Missed Those Goals… Again!

Problem: Sarah told me her goal for the past year was to lose weight and get in better shape. Bill’s goal was to increase his sales. Natalie was going to reduce her credit card debt. Sarah, Bill and Natalie all had something in common. They all failed to achieve their goals. At the end of the year, in fact, none had even come close. And all were frustrated.

Analysis: People start out with the best of intentions regarding their goals. But most goals go unrealized because they were doomed from the start. People who fail to achieve their goals do so for several reasons: lack of commitment, poorly written goals, and/or no plan to make it happen.

Prescription: First, the goal has to be important to achieve. You need to understand the personal benefits of achieving the goal (as well as the negatives of failing). Second, goals must meet the SMART criteria. In other words, they must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and have a specific Time frame to complete the goal. For example, Bill’s goal might read, “I will generate a 25% increase in sales in my territory by the end of the year.” Simply increasing sales is not good enough. Is the goal achieved if Bill gets a 15% increase? Finally, what is the plan to make it happen? What specific activities need to be done and when will they be started?

Don’t make the mistake of failing to achieve your goals again next year. Start the New Year off right. Be committed. Write SMART goals and have a plan. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.