As most of you have finalized (or are close to finalizing) your New Year’s resolution; I’d like you to think about what you accomplished in 2013.  While the last several years I’ve kicked off my blog with goal planning (and this year will be no different); I want you all to take the time to really reflect on how far you got last year with your goals and if they are still relevant for the year ahead.


What did you set out to do or change last year?  Were you pleased with your results?  What have you learned about your goals or yourself?  What will you do differently this year?  Ask yourself these question and think about your answers.  For many of you, it might have been landing a new job in IT, completing a certification or simply learning a new technology.


Now, I hope you all did very well.  Maybe you all reached your goals and started working on stretch goals and that’s great.  One of my goals last year was to recertify my Cisco certifications.  Though I prolly should have scheduled my exam earlier in the year; I did achieve my goal of recertifying.  J


My stretch goals focused around developing myself, expanding my professional network and increasing my philanthropic efforts.  Let me just talk about my networking goal.  Although, I did grow my professional network; I feel like there is still a lot more opportunity for growth and narrow focus.  Through referrals, cold calls, networking events, social media, traveling and participating in groups such as the Exam Advisory Group (EAG), Bulig Isko, Cisco Learning Network (CLN), Young Professionals Network (YPN), etc.; my network increased its span into many new markets and countries.  This year I plan to be more targeted.


Now that you’ve assessed where you might have experienced shortcomings; let’s look at how we keep our 2014 goals in check.


Who hasn’t heard of SMART goals?  As you work on your 2014 resolutions, I want you to be creating SMART goals around them.  If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know I’ll ask you to break down big or timely projects/tasks into smaller components.  To make sure you reach your goals, we’ll make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART).


One of my mentors would always remind me to be specific with my team.  Being specific reduces ambiguity and creates focus.  Let’s start with a goal – “This year my goal is to lose weight”.


In order to make the goal more specific we’ll make it measurable. “This year my goal is to lose 12 pounds”.


To make sure the goal is achievable, we’ll add how this can be accomplished.  “This year my goal is to lose 12 pounds by exercising and dieting”.


Now we want to make sure the goal is relevant.  Generally, goals are relevant when there is alignment to business or personal needs.  Let’s say in this example the relevance is health related.  “This year my goal is to lose 12 pounds and improve my health by exercising and dieting”.


Lastly, we want to make our goal time-bound.  “This year my goal is to lose 12 pounds in six months and improve my health by exercising and dieting”.  You might shorten the cycle by saying you will lose 2 pounds every month for 6 months and then maintain that weight.


Creating SMART goals provide a framework and help you constantly assess your progress.  As you work on your New Year’s resolutions, I highly recommend you frame them up as SMART goals.  Happy New Year and good luck!


What goals did you set for yourself?  Did you think about creating SMART goals?  How can using SMART goals help you with your resolutions?  As always, feel free to share your thoughts with others.