We’re knee-deep into the New Year’s resolution season—the part of the year where many of us make goals for personal or professional self-improvement. Yet goal-setting itself is a learned skill, and it’s not necessarily one that comes easily to every business leader.
Ironically, you may benefit from making it your goal to set better goals! Sounds confusing, but I promise you it’s not. Allow me to share just a few quick tips and suggestions.
Learn to Set Better Goals
- Think in terms of the journey—not necessarily the destination. Let’s say what you ultimately want out of life is to have a million dollars, or for your company to innovate a groundbreaking new product. Those are fine objectives, but making those your goals still leaves you with the important question of how you’re going to attain them. It may be more helpful to set a more process-oriented goal; think in terms of habits you can form or changes you can make to your company culture that will move you in the direction of those more ultimate goals.
- Remember, your goals aren’t just about you. Setting personal goals is totally fine, of course, but sometimes it can bring about some myopia; we forget that the pursuit of our objectives has implications for the people around us. When setting a goal, always think about how it aligns with what your customers and clients want; what your team wants; and even the wishes of your family members back home.
- Don’t be afraid to acknowledge when a goal isn’t working out. It’s important to stick to your goals, but also to admit when a goal isn’t bringing you the level of satisfaction you’d hoped for. Don’t hesitate to rethink and retool some of your goals on the fly.
- Remember SMART goal-setting. I’ve mentioned this before, but it really is a helpful framework. Basically, you always want to make sure your goals are:
- Relevant (to your business or to your broader life objectives); and
- Time-sensitive, or-time-bound (in other words, with a cut-off date).
With these principles in mind, you’re ready to set some solid goals for your personal and professional life.