By now, I imagine you’ve realized that the truth is staring you in the fact: It’s a new year.

(Cue: So, what are you going to do about it?)

For me, a new year is about new goals. Whether you got a chance to do goal-setting over the holidays before 2013 actually struck — or you’re just thinking about it 3 weeks in — you’re fine. And now’s the time.

Goals, as we’ve all heard before, should be actionable, and they should have a timeline. A goal is not “I want to make a billion dollars in 2013!” (unless you made 75% of that in in 2012, of course, and a billion is actually a specific, reasonable number). A goal is something that you really can potentially achieve with a little sweat, grit, and (yes) luck thrown in.

A SMART goal, as defined by the productivity tome in Paul Meyer’s Attitude is Everything, fits the following criteria:

Specific: A specific goal is not pie-in-the-sky, it’s, well — specific. For me, I want to read 150 books in 2013 again (as I did in 2012). My goal is not “I want to read” or “I want to read dozens of books”. No. I want to read 150.

Measurable: It’s not hard to measure a measurable goal — so find a goal that you can count your progress on. I can count to 150 pretty easily. I can also count to ten, and to one. (Of the 150 books I want to read in 2013, I want to read 10 in Spanish, and 1 in Italian.) Numbers are measurable. So are other things, but you get the point.

Actionable: With an actionable goal, you know what to do next. If I want to finish my current book manuscript in 2013 (I do), then I have a nifty Word processing program called Microsoft Word I can go ahead and open up to get going. In fact, I can keep doing that every day after work for 60 minutes.

Relevant: Goals should be relevant to you and the year before you. For me, health is a current concern that sits top of mind, so setting goals about trying the 30-day Paleo Challenge (I’m on day 8), going gluten-free (up next), and how many times I exercise each week (5), are all more than relevant.

Timely: Goals must be timely.  I like writing ebooks, so my goal to publish two more in 2013 makes sense. But now I need to put a timeline on that. 2 books by when in 2013? By December? No (for me). The first one by June, the second by November.

So, go do it. (Set your goals.) And when you’re done, come back and tell me about it. 

Did you set goals for 2013? Have you ever set annual goals for yourself? Why or why not?

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