We’re only a few days into 2012 so it’s a great time to set your goals for the year. It would have actually been better to do it back in December but it’s not too late to come up with SMART goals for the coming year.

I learnt about SMART goals when I completed a training course with Leadership Management Australia (LMA) a number of years ago.

SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible (or timely as I prefer).

Goal setting works for both work and personal life and when I did the course we were encouraged to have several work goals and at least one personal goal to work on throughout the course which ran for several months.

 I used to think goal setting was just a waste of time and so I ambled along achieving small things but never really reaching that ultimate prize. On reflection I can see it’s because I didn’t have any SMART goals.

Another technique that LMA advocates is taking goals step-by-step so breaking them down into smaller achievements to reach the ultimate prize. They call these ‘Action steps’.

For example, the SMART goal might be “By 31 March I will spend two hours per week on business planning”. An action step would be to block off two one hour blocks per week in your Outlook calendar and another might be to identify and attend a relevant workshop or webinar to learn about business planning. So my goal is specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and tangible.

The key to goal setting is to choose a goal that you can have control over. For example, it would be unrealistic for me to set a goal to involve another person who had not yet consented to be involved.

So don’t put it off until tomorrow. Go ahead and set yourself a few goals for 2012. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is and how effective it can be.

-Nicola Rutzou