Guide to Goal Setting for the New Year

As the calendar turns to a new year, millions of business professionals create new personal and organizational goals to strive for during the next 12 months. However, though many pursue new goals, few actually achieve them. According to a study, around 50% of people create resolutions for the new year, yet only 8% are successful in achieving their annual goals. With such a high failure rate, it begs the question: How do you create the right goals for an organization that are attainable yet still push the envelope? From evaluation methods to goal-setting techniques to a change in perspective, there are specific procedures to use that will help you create not only the right goals for you and your team, but also establish the best plan of action to ensure by this time next year, you’ll be celebrating 12 months of success. 

Evaluate the Past Before Creating Goals 

Before you create the right goals for this year, it’s important to look back on the past 12 months and acknowledge successes and shortcomings. What goals did you have for this past year? Did you come close to achieving those goals or did you have to reevaluate what success looked like in 2023? By looking at what went right and what went wrong, as well as how your company overcame obstacles and changed your perspective on what success looked like, you will be better fit to start creating goals for 2024. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes it’s alright to write down your goals in pencil instead of ink. 

Be S.M.A.R.T. 

One of the most effective forms of goal setting is the S.M.A.R.T. technique. If you are new to this, it’s extremely simple. When creating goals for this year, ask yourself if each goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. The goal needs to be clearly defined as to what exactly you want to achieve. It also needs to be measurable, so you will know you are on track to achieve your goal. While it needs to be attainable and realistic, it also needs to be relevant to your organization and strategies. And most importantly, it needs to have time constraints to ensure your organization has a finish line to strive for. Otherwise, procrastination and lack of motivation could hinder your overall success. 

Focus on Input and Output Goals 

One of the most long-term, behavior-changing goal-setting techniques is using the Input/Output method. Within an organization, goals have the tendency to become complicated and confusing on the day-to-day level. However, changing the focus can help your smaller goals (input) feed into the larger goals (output) of the company. Input goals are basically behavioral goals that help the person or team work toward a results-driven, big-picture achievement—or an output goal. Having the right output goals for your company helps your employees create effective input goals in order for overall organizational success. When employees struggle to see how they can impact the overall goal of the business, it can cause morale issues, as well as drive down employee engagement. When creating output goals for this year, consider brainstorming with your team to have them buy into the vision for the new year. Then, help your team develop input goals, which will help them work toward big-picture success. 

Eliminate Your Goals 

Best-selling author James Clear explains that one of the biggest struggles individuals have when creating goals that are attainable and accomplishing those goals is the simple fact that most people create too many goals. While it may seem that the more goals you have, the more proactive and successful you can be, this simply isn’t the case. When faced with too many tasks or goals, most people have the propensity to develop analysis paralysis and struggle with accomplishing most of the plans. 

Instead, eliminate goals that aren’t as important as other ones. Cast a clear and concise vision on your year and what you want to accomplish in the most pure and simple form. For some, this may not work with their organizational structure, so if you can’t eliminate goals, then compartmentalize them by quarter. In this case, focus on as few goals as possible at a time. Once you cross off that goal, move on to the next, while always keeping an eye on the most important tasks at hand. 

What type of goal-setting techniques does your organization use? How do you create the best annual goals for your company? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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