be specific about the new role you want. Similarly, if it’s more interesting work you want, you need to first identify what you find interesting. You’d then need to focus your attention on getting a job that encompasses that activity.

Measurable

You need to have a way of gauging how you’re doing. When you obtain a new job, the measure is quite straightforward. For different objectives, such as achieving a better work-life balance, your measurable target would need to be something like ‘I will spend at least an hour every evening with family and will leave work at X time every day in time to achieve that.’

Achievable

Obviously, there’s little point in setting out to achieve the unachievable! However much you love your family, setting an objective to spend eight hours a day with them is probably unachievable.

Realistic

Ask yourself whether the target you’ve set is realistic. If you know that every Monday there’s a team meeting that lasts until late into the evening, there’s no point setting a goal for yourself to spen an hour every evening with your family.

Timebound

Give yourself a time in which to achieve your goal. If you don’t set a date by which you will achieve your objective, it will just drift and, before you know it, another year will have passed by.

SMART targets are a great way of setting yourself targets for the year, month, or even the week. If it’s for the year, give yourself the best chance of success by breaking up your SMART objectives into smaller, more manageable parts. Working to quarters can be motivating. Twelve weeks feels like a manageable amount of time, but it’s still long enough for you to complete significant projects.

Setting yourself SMART targets is the best chance you’ll have at realizing those New Year resolutions. As recognised by life-coach Tony Robbins: “setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

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