Photo Credit: Estée Janssens,

New Year’s is a popular time for people to commit to making changes in their life, but any time of the year’s a great opportunity to set new goals.

Goal setting’s a technique used by people in leadership roles to enhance their performance and continue their professional growth. Goal setting provides you with the ability to keep your long-term vision in mind, and build short-term motivation along the way.

It helps you focus and organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life. It may seem simple to some, but not everyone understands how to set goals for themselves.

Here are a few tips to help you accomplish the things you set for yourself in the new year:

Goal Types

It’s important to understand that there are different types of goals. One way to define goals is in terms of length. We may have some goals we strive to accomplish over a lifetime, and some we want to complete within the next few weeks.

  • Short-Term Goals: Goals with a target date of less than three months
  • Mid-Term Goals: Goals with a target date of less than six months
  • Long-Term Goals: Goals with a target date of 12 months or longer

No matter the length of time you give yourself to accomplish your goals, each step along the way should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

This guide to setting objectives is also referred to as setting SMART goals.


Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.

The letters in the mnemonic acronym stand for the following directives:


You need to define your desired outcome. An example of a specific goal could be, “I want to obtain my Hogan Assessment Certification by the end of 2018 and leave my corporate job to start my coaching business.”


Your desired outcome must have definite criteria for its success. One way you might measure your goal of building the skills to become head of marketing would be determining that you’ll have enrolled and completed the necessary training and gained the relevant experience within the next few years.


In the beginning, while setting your goal, you may reflect on whether developing the skills required to become head of marketing is achievable. Are the necessary resources available to you? Is it affordable?


You might want to build the skills to become head of marketing, but is it the right time to enroll in the required training, or work toward additional qualifications? If you and your spouse want to start a family this year, would completing training in your free time conflict with your family goals?


You’ll need to develop a timeline for accomplishing your goals. Think about how long it will take you to acquire these skills and whatever else is needed. It’s important to give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieve the end goal.

Setting goals for short, mid and long-term time frames, and using the SMART goal process, is an effective way to provide clarity, focus, and motivation to achieve your goals.

Of course, you can complete goal setting by yourself, but you can create accountability by sharing your goals with a loved one or coach as an extra way to ensure your success.

 Photo Credit: Estée Janssens,