Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Yet By Setting SMART Goals
The New Year is upon us – out with 2017 and in with 2018! Often during this time of the year, we look back and reflect upon what kind of a year we had: the friends we made, the new job we got, the big life events we had, the goals we achieved, the New Years’ resolutions we stuck with or lacked. The good, the bad and the ugly, we remember it all. Is 2017 everything you hoped it would be?
Whether 2017 rocked your world or could have been better, there are things you can do now to ensure your 2018 is one for the books. Believe it or not, it all starts with goal setting.
Now, you might be thinking you have no idea what kinds of goals you want to set for yourself and you don’t know how to ensure you follow through with them. But fret not, you aren’t alone!
It’s common to have goals, but if you don’t have a plan to achieve them, you might as well forget about your goals. Having a plan is one of the best, most reliable ways to achieve your goals. When setting a goal, ensure it is a SMART goal. SMART goals are a way to ensure you can achieve your goals. A SMART goal is:
The idea of setting a specific goal is so that you can see results. If you say your goal is to save money, that’s great, but how are you going to do that? Instead, set your goal as something specific. For example:
In 2018, I am going to save money by:
- Setting up automatic transfers on payday for $100 into a high interest savings account
- Setting up automatic rounding when I pay with debit so that each transaction contributes to my goal (for example, if the total is $49.12, the automatic setup will round up to $50 and deposit $0.88 into my high interest savings account)
- Reduce the number of coffees I buy per week to one and make more at home
- Plan activities ahead of time to get the reduced or discounted prices (for example, CAA has discounts on Cineplex tickets)
In order for you to be able to track your progress on your goals, you should set measurable goals. This means you should include a benchmark to compare your result to. At anytime throughout the year, you should be able to gauge your progress towards your goals. For instance,
In 2018, I want to lose weight by:
- Setting a weekly challenge of half a pound per week
- Or losing a percentage less of body fat per week
When defining goals, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. For example:
In 2018, I’m going to increase my math mark by 4% so I can apply for my Masters’ by:
- Setting a concrete study schedule and sticking to it
- Going to the professor’s office hours for extra help when I need
- Attending study groups on a weekly basis
Similar to setting achievable goals, make sure your goals are achievable and you can do them within your own capacity, resources and ability. Try this:
In 2018, I’m going to get a new job I’m happy with by:
- Applying to at least one new job I’m interested in each week
- Attending job fairs
- Updating my resume and LinkedIn on a regular basis
- Checking JobMinders.com daily for new jobs and blogs
And last but not least, your 2018 goals should be timely. You want to give yourself something to look forward to completing this year, and not in 15 years. Long-term goals are good, too, but if you’re new to goal setting, try short-term goals first. For example:
In 2018, I will read a new book each month by:
- Joining a book club that reads and reviews books on a regular basis (one a week or once every two weeks)
- Buy a Kindle to read on the bus to work
- Transform the office into a reading nook to encourage reading
SMART goals will help you achieve your goals and be more productive than you ever have been. Buy yourself a personal agenda or notebook and track your progress on your calendar. You never know, you might even surprise yourself with all of the motivation you have!
Happy New Year and happy SMART goal setting!
Author: Amy Richardson, Contributor