Goal Setting Strategies for the New Year

I’ve always enjoyed setting goals but attending a Franklin Planner seminar a while back really ignited my passion for it.  This company offered a training after purchasing one of their high quality planners which taught me the ABC system of prioritizing.  This and many other strategies have helped me to stay organized and to remain focused on my goals throughout life.  If you need help setting goals or staying on track to achieve them, the following tips might help.

1) “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” – Unknown 
I am a BIG believer in visualizing goals.  Writing down your goals is the first step to achieving them. It sets the ball in motion and increases your level of commitment.  If you prefer to use a goal setting app (and there are plenty to choose from) on your Smartphone, I think that’s important to also write your goals on paper and hang them somewhere where you can see them daily.  That way, you can review them often, reminding you of what you want to accomplish.   

2) Place an object related to your goals in plain sight.
Another suggestion is to place an object as a visual reminder of your goal(s) in your workspace.  When I was starting my business, I hung a picture of a penguin in my office to remind me of my vision.  If you want to buy real estate, put a miniature house on your desk.  If you want to change careers to become a nurse, put a box of bandages near your keyboard or on your nightstand.  I recommend doing this in addition to writing down your goal (s), but the object might command your attention more or remind you of your goal on a daily basis.

3) Create an action plan with a timeline.
 “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” Greg S. Reid

Once you know your ultimate goal, or your “end in mind” as Covey explains in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, it’s easier to determine the action steps required to get there.  A goal such as securing a new job requires many steps to achieve it.

Also, attach deadline dates to your action plan.  Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  Consider purchasing a twelve-month calendar for longer-term goals and writing deadlines directly onto it.  Example from SBDC Social Media webinar.

4) Test your goals against the SMART system.
Many organizations and people use the SMART system for goal setting. To ensure that your goals are clear and reachable, test your goals using this acronym:  Goals should be:

Specific:  Goal must be clear and well defined.  Your goals need to show you the way.

Measureable:  Include precise amounts, dates, etc… so you can measure degree of success.

Attainable:  Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals that you’ve set.

Relevant:  Goals should be relevant to the direction that you want your life and career to take.

Time bound:  Include a deadline which creates a sense of urgency and quicker achievement.

5) Prioritize your daily tasks to stay focused.
This is the ABC system that I mentioned earlier.  When you make your to do list whether written or on your phone, assign each task with a priority.  I use A for “has to get done”, B for “would be nice to get done”, and “C” for “okay if this doesn’t get done”.  Whatever system you use, it’s important to prioritize your tasks to ensure that you are completing the action steps that will move you towards achieving your main goal.   

6) Share your goals with someone or even better…  Find an accountability partner.
When you share your goals with friends and family, you feel more committed to achieving them and you might get a better idea of what you want to do.  Find someone who will check in with you on a regular basis, weekly if possible, to see how you are progressing.

This is one of the benefits of working with a Career Coach.  Having someone who will help you identify your goals, create benchmarks to get there, and hold you accountable.  If you know of someone who needs assistance with career transition or with job search strategy, please have them contact gina@

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”  Zig Ziglar