Seven Tips for Setting Professional and Personal Goals In 2017

What do you want to accomplish in 2017, professionally and personally?  If you’ve ever thought about setting goals for yourself but just never got around to doing it, maybe 2017 is the time to start. Many accomplished people attribute their success to goal setting and follow-through.  According to Will Meek, Ph.D. in Psychology Today, setting a specific goal makes us more likely to achieve the things we want.  Here are seven tips to help you set effective professional and personal goals:

#1:  Write down your goals.  It’s not enough to have them in your head.  It’s not even enough to tell other people about them.  To set attainable goals, you should commit them to writing. You don’t have to show the goals you’ve written to anyone if you don’t want to.  You just have to put them down on paper or a computer screen.

#2: As this article in Success points out, it’s important to take some time to be quiet and evaluate and reflect. Don’t set your goals in the rush of everyday life. Take some time to quietly consider what’s important to you, what you’re passionate about, and what you’d like to achieve.

#3: Phil La Duke in Entrepreneur says to make sure your goals reflect your values.  Ideally, your professional goals should support your personal goals. Think about what your values are and how your goals can align with those values.

#4:  Set goals that are realistic and achievable, but don’t be afraid to think big. Set yourself up for success, but be sure to stretch yourself a little with the goals you set.

#5:  The goals you set should be measurable and have a timeframe attached to them.  Otherwise, how will you know if you reached them?  For example, let’s say one of your personal goals is to lose weight.  Write the goal as, “Lose 15 pounds by June 1.” Or, if your professional goal is to gain more clients, write the goal as, “Sign ten new clients within three months.”

#6: Have an action plan for each goal.  This is where you can break down your timeframe into smaller steps and increments toward achieving the ultimate goal.  For example, if your personal goal is to “Lose 15 pounds by June 1,” your action plan can detail your exercise plan, menu plan, and timeframes for losing two, five, ten, and ultimately 15 pounds.  If your professional goal is to “Sign ten new clients within three months,” your action plan can detail your networking plan, your marketing plan, and your timeframes for adding two, five, eight, and ultimately ten new clients.

#7:  Build in rewards.  Besides the sense of accomplishment that you’ll feel from attaining your goals, having a reward at the end will help keep you motivated.  Write down the reward along with your goals and action plan.  Your reward can be something as simple as a celebratory dinner or as extravagant as a trip or a significant new purchase.

In addition to helping us achieve the things we want, striving for goals also makes us happier, even if we don’t reach them.  If goal setting can help you attain more of what you want and be happier in the process, what are you waiting for?  Grab a pen and a piece of paper, and start writing your professional and personal goals for 2017.