We all know the exercise well: You sit down in front of a blank piece of paper. Your pen is poised, ready to write down all the business you want to generate, the workplace atmosphere you want to improve, the alignment you want to create in your personal and professional lives. Six months down the road, that piece of paper is little more than a crumpled-up afterthought, and you’re frustratingly close to where you started.
So what went awry? You set the goal, right? You declared what you wanted to happen. Then, time passed, and your plan didn’t go the way you expected.
We’ve all been there! When we are willing to look at creating goals a little differently, we start to see more measurable, real-time results. The baby steps and small shifts we take start paying off, and our goals come into view as they become reality.
The Who, What, and Why of Goal-Setting
The first step to creating and meeting a long-term goal is recognizing why you’re setting the goal in the first place. This takes a certain self-awareness and vulnerability; it might also mean getting a little uncomfortable. You may reflect on all the time you spent building your career, only to recognize a desire to change course. When you are leading others, the target must also take into account the people on your team and the resources available.
Are you setting the goal because it’s something that seems achievable or even easy? Does it stretch you toward the professional life you dream for yourself? What do you want that life to be? Who do YOU want to be and will this goal genuinely align what you do with who you are?
Another element of effective goal-setting is timeliness. As we move through our daily lives and through our careers, we might find ourselves drifting away from the goal we initially set, no matter how important it felt to us at the time. Our goals have likely changed from the ones we set when we first began working- after all, it’s human nature to grow and evolve, so it’s only natural that our passions and desires do, as well. The problem? When we don’t see immediate results from our actions, keeping our relevant, long-term vision at the forefront of our efforts can be quite challenging. That’s where breaking long-term goals into manageable chunks will offer significant benefits, with tangible celebration and payoffs along the way.
BE SMART, TakeBaby Steps
At PointNorth, we work toward our big, ambitious goals by taking baby steps.
The S.M.A.R.T. Goal acronym is one strategy you can use to discover the actions you’ll need to take to make your target goal a reality.
S = Specific. A goal should be something that you can see and measure. Think, “Increase my time off from work” rather than “Have more free time.”
M = Measurable. A powerful, motivating goal can be objectively measured, ideally with a number, frequency or percentage. Let’s make our example even more clear: “Increase my time off from work by ten hours per week.”
A = Attainable. Make sure your goal is realistic given your experience and resources while stretching you to take new actions. After all, people are increasingly motivated and satisfied after reaching targets that first appeared more challenging.
R = Relevant. Why is this particular goal important to you? What new opportunities does this vision bring into view? How is it meaningful to your personal AND professional lives?
T = Time-based. Adding a time element is essential for creating a strategic plan. For example, “Increase my time off from work by ten hours per week by hiring two team members by December 2022” makes the path far more clear than “Have more free time.”
As you might notice, using SMART goals has several benefits.
- Your goal gains ultra-clarity.
- Your goal becomes much easier to break into smaller steps.
- You distance yourself from the emotional aspects of goal-setting, and your goal becomes an objective, actionable target.
- Your goal becomes a succinct statement that you can read, share, and live each day, informing the steps you take to make it a reality.
Choosing Between a Resolution and a Goal
We often look toward the New Year as a time to reflect and dream about what the year ahead might offer. Maybe we intend to be home for more family dinners, to increase our revenue by 10% or finally leave our corporate job to pursue our entrepreneurial spirit. While these types of resolutions are helpful–they can be part of our plans, direction, dreams, and decisions–they are different from detailed S.M.A.R.T. goals that require strategic action.
Reflecting on your resolutions can give you insight into what may be missing from your current vision and in what ways you can pivot to better align.
Setting goals transforms our resolutions into tangible, measurable actions.
Planning for Point North International’s 2022 Goals
As we shared in our December newsletter, PointNorth has many BIG things coming in 2022! Here’s a glimpse into how we are launching our goals for the coming year.
By the end of 2022:
- Our new website made its grand debut just last week!
- We will add at least 3 experts to our team as executive coaches and senior members.
- We will launch at least 2 new transformation and personal reinvention programs.
- We will continue to expand our GLOBAL team and serve clients AROUND THE WORLD by expanding into new geographic areas.
- We will launch a revamped membership site using an innovative new form of blended learning.
- Our book, Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! will be translated into French and Spanish for a more significant global impact.
- I will begin work on my best book (and, of course, share my creative process!)
For each of the goals outlined above, we have gathered a fantastic team with the necessary people-power, tools, and resources to make these goals come to fruition. We’ve also created a strategic plan that breaks each goal into smaller, actionable steps.
Turning resolutions into goals will help us to gain more clarity, confidence and a roadmap to give a sense of direction.
If you’re feeling as though you’re ready to make a shift toward realigning your professional life with your personal vision and all that’s missing is the roadmap? We’re here to provide it.