Should You Set Annual Goals?

Should You Set Annual Goals?

If We Aim for Nothing, We’ll Hit It Every Time

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? How does that work for you? Some people mistakenly place annual goals in the same category as New Year’s resolutions: ideas that sound good but that we quickly forget and that accomplish nothing.

We need to disassociate the two. Annual goals, specifically for your job and for your answering service are essential. Without them you will flounder in your work, going from day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year.

And if it’s past January 1 and you haven’t set your annual goals, don’t worry. Just set goals for the remainder of the year and move forward. It’s that simple.

Have a Plan

In its most basic form, setting goals is establishing a plan. It provides a roadmap to move you forward. It looks at where you are and envisions where you want to end up. Setting goals not only helps you reach your destination, but they guide you to get there in the best and fastest way possible.

As the saying goes, “People who fail to plan, plan to fail.” The quickest way to fail in your employment or in the leadership of your answering service is to not plan, to not set goals.

Make SMART Goals

It’s important to make SMART goals. SMART is an acronym to guide us in our goal setting. If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, an online search will give you millions of pages of information.

If you are familiar with SMART goals, here’s a quick review. Effective and achievable goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Hold Reasonable Expectations

A common goal-setting adage is that we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in five. Keep this in mind when setting annual goals. Yes, we want goals that will stretch us, but we also want to avoid goals that will overwhelm us.

Sometimes it’s helpful to start with envisioning where you want to be several years into the future. Then break that endpoint into multiple milestones that will move you toward it. Then use that first milestone (or two) to inform your goals for this year.

Adjust as Needed

Things change. It’s a given. Just because you set annual goals, doesn’t mean you can’t change them. As the year progresses, unexpected events occur. These often require adjusting your goals. This can take on multiple forms. In the most extreme instances, your goal may no longer be relevant. If this happens, cross it off your list with a clear conscience and remove its distraction.

Other times the unexpected may mean you need to change the timeframe of a goal. Usually this means extending the end date because the goal has now become more complex or because you now have less time to devote to it. However, the opposite may occur where the goal suddenly becomes more urgent. What you planned to do in twelve months, you should now do in six.

Last, you may need to tweak your goal. This can include increasing the scope of the goal, changing the steps to achieve it, or decreasing your expectations.

To be of use, don’t view your goals as unalterable. Allow yourself some flexibility. You will be happier and more successful if you do.

The Next Step

Whether you’re a seasoned goal setter, have never set annual goals, or fall somewhere in between, the key is to act. Put your goals on paper and post them in a prominent place so you’ll see them every day. This will keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and guide your actions every day. Then watch where the year takes you. If you persist, you and your answering service will end up in a much better position by the end of the year compared to where you started.

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