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(New Year’s) resolutions to achieve better business results or simply to be “beach-ready” in time rarely have a significant effect.

The goals created with a strong “why” and a structured approach are the ones you succeed professionally and personally. Measurability and persistence are keywords for success.

Small breaks from everyday life, especially over the New Year, lead many of us to reflect on goals and direction in work and private life. Some tend to set New Year’s resolutions to bring about change in the coming period. However, New Year’s resolutions tend to fizzle out because they are either loosely defined or perhaps not attractive to pursue.

One thing that characterizes those who reach their goals is that they have a clearly defined focus and know what exactly they want to achieve and why. They have made a plan for how to get there. They see what they need to do every morning when waking up, and because they are so focused, it is difficult for external influences to affect their path towards the goal.

When working with goals for ourselves or others, it is, therefore, essential that we ensure that the plans are motivating and of quality. Regardless of the goal, it requires a structured approach to work with motivated goals.

Four simple but essential requirements must be met before you can call your goal a good one:


Can it be measured?

You must be able to answer when you have reached your goal. It must be documented that the goal has been achieved. It should be formulated so that you can answer what changes have occurred that can be measured, seen, heard, or experienced when you reach your goal.

Be specific

What exactly do you want to achieve? Formulate the goal concretely and clearly, so it is clear what needs to be achieved. It should be like a lighthouse out there blinking, so you always know where you are going. Be aware if the formulation of the goal becomes too vague. Be specific so it becomes easy to evaluate if you are on track to succeed. Formulate your goal in the present tense, as if you have already achieved it. It should express the things you are, have, or do when the goal is reached.

It must be attractive

Once the goal is defined, one of the crucial points arises: Why do you want to reach this goal? What do you want to achieve or avoid? What needs to be positively changed compared to where you are now? What significance does it have for you to achieve the goal? Describe what you want to achieve. Too many goals are not realized because there is not enough will behind them or the goal is not perceived as necessary. Genuine motivation is an inner force.

Is there a deadline?

There must be a deadline. Define concretely when you have reached your goal. Think of a goal as a dream with a deadline. When should your goal be achieved?
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Goals require action

To reach the goal, you need to plan how to get there. What will it take? What do you need to do? How should you use your time and energy? Where should you focus first? What sub-goals make sense to achieve along the way? What efforts do you need to make?

Once you have a clear action plan, it must be translated into real action. Get started – read, train, call, speak, write, seek, do what moves you closer to your goal. Action is required. Remember, behind every success lies hard work—hundreds or even thousands of hours of focused effort – depending on the size of the goal.

Hold yourself to the fire – create motivation

Evaluate your efforts along the way. Are you following your action plan and your deadlines? What have you achieved? Which initiatives bring you closer to the goal, and which do not? Assess if there is something you can do differently. If you can change your approach? Find out if what you are doing works, otherwise try something new.

Persistence pays off. Hold on to your goals, and don’t give up. It’s not about doing your best and then giving up. It’s about doing what it takes, long enough.

When working with goals, there is often some “carrot” or reward if you reach it. On the other hand, there is a consequence if you do not. Stick and carrot. Define what motivates you. Holding onto the two external levers can be quite effective when activating the motivation to reach the goals.


Enjoy setting motivating goals.