Out With the Old Goals, In With the New

2017-1It’s that time of year again…time to review the year that is ending and plan for the new year that is about to begin. The last week of December is an excellent time to take stock of professional goals and achievements. The review begins with a few simple questions:

For 2016: Goals/Achievements

What were your top professional goals this year?

What were your greatest achievements? (list as many achievements as you like)

Which achievement are you most proud of? Why?

What was the greatest lesson you learned? In what way are you applying that learning to your career?

For 2016: Unachieved Goals

What goals did not get completed? Why?

Will any of these unachieved goals move into 2017? Where do they fit in your priorities?

For 2017: Goals

What are you most looking forward to in the new year?

What are your top goals?

What skill(s) do you want to improve or add? In what way will that skill help to advance your career?

How will you reward yourself when you achieve your goals?

Paying It Forward

In what way will you help others achieve their goals? (Will you serve as a mentor or coach? Will you help to develop an initiative for young leaders within your company?)

How will you recognize or reward others for exceptional work?

In what way will you help to create an open, supportive environment at work?

Taking the time to answer these simple questions is time well invested. By reflecting on your achievements for 2016 and focusing on goals for 2017, you will enter the new year with a fresh perspective on the work that lies ahead. If you like the process, ask these questions at the end of each quarter as you prepare for the next. By the end of 2017, you will be so used to the process, you will be ready for another new year. Who knows? In a year, you may be even further ahead in your career than you anticipated!

Achieve Your Goals With a “Reciprocal Resource”

Goals SignPeople come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes we don’t immediately recognize what the purpose is. When you look at other individuals as “reciprocal resources” (you help each other), you will be amazed at how quickly you will expand your knowledge and achieve your goals.

Think of people in your life who could become a reciprocal resource – a buddy with a purpose. For instance, one of my colleagues, Susan, is my goal-setting buddy and has been since 2000. We get together for lunch or afternoon tea at the beginning of each year and then at the end of each quarter to discuss our business and personal goals, what we have accomplished the previous quarter, and what we plan to accomplish in the next quarter. Because I am accountable to Susan and not just to myself, I am more likely to achieve greater things because I am doing it for her. I don’t want to disappoint her. She keeps me accountable and focused on the future and I do the same for her.

Over the years, we have brainstormed creative solutions, honestly evaluated each other’s business models and revised our action plans. Goals that were once part of a written plan have come into fruition because we are equal partners in each other’s success.

As you aspire to that next level in your career and in life, consider approaching someone you admire, respect and trust to become a reciprocal resource. When you are accountable to someone other than yourself, you will achieve great things.