Throw your New Year’s resolutions out the window. Everyone knows those only last a few days. As we look ahead to next year, let’s talk about serious professional goal setting. Now is the perfect time to proactively plan for the challenges we will face in the twelve months ahead instead of reactively responding to issues as they pop up throughout the year.

It’s easy to daydream about the things you want to accomplish in the year ahead. It takes more effort to actually sit down, develop a plan and execute. We all need some direction when it comes to elevating our goals from daydreams to realities. We’ve found some tips to help you with your professional goal setting before New Year’s Day.


 It’s great to have major, long-term goals, but let’s be realistic about what we can accomplish in a year. Otherwise, you’ll just be left feeling disappointed in yourself when your plans don’t pan out. You want to be CEO of your company? That is an awesome long-term goal, but it most likely won’t happen in twelve months.

Break your larger goals down into smaller goals. Aim to take on more responsibilities or get a promotion this year. All of these smaller goals snowball into your larger goals.


 It’s easy to disregard a goal you’ve set when the goal is too vague. You need to know exactly what you’re working towards. Instead of “increase sales”, you should aspire to “increase sales by 50%.” Specifics, especially numbers, allow you to track your progress more efficiently.


 Are you starting to think we’re sounding contradictory? It’s true – there can be a fine line between setting realistic yet challenging goals. Knowing exactly how far to push yourself involves a certain amount of self-awareness. You know better than anyone else exactly what your professional calendar and personal calendar look like. If a goal isn’t challenging enough, it’s not worth setting, and you’ll most likely lose interest.


 Sometimes it’s easy to set a goal at the outset of a new year and lose steam as time progresses. We run into obstacles, get busy, or simply become bored with the goal. One of the easiest ways to stay committed to our goals is to share them with a colleague who will hold us accountable. Whether it’s a supervisor, mentor, or coworker, find someone you trust who will challenge you to pursue your goals while simultaneously encouraging you when you hit obstacles.

The new year is right around the corner. Take advantage of the opportunities that come with a fresh start and set some strong, professional goals. When the resolutions, diet plans, and gym memberships fade after a few weeks, you’ll still have your professional goals to which you aspire.

For more tips on setting professional goals, click here or here.