JCEP | 4-H | Youth.gov | Print Page | Sign In | Join
News & Press: The Pulse

Goal Setting for the New Year

Thursday, December 19, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Wanda McLocklin and Kasey Hall
Share |

Do you ever feel that you are aimless in your personal and/or work life? As the year comes to an end and we think about New Year’s resolutions, we are formulating goals. As Extension professionals seeking work-life balance, goal setting is an important area to consider. Often, we do not spend enough time thinking about what we want from life and setting precise goals. In our consideration of resolutions and goals, we need to be looking at what we want to do and what we want to achieve rather than what we should do or should stop doing. Many of us teach goal setting, but we do not practice what we teach. This article offers some reminders for setting and accomplishing goals.

Start with what you want to achieve and make a commitment to it. To be successful in achieving a goal, we must really want it. When you want it, you will be committed to it. Think about what you want to achieve in your career and what you want to prioritize in your personal life.

Goal setting has several benefits:
• Goals help us decide what we want to achieve over a certain time period which can be long or short term.
• Goals help us focus on what’s important and move away from things that are irrelevant or distractions.
• Goals provide motivation.
• Goals build self-confidence as you successfully reach them.

Remember the acronym for SMART goals:
S – Specific – What is the specific area that you want to improve?
M – Measurable – How can you measure your progress?
A – Attainable, Achievable, Accountable, Assignable – Can it be done? Who can help get it done?
R – Relevant, Realistic – Is it relevant or realistic for you or your organization?
T – Time Bound – What is your deadline or by when do you need to see the results?

Set your long-term career or lifetime goals first. With these goals you can then break them down into a five-year plan that will put you in a good position to ultimately achieve your career or lifetime goals. Break the five-year goals down into yearly, monthly, and weekly targets along with a daily “to do” list. Remember to check your progress by reviewing and updating your goals as needed. It is important that you write your goals down and put them where you will see them often.

“Writing things down doesn’t just help you remember, it makes your mind more efficient by helping you focus on the truly important stuff. And your goals absolutely should qualify as truly important stuff” (Murphy, 2018).

Here are 10 helpful hints as you contemplate your goals and write them down:
1. Your goals should be formatted in a positive way.
2. Be precise and specific including dates and numbers to make your goals measurable.
3. Decide which goals are the most important and prioritize them first.
4. Break large goals down into smaller ones to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
5. Set goals regarding your personal performance that you can control.
6. Expect obstacles and plan ahead for how to handle them.
7. Celebrate successes when you reach both your small and large goals.
8. Share your goals with others. It will help hold you accountable.
9. Remember it is ok to adjust your goals as needed.
10. Make sure your goals are realistic for you.

As we look forward to the New Year, start thinking today about what you want to achieve over the course of your career both professionally and personally. Make a plan of action by setting long term goals that can be broken down into smaller achievable goals. Write your goals down and share with family and co-workers for accountability. Use the SMART acronym to check your goals and make adjustments as needed. Turn your New Year’s resolutions into personal and professional goals that you are committed to reaching long after the excitement of the new year fades.

Murphy, M. (2018, April 15). Neuroscience Explains Why You Need to Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want to Achieve Them. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/#165e57d57905 .
New Year Resolutions: Planning for a Year of Achievement. (© Mind Tools Ltd, 1996-2019). Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_89.html 
Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Your Life Your Way. (© Mind Tools Ltd, 1996-2019). Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/page6.html 
The History and Evolution of Smart Goals. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.achieveit.com/resources/blog/the-history-and-evolution-of-smart-goals 

National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals
701 Exposition Place, Suite 206 | Raleigh, NC 27615 | T: (919) 232-0112 | E: nae4ha@nae4ha.com