As we embrace the possibilities of a brand-new year, we often set ambitious goals for ourselves in our personal lives. Whether this is the year we’re finally going to lose 10 pounds, hit the gym or make a budget (and stick to it) … we know the drill when it comes to personal resolutions well.
But what about our professional work-self resolutions?
While we don’t have data to show what percent of people set professional- self related resolutions, we have learned that the outcomes of New Year’s Resolutions regardless of flavour tend to be the same. Did you know that 91% of all resolutions that are set fail, and 43% of people give up on their resolutions before the end of January?
While shocking, we can say that we’re not surprised. At the end of the day, a resolution is a goal by another name, and we tend to struggle with not only setting goals, but also making them stick.
Here are some tips to help set you on the path ensuring your goals don't just survive January, but thrive throughout the year:
- Define Clear Objectives and Make them Challenging: Clearly articulate your BHAG! Having a Big Hairy Audacious Goal may sound scary to start, but research shows that when you not only set a goal, but also make it challenging, you’re more likely to meet it. You will want to follow best practice and make it SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound).
- Create an Actionable Plan: Break down your BHAG (objective) into smaller bite sized key results (that when you meet them, will have you this much closer to your big one) and define some actions that you will need to take to achieve them. Going through this rigor creates commitment around the goal, as we tend to be more attached to outcomes when we put in work towards them (in other words, leverage the bias known as the IKEA bias to your benefit).
- Make it visible: Why go through the effort of creating something if you aren’t going to show it off? We don’t want your carefully crafted SMART goals just turning into wallpaper, but we know that when we make something visible (to us and others) it increases our accountability to it, increases our confidence and makes it more likely that we will succeed.
- Regularly Assess and Adjust: Regularly review your progress and be willing to adapt. If something isn't working, adjust your strategy or reprioritize. Flexibility is key to navigating the ever-changing landscapes we live within.
This can also easily be extended for the higher-level organization goal setting and strategic alignment work. If you’re not already using them, we recommend considering using OKRs (objectives and key results).
OKRs are a structured approach to goal setting made popular by John Doerr and his work at Intel and Google. OKRs are immensely helpful in promoting focus, accountability, and agility within organizations. In a sense, they can be thought of as the SMART goals on steroids.
Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about OKRs or would like us to help your team out in getting these in place and setting you up for a prosperous and goal-crushing year ahead in 2024!