Creating and Managing Your Goals Like a Pro in the New Year

Statistically speaking, most New Year’s resolutions—both for personal and business—only last a month or two, even when we have the best intentions to keep them going strong well into the year.

So how do we fix that? Well, here are a few tips to help set and actually achieve realistic goals for yourself and your business in 2018:

Tip #1: Create S.M.A.R.T. goals (and ditch the dumb resolutions).


OK, OK. Not all resolutions are dumb. BUT, they are if you drop them—which often happens within the first couple of weeks of the new year. But why is it SO hard for us to keep our resolutions? Well, I believe it’s because of how they’re structured. Most resolutions are designed to give something up cold turkey or to take on something brand-new, which can honestly be really intimidating.

That’s where S.M.A.R.T. goals come into play. So let’s break down what this means. S.M.A.R.T. stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

  • So first, your goals should be SPECIFIC. Right off the bat, you should know exactly what you want to accomplish. With that, you’ll want to be able to answer why these goals matter to your business, who will be involved in the process, when each piece will be completed and more. So for example, you might start by saying: “My goal is to increase the number of visits to my website.” From there, you’ll be able to identify the remaining elements.
  • Next, you’ll want your goals to be MEASURABLE. This is where numbers are helpful. Think about starting and ending numbers, percent increases, etc. Here, you might say “My goal is to increase the number of visits to my website by 70%, starting at 1,000 and ending at 1,700.”
  • After that, ensure that your goals are ATTAINABLE. Look at historical benchmarks, current workload, upcoming projects, etc. to determine whether or not these goals are actually within reach.
  • Then, make sure your goals are RELEVANT. There’s no point in having goals unless they directly align with your overall business plan.
  • The last part of S.M.A.R.T. goals is making them TIMELY. Set a date for achieving them. Something like “My goal is to increase the number of visits to my website by 70%, starting at 1,000 and ending at 1,700, by May 31, 2018.”

Tip #2: Plan for some buffer.

So great—you’ve created S.M.A.R.T. goals. Now it’s time to throw a wrench in all that! What kind of wrench, you might ask? Well, a wrench I like to call “life”. The reality is: life happens. No matter how much we plan, there are ALWAYS things that come up and get in the way. Whether it’s an out-of-state conference that spans over a few days, changes in personnel that require immediate attention, or any other sudden fires that needs to be put out, it’s crucial that we build in time to accommodate for all those things life puts on our plates. That way, if you’re ahead of schedule—great! If you’re behind, you should still be on track.

Tip #3: Implement habits around your goals.

Woman Creating Habits At Computer Screen

The best way to ensure that you’ll spend time on your goals is to create habits that help continually keep up with each effort. Some examples might be carving out three hours of do-not-disturb time on Friday afternoons to dedicate to these goals; spending an hour every Monday morning to check for hurdles that may be in the way of achieving your goals; etc. Once you’re in the habit of it, it will become part of your routine.

Tip #4: Don’t let new ideas derail your main goals.

Keep your eye on the prize and don’t let any new ideas cause disruptions in your overall plan. Whether it’s the low-hanging fruit or the ones higher up, don’t get distracted by pretty leaves or squirrels on the same tree that may try to distract you.

Tip #5: Treat yo’self!

Gift next to laptop on desk

One thing I think we often forget to do at work is to celebrate our accomplishments. Much of the time, it feels like since it’s our jobs to get it done in the first place, we shouldn’t have to do anything special to reward ourselves for progress made. But the reality is, it motivates us to continue pushing ourselves! So don’t forget to reward yourself and your team. Throw a pizza party after meeting a benchmark; write thank-you notes to your team; treat everyone to coffee after a successful meeting; reward your team after meeting a big milestone with something that will benefit everyone long-term, like a kegerator or ping-pong table. The possibilities are endless, and remember: they don’t all have to cost money!

So, with all that in mind, now you can start 2018 off on the right foot for your business using these useful tips—not just for setting goals, but also accomplishing goals for the upcoming year. Put these tips to the test and watch your team’s motivation sky-rocket, your company morale improve, and your ambitious goals get met.

For more helpful tips from your friends at Designzillas, visit our blog or stay tuned for the next Zilla Cast episode coming your way soon. Thanks for reading and stay ferocious!

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blog author


Danielle Irigoyen

Always armed with a chai tea latte, Designzillas' Marketing Lead—Danielle—has strategy, prioritization and goal-based decision-making down to a science. 

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