I’m not a New Year’s resolution practitioner, but what I do like to do at the end of the year/beginning of a new year is to think about my goals. Goal setting is a best practice for all professionals and especially those who are looking to make personal and professional advances. What you have to keep in mind is that you are much more likely to succeed if you set goals rather than just taking your career and life in general as it comes.
As you think about your goals from the previous year, I suggest that you perform a critical analysis of: 1) the goals you accomplished, 2) the goals you attempted, but fell short on, and 3) the goals you took no action on. In reflecting on each of these areas, the key here is to learn from what did and didn’t work. Reflecting on your vision and strategies is key to improving how you set and accomplish your goals in the future. So learn from your successes, failures, and the barriers that prevented you from taking action on certain goals. Implement what you learned from the previous year as you set goals for the New Year. It is OK to not accomplish all your goals as long as you are learning and preferably moving forward.
In goal setting, I find it important to set both big, ambitious goals in order to push yourself to develop in ways that you would not otherwise develop and to set goals that can be fairly easily accomplished. As you go through the year, accomplishing your “easy” goals will keep you motivated as you push toward accomplishing your big, ambitious goals.
Also, as a related aside, as it would be a blog post topic in itself, the best way to set goals is to use the SMART method in which SMART stands for specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound; Wikipedia has a good entry on SMART criteria if you are interested in learning more. The SMART method will keep you on track for clearly defining and accomplishing your goals in a timely manner.
How do you set goals? Do you evaluate/analyze your goals during the year or at the end/beginning of a year? Do you reflect on your successes, failures, and the barriers that prevented you from taking action? Do you use what you’ve learned over the year to improve yourself for the future? Tell me how you set and analyze your goals.
Nathan Vanderford has a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural biotechnology, an MBA with an operations management focus, and a PhD in biochemistry. You can learn more about Nathan at www.nathanvanderford.com.