Earlier this month, we encouraged you to start 2018 by looking back at the year behind you and asking some key questions to evaluate your goal-setting track record and set yourself up for success.

Have you set any goals for 2018? It’s not too late - the best time to start is now!

Whether your goals are in place or you need a jump start, here are four strategies to creating no-fail goals that will catapult you forward in 2018.

1. Know your value. The purpose of goal setting isn’t just to keep you on track and help you grow and perform. Your goals also demonstrate and increase the value you bring to your role.  Is your value intensive (a specific skill you’ve cultivated - being a communications expert or an expert chef) or extensive (you’re a connector and motivator helping to move projects forward or keeping track of all the things going on as the family logistician)? Both types of value are uniquely important to an organization, and will affect how your goals look.

At both MatchPace and in my family, I have goals for the growth I want to see this year. In both places, the value I’m looking to add is to be more “present” - more focused, more available, less scattered. This helps me set the right kind of goals for the year. Instead of trying to grow a specific skill set, my goals are focused on prioritizing and managing my time and increasing my productivity.

My role in those organizations is extensive. In both places I am a “jack of all trades.” At MatchPace I am developing relationships with clients, running engagements, involved in communications and the financial operations. At home I am making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time, fed, and dressed, as well as being involved in our family communications and our financial operations!

My greatest value to both places is to be present and focused, and to be aware of most everything going on. I am not our communications expert at MatchPace (but Caitie is!) and I am not the laundry expert in our house (but we have someone who is!).

2. Acknowledge what you’ll say no to. This is a tough one for me, but likely the most important. I always want to add more and more to my life: more goals, more adventures, more time with people I love. But instead, I add more things and end up overwhelmed.

To support my value to MatchPace and my family, to be more present, and more focused, one thing I’ve recognized is it means I need to get more - and better - sleep. It means I have to say “no” to other things, like puttering around after the kids go to bed. I like that time alone, and Andy and I are doing things like getting lunch ready for the next day or straightening up,  but the truth is we spend it doing low-value activities and don’t actually feel wound-down and ready for quality sleep. Of course, those daily chores have to get done at some point, so what else do we have to give up to make space to do those things before 9:30 at night?

It’s hard to give up something else that has a value to you, but in the name of accomplishing the more important goal, you have to make the hard decision and know what to cut out so the time you do have is spent wisely. We don’t have an answer yet, but we know we have to give up some things in our days to make space in our evenings, so we can sleep better and be more present.

3. Find the right metrics. Use your evaluation from 2017 to help shape not only the goals you set for 2018, but how you measure them. If my goal was to “get to bed earlier,” that’s not really something I can keep track of. But if it’s to be totally ready for bed (defined as lunches packed, teeth brushed, in bed reading) by 9:30 is something I can measure. Keep it simple, keep it measurable.

4. Create your own scorecard. Don’t just set new goals and forget them. You need a plan in place to monitor, adjust, and most importantly communicate your progress toward those goals. Not only will a scorecard based on metrics that fit your value and goals help you stay on track, if you share your progress with your supervisor, your spouse, or a friend, they will have a clear picture of how you are doing and how they can help. To keep this blog from getting any longer, I’ll save the science behind building habits for another time. But here’s a score-card you can use to mark off each time you work toward your new measurable goal. Keep marking them off (don’t freak if you miss a day) and before you know it, you’ll be hitting those goals!  

With these steps, you’ll set yourself up for goal-setting success in 2018.