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I believe the greatest “game changer” in your life and business in 2012 is goal setting.  Here are six key factors I believe are important when you’re setting your goals:

  1. First, be accountable.  If I make up a number of goals and am accountable to no one but myself, I have learned that my chance for success is reduced.  Sometimes having someone give you a kick if you’re off course or not moving forward as planned can be very effective.  If you don’t have someone that can do this for you, a business coach is often a great solution and based on my previous experience, an investment in a business coach pays off ten fold.
  2. Run your New Years resolutions like you run your business.  You wouldn’t run your business without a written business plan (I hope) and you likely always tell your clients to have a business plan, so why would you treat your goals any differently? Having a written plan for your goals with detailed action items can mean the difference between success and failure so make this happen!
  3. Set timelines.  Saying you want to achieve a specific goal “sometime in 2012” is too vague. Make sure you set deadlines around each goal so you know when you’ve been successful.
  4. Detail how you plan to get there.  If you want to grow your revenue by 20% in 2012, set monthly tasks around action items to help you achieve that goal.  Whatever your goal is, it needs a set of supporting tasks so make sure you take the time for this step.
  5. Keep your goals visible.  Writing down your goals won’t do you any good if you put them in a drawer afterwards and never look at them again.  Pin them on your bulletin board and make sure you look at them every day and keep them top of mind.
  6. Remember one of my favorite sayings that I have heard many times… “If everything is important, nothing is important”.  Don’t plan such a long list of goals that they are impossible to achieve – pick out your top five and commit to sticking with them and making them happen.

I have read many leadership books around what makes successful people different than the average person, and in 99.9% of the cases, very successful people have a written set of goals and stick with them.  If you want 2012 to truly be your best yet, make sure you take time to plan ahead for success.  This year, instead of saying “Bah – New Years resolutions never work”, take a different approach and embrace the opportunity for a fresh, new start.  This can be the year where life takes a different turn, but it’s only up to one person to make that happen – YOU!