this really is consulting 101 stuff here, but it’s also important to point out since it’s the new year and people are undoubtedly going to make resolutions that they end up giving up on in the end. listen up, because this is important…

when you set goals, you want to make them SMART:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • attainable
  • relevant
  • time-bound*

example of a really bad goal: “lose weight this year.” first of all, losing weight is a stupid goal to begin with. most people don’t realize that muscle weighs more than fat does, and working out might cause you to actually gain weight. you should be looking for a better resolution.

example of a really good goal: “run in four 5k events for charity this year.” it’s specific, not just a random notion of weight loss. it’s measurable because you can mark off events as the days pass through the year; make it one run each quarter. it’s certainly attainable. asking yourself to run 4 marathons might not be, but a 5k is much more manageable and takes less time to train to. it’s not an ‘always on’ kind of goal and allows yourself some wiggle room. it’s relevant because your overall mission is to be healthier. your soul will feel better too because you’re doing it all for charity. and that asterisk i placed above is the most important for making goals… although i don’t necessarily see it in the same way as the textbooks do. instead of time-bound i say to make that T in SMART stand for_‘tell everybody you know’_. telling other people puts that goal up-front and center. you can’t hide from it because you just might have someone say to you in june, “hey, i thought you were running those 5k things. what happened to that?”

so when it comes down to business, are you making SMART goals for your organization? for yourself? for your career?

it’s a new year, and there are no excuses. come up with smart goals, write them down, and make sure you’re taking steps towards getting them every day. start with something specific, measure your progress, make sure it’s feasible, ensure that it’s in keeping with your overall mission, and tell everybody about it. you haven’t failed in the past because you weren’t good enough; it’s because you weren’t reaching for the right goals.