Year end is here… Are you prepared for a new one???

5 ways to transform your year end planning and new year’s resolutions into goals. But more importunately into a reality.


Now is the time when people do some year-end planning and begin to think about and set New Year’s Resolutions.   However, I am not a big fan of most New Year’s Resolutions and here’s why:

  • There is typically no accountability.
  • They are rarely specific.
  • They are too easy to break.
  • They lack focus and clarity.
  • They typically don’t have timeframes and measurable milestones.

You can use this time of year to set specific goals for how you want the upcoming year to look. There is a process to set goals, and it is one that I have used for years. This is something that I have coached both individuals and large firms alike.

To help transform your resolutions into goals involves five easy steps and it doesn’t take a lot of time. However, these simple steps will help turn those non-specific resolutions into winning goals that are measurable, trackable, and most importantly result oriented.

  1. Make the goal specific.

Many New Year’s Resolutions are not specific. They are too general. Examples include:

  • Lose weight;
  • Be a better spouse or parent;
  • Be a better leader.

The challenge with these is that there is no specific target to hit. Here are some ways to make the above goals specific:

  • Lose 15 pounds;
  • Plan specific days to spend alone with your spouse;
  • Build a hobby with your children that you do on a consistent basis.

Read one leadership book a quarter. (Start with Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, if you haven’t read it yet)

  1. Create goals that are measurable.

As with the initial examples above, there is really no way to measure certain characteristics, like “more” or “better”. What does it mean to be a better leader? A better spouse? A better parent, etc.? How can you measure that? Again, it’s next to impossible.

On the other hand, 15 pounds is something that is specific and measurable. You know when you’ve lost it, and when you haven’t. You can check on your progress along the way. You can also measure if you’ve read a book quarterly dealing with leadership. That is something tangible that you can look at and know that you’ve accomplished (or haven’t).

  1. Make sure the goals are attainable.

Often when resolutions are made, they are not attainable. There are two reasons for this: One is that not enough time is given to be able to achieve the desired results, as in losing weight. Two, many times, when setting goals, people are over-zealous for what they can achieve. Then, when they fail, they get discouraged and may give up on the process of goal-setting.

Planning out bite-sized steps to achieve each goal can be helpful. Creating a plan of action around each goal will help assure that each small step is completed on your way to completing the big goal!

  1. Add some risk to each goal.

While you want goals that are measurable and attainable, I like to encourage people to put a little risk in the goals. There is a fine line here between risky goals and ones that are a bit too much. However, I tend to err on the side of adventurous goals that will excite.

When setting goals, in addition to having specific and measurable goals, add something to strive for in addition to the actual goal. For example, instead of just a goal of getting in shape or losing weight, add in the twist of making it publicly known. So people will call you out if you are eating junk food.

  1. Make each goal time-sensitive.

Set an end date for each goal. Have a time frame that you will work with. For example, a specific financial goal. Set a time frame: Break it down to quarterly, monthly and weekly milestones. Measure your activity that creates the revenue daily. This way, if your activity begins to lag, you recognize it within a week and not after half the year is gone.

Having an indefinite goal for every day of the week more often than not is unattainable. Breaking the goal down into smaller segments can help to create more attainable wins as you look to accomplish bigger goals. Remember, goals are different than habits, but can be a great kick-start to formulating new habits.

Side notes;

Partner with someone for accountability.

Setting goals is great. However, being able to set them with someone and help keep each other accountable is a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of staying on track.

Pair up with someone to help you reach your professional goals. Two are better than one!

Celebrate small and big victories alike.

As you complete action steps and each of your goals, take time to celebrate! This will boost your motivation and help you keep going. Decide ahead of time how and when you will celebrate your wins.

What other steps do you use to transform your goals? What goals have you set for this year?

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