Goal Setting: Keeping it Real & Fun in 2017

Jordan Smythe on January 12, 2017

We have entered another year and most of us have made very ambitious New Year’s resolutions that may, or may not, come to fruition. Your goal may be learning a new language, launching a new website, making a big sale, or buying a house by the end of the year. But how will you reach your goals? And what can you learn from years past?

After being a notorious offender when it comes to not planning for success on a few New Year’s resolutions, I have learned two principles for goal-setting: keep it real, and keep it fun.

Keeping it real means setting actionable goals. The goal has to be something that can actually be achieved, that you are in control of, and, I personally believe, that should represent a general change (although some people might disagree with me here). Now you might say, “how can you keep it real if your goal is just a general change that has no metric to measure its overall success?” Well I think the best way to do that is to illustrate it with an example using one of my own personal goals: weight loss.

I just want to lose some weight and get healthier, and I believe setting a lofty goal like “lose 30 pounds by the end of the year” may not allow me to sustain that goal after achieving it and have a healthy lifestyle going forward. To keep it real, I've set smaller winnable goals that will progress towards the overall goal of weight loss. These winnable goals are: four trips to the gym per week and one salad per day.

Each of these addresses some of the biggest challenges I have had in the past, when trying to lose weight, and they provide a more measurable way to work towards the overarching goal. The additional bonus to this method is that regardless of if you have a defined goal, or not, the overall goal can be made to seem less daunting and more realistic. By only concentrating on if you won the smaller winnable goals, you can track your way to success by having smaller wins along the way.

This same idea can be used in your work life no matter what your job description is. If you set smaller achievable goals like 5% efficiency increase in navigating the point of sale system, or spending one more hour a week sitting down with your employees to hear their views. By making large goals more actionable through smaller, measurable goals, we can all work towards effectively completing our resolutions this year.

Now you might be thinking at this point, “wow Jordan, that was some great advice and now I'm looking forward to my success this year,” but if you're anything like me, you know that that this will not be enough. One of the biggest setbacks I've experienced, and heard from others, is procrastination and being discouraged by not seeing immediate results. Both of these factors can seriously stunt our ability to achieve our goals, which brings us to the most important principle, keep it fun.

Keeping it fun will drive our willpower and keep us on track by essentially gamifying our goals and providing incentive to keep going because we all love that rush we feel when we are rewarded for our actions! Using my personal goal as an example, I've set up a few possible rewards for myself. If I hit winnable goal #1, I get to see a movie at the theater and, if I hit goal #2, I take myself out for a nice dinner (making sure to order that starter salad).

Again, the same goes for your work life. If you meet those smaller measurable goals that lead to success of the overarching goal, why not take yourself out for lunch one day or buy the new game you've had your eye on?

Fortunately for me, I happen to work at SPLICE which has been continually working to improve their goal metrics - we set smaller timed goals to meet the larger goal and provide incentives to employees along the way (…you may be starting to notice a trend here). And let me tell you, this method of running business projects, is certainly working. It’s surprising how engaged your employees become towards company goals, when they can set winnable goals to work towards. Being involved in tracking my personal contributions to the overall business goals generates genuine interest and makes things fun!

So why not expand our horizons? From our personal time at home to driving your business, it all boils down to creating and meeting measurable and realistic goals - and having fun along the way. So let's all enjoy this year together by keeping it real and fun. Happy 2017!

I'll leave you all to your most successful trip around the sun yet, and we'll make sure to get everything started next week… right?