Happy New Year everyone! I know, I know. It’s the third week of January and all the holiday decorations are back in storage. But I’m not comfortable writing “2017” yet, so the year still feels new. I’m going to start 2017 by talking about goals. This is related to my ruminations last month about measuring success (here’s a link).


Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big fan of lists. I make lists for everything: groceries, errands, tasks at work, packing lists, book lists. Heck, right now I’m making a list of lists! I love lists for two reasons. First, I’m forgetful. Second, checking items off the list is rewarding. You see, every list is filled with opportunities for success. Checking an item off the list means I achieved a goal – woohoo! I’m being successful!


And that’s the key. Goals are vital to success because they are the method of measurement! Trying to achieve success without clear, measurable goals is like trying to run a race without knowing where the finish line is.

Finish line

 The secret to making smart goals is…


Actually, there is no secret. SMART is an acronym. The components form a template for setting a quality goal. A SMART goal is:

SPECIFIC (the opposite of vague)

MEASURABLE (it should include numbers)

ACTIONABLE (something you can do like eat, learn, write)

REALISTIC (keep your expectations high, but achievable)

TIME-BOUND (this is your finish line!)


Here are a few examples:


Original Goals


Make more money. Increase sales by 1% each month this year.
Be healthier. Make dinner at home 5 nights each week.
Stay informed.

Read 2 industry-related articles or blogs each week.


A couple other tips:

  • Write your goals down and read them often. Like following a recipe, the more you do it the more you’ll remember it. Pretty soon you’ll be able to make the dish without looking at the recipe!
  • Stick to a few major goals. Also like a recipe, the more ingredients required or the more steps in the process, the more likely you are to overlook something.
  • Check out Michael Hyatt’s article on goal-setting. His information is easy to read and apply. You can find it here.