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Whether or not you’re a believer in New Year’s resolutions, everyone can benefit from some goal planning as we prepare to step into 2017. But rather than setting yourself goals that are unrealistic (like avoiding stress), uninspiring (like joining a gym), and easily forgotten (like getting organized), here are our favorite tips to help you plan out your most powerful year yet!

Goal Planning for Personal and Business Success

In business, setting actionable and measurable goals is how companies track their growth and success. On a personal level, those same goal setting principles help people set their intentions and achieve their dreams.

Many people have a general idea of where they are looking to take their business or their personal lives, but without a clearly defined target, how can you hit the mark? That’s why goal planning is so important. It helps you identify and define your expectations, then plan the path to achievement. Careful goal setting and planning are the key to achieving thoughtful results.

While everyone can set powerful goals that will greatly influence their chances for success, you might not know how to set goals that work for you. Here are some tips from industry and leadership experts that can help get your goal planning on track.

Expert Tips for Effective Goal Setting

1. Set SMART goals

If you’ve done any research into the discipline of goal planning, you’ll come across the SMART acronym. According to best selling author, Brian Tracy, SMART goals are ones which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

  • Specific – Making sure your goals are specific helps you understand what your intention is. Specific goals are clearly defined and unambiguous. For example, rather than setting a goal to create a new app in the new year, state clearly what kind, using what technology, targeted at what customer, with the help of what partners, etc.
  • Measurable – Measurable goals are critical for goal planning success because they will decide whether you have accomplished the result you set out to achieve. Measurable goals can be defined in numerical or financial terms. If you set a goal of increasing your bottom line, make sure it’s measurable by also stating by how much you plan to profit, or by how much you will reduce your expenses.
  • Achievable – Achievable goals are ones that can logistically be accomplished within the expected constraints of the skills of your team, the amount of time you have available, and other external factors. While you should always strive to set intentions that make you and your team stretch and grow to achieve those goals, you should always be aware of what is and isn’t realistic.
  • Relevant – The relevancy of your goal planning is also critical to your year long success. Why bother setting expectations that are not aligned with your critical mission, either on a personal or business level? For example, if you are planning to create a product for a new client but your industry focus or existing customer base is not aligned with that goal, you would be better off planning something more tightly aligned with your existing skills and resources.
  • Time-bound – The best goals are ones that are accomplished in a timely manner. Setting a specific schedule to guide the steps toward achieving that goal will help you succeed sooner and easier.

2. Let Your Challenges Guide You

Think about what challenges you to identify goals that motivate and inspire you. Fear itself can also help you zero in on the risks and the passion that will help you forge ahead on your personal journey. If you know you struggle with certain skills, tasks, or day to day activities, allow those challenges to help define your goals for the coming year so that you can become your most productive self.

3. Break It Down

Incorporate a step-by-step process to achieve your goals. Successful goal planning requires thoughtful breaking-down of larger tasks into reasonable and manageable milestones to get you from point A to point B. It’s not enough to simply dream big about where you want to be, you have to work backwards and map out how you’re going to get there.

“Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them.”

– Stephen Covey, Author of Seven Habits for Highly Successful People

4. Hold Yourself Accountable

Always remember that which gets measured gets done. In order to reach the goals you set, you need to plan to hold yourself accountable along the way. This can include monthly or quarterly (or even weekly) check-ins with yourself or your team (or your customers as the case may be) that measure your progress on achieving your goals. Tracking how far along the path you’ve laid out will give you plenty of opportunity to change tactics if necessary to make sure you are able to achieve the goals you have set.

5. Rely on Your Support Network

When planning out your long-term goals, involving your support network can be a powerful tool. Team members or mentors help you hold yourself accountable, providing the support and motivation you need to stay on track. Communities such as the IAMCP or the MPN Community itself can offer the support and resources that will ensure you move toward achieving your business goals.

So as we prepare for a new year of business opportunities and personal growth, make sure you set the powerful and actionable goals that will help drive you forward in the year to come.

What are your goals for 2017? How will you make sure you achieve them in the months to come? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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