Abraham Lincoln once said that “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Time and time again I work with individuals and businesses who mean well but have no clear goals or strategy.

Setting goals is more than just making vague resolution-y statements like “I will increase my business” or “I will lose weight.” It means creating a well thought out written plan that includes objectives and measurable results.

In short, you need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Just love the S.M.A.R.T. anacronym, don’t you? I’m a nerd like that.)

THE FORMULA:

SPECIFIC: Your goals must be specific. Forgo generalities and instead delve into detail.

MEASUREABLE: Goals that are achieved are the ones that can be measured and tracked.

ATTAINABLE: A goal needs to stretch your business slightly. Challenge yourself but don’t make it impossible to achieve.

REALISTIC: Be practical. This means that the skills or resources needed to do the work are available and that it project fits within the overall strategy and goals of the your life or organization.

TIMELY: Goal setting without beginning or ending dates never get accomplished. Be sure you have a deadline. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking immediate action. (Trust me on this one, I have been guilty of this many times!)

Some examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Increase customer satisfaction by 20% by October 2012.
  • Increase visitor traffic on my site by 10% in the next 90 days.

The challenge: Take a moment to compose two SMART goals that you’d like to achieve in 2012. Then write down what you will do in next three months, six months and nine months to in order to achieve them.