Goal Setting: how will this year will be better than last?

You are here


January is almost over and my 2014 goals are written (that’s the first stage of success right?). I have to be honest - I have a love/hate relationship with goals. I like that goals provide me with clarity and focus. When I achieve them I feel great. Yet most of the time they hang over my head all year, feeling like a to-do list.

This year I found a new tactic. After my first draft of SMART goals I wasn’t feeling like I had hit the mark. Until I was encouraged to picture how things would be different after I achieve my goals.

Great goals have the potential to energize and inspire. Thinking SMART will give you clarity and direction. Visualizing the impact of your SMART goal boosts its effectiveness by fueling your inspiration and drive, to persist in the face of roadblocks.

In developing my goals I had been so focused on the output of my work, that I had neglected to picture what I wanted the outcome to be. Here’s an example of a goal that illustrates an output only: 

By June 2014 all staff members in membership will use social media tools to engage audiences on social media 3 times per week.

This is a clear goal, and yet it doesn’t paint a picture of what will be possible once achieved. Let’s imagine this individual loves using social media (and is good at it) because they’ve seen how it can engage new members. They genuinely want each member of their team to experience the same success with social media.  Here’s how this individual might add an outcome to the SMART goal above:

Build capacity of membership employees to engage new members through social media. I will know I have been successful when all membership employees proactively use social media 3 times per week (By June 2014) and can identify examples of a direct relationship between social media interactions and new memberships (by Dec 2014).

If you or your employees are showing signs that goal setting is simply a required task, not a valuable one, go back to connecting the work with an outcome that is personally relevant – built on intrinsic motivation and individual strengths.

Illustrating the positive affect your work will have on others (the membership team) and the mission (through new members) brings the outcome to life. Find your personal outcome by asking: how will things be different when I achieve my goal? What will I be the catalyst for making happen?

About the Author

Annastasia Forst contributed her creative and analytic work ethic (not an oxymoron) to Vantage Point as a past Director of Learning. She is passionate about working with many talented knowledge philanthropists to develop, deliver and evaluate Vantage Point’s board and executive leadership...


t: 604 875 9144
f: 604 875 0710
1183 Melville Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2X5


Donate to Vantage Point and transform the leadership competencies of British Columbia not-for-profit executive directors, board members, staff and volunteers

Facebook icon.Twitter icon. Twitter icon. Youtube icon.