nook desk claire diazortiz

Interested in setting goals? Every December, Michael Hyatt opens up his popular course, Best Year Ever. I highly recommend it. Watch three FREE videos from him about goal-setting here.

New year, new goals.

My inbox seems full of folks talking about what they want to accomplish in 2014. How to decide what they want to achieve, how to set annual goals, and how to make themselves actually reach them.

If you’ve been around these blog parts for awhile, you’ve heard me say before that goals must be actionable in order to work. Good goals must also have a timeline, or deadline. (The “line” at which said aim is “dead”, if you will.) I didn’t come up with this stuff, and instead I draw most of it from a certain smart guy (Paul Meyer) who is known for coming up with a great way to think about goals.

It’s called a SMART goal, and you’re not aware of the concept, let’s review.

A SMART goal, as defined by Meyer’s productivity tome Attitude is Everything (a quick 144-page read for just $2.99 on Kindle), fits the following criteria:

Specific: A specific goal is specific. Simple enough? In 2013, I set a goal to read 200 books. I did not say, “I want to read books” or “I want to read a lot of books”. I said a number. 200. (And I exceeded it!) In 2014, I’ll be setting another specific number for the books I want to read (more on that number and how I chose it below.)

Measurable: Choose goals you can count progress against. For my reading goal, I can count that easily to tell if I’m ahead or behind. If it is May 1 and I’ve read one book, I know I am behind. If it is May and I have read 120 already, I am ahead. Although measurable goals don’t need numbers attached, they need a yardstick you can work against. They should not be things that will randomly be either done or not done come December 31.

Actionable: Actionable goals tell you (or at least strongly hint at) what needs to happen next. To read those books, I better fire up my Kindle. Do you have a goal to expand your business? You’ve got to turn off Duck Dynasty and get cracking.

Relevant: Make sure that your goals are relevant to the particular season of life you are in. In early 2014, I’ll be having a baby. This means that I do not think that I should set a goal to read 200 books in 2014, and I’m instead dropping that to 150. (I hear babies keep you busy, y’all!)

Timely: Goals must be timely.  Going along with the baby line of thinking, if I have a goal to have at least one reunion with my college roommates (I set this goal every year, and luckily it’s a fun one to cross off), I should not plan for that to happen in the Spring, when my babe will be making its grand appearance.

Got it?

Now go ahead and clear off some time on your calendar to go and set those 2014 goals. Get a comfy chair, a fully charged laptop (or blank Moleskine notebook and fancy pen), and get writing. The image above is the lovely desk I set my 2013 goals at;)

And, for fun, give me a preview. What’s one of your 2014 goals?

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