This article originally appeared in Forbes.
It’s 2019, which means you’ve most likely made your New Year’s resolutions. I love the New Year because I believe it’s the perfect time to start fresh and look for ways to improve professionally and personally.
In our work with clients and during my time starting and building a coaching company, I’ve always encouraged business leaders and their team members to use the new year to reflect on goals and priorities that will lead to self-improvement. In my experience, however, most people start the year determined to follow through with their resolutions, only to see their efforts lose steam as time progresses.
It’s easy to see how this can happen if resolutions are too lofty and unattainable, a person has too many of them or there’s no road map to guide people on their journey. A survey by The Marist Poll, NPR and PBS NewsHour found that 32% of adults did not keep their New Year’s resolutions throughout 2018.
In my experience, businesses can fall into the same trap. It takes proper planning, measurement and follow-up for leaders and team members to achieve annual initiatives. The good news is that you can be successful if you clearly define what you want to accomplish, ensure it aligns with your company’s mission and values, create a realistic game plan and commit to getting the job done.
Whether you’re setting personal or professional New Year’s resolutions, here are three tips for ensuring you achieve them:
Next, write down your goals. Writing down your goals helps you focus on what you want to accomplish and improves performance. I personally write down my goals and track my progress daily, monthly and yearly as a reminder to show how far I’ve come from the beginning of the year.
Once you’ve set your new goals, review them to make sure they’re SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). If this is for your company, ensure your priorities align with your organization’s mission. It may also be a step toward achieving your BHAG (big, hairy audacious goal), which is usually a 15- to 20-year goal.
When you have your goals outlined, identify and write down the tasks and key performance indicators required to achieve them. Also, note the dates each task should be done so you have a timeline.
Put your goals in a place where you will view them regularly, such as on a wall in your kitchen or on a dashboard that you see every time you log in to your computer. In my experience, this will help keep them at the front of your mind and allow you to easily track progress and keep you moving in the right direction. Successfully accomplishing goals, whether they are personal or professional, is the sum of small activities that are consistently executed over time.
Make 2019 the year you completely embrace accountability, and share your goals with peers or friends. Find accountability partners who have succeeded in the areas where you want to improve, and ask them for help. Then stay in touch with them and allow them to check on your progress throughout the year. At work and at home, I believe it’s vital that you surround yourself with supportive colleagues who know your goals and will push you to be your best.
There’s no magic potion or pill to help you reach professional or personal goals. It takes self-discipline to stay committed throughout the year and follow through with your well-planned process. But when you do, I believe you can achieve everything you reached for and more.