For many professionals, the start of the new year brings a time of reflection and looking to the future. We reflect on what has been accomplished in the past year and look for exciting new ways to achieve new goals. It’s ever so important to start the year with both personal and professional goals. It may seem like a daunting task, but creating goals is the best way to motivate you to accomplish what you want to achieve. When you’re setting goals (either personal or professional), there are a few tips that can help you along the way. 

 We all know the acronym for setting goals: SMART. But how do we set up SMART goals? 

Specific: Ensure that your personal and professional goals are specific to what you want to achieve. Creating goals that are specific helps to set your focus and intentions. For me, it’s simple to say I want to “improve guest engagement” however, there is nothing specific to that. I can make this goal meaningful and focused by saying, “I can improve guest engagement by 50% by communicating with guests before check-in, during their stay, and at check- out.”

Measurable: Never set a goal without a measurable outcome, as numbers are a critical part of professional success. Every goal you set should have concrete numbers; this allows you to know if you’re on track or not. Instead of setting an unfocused goal (“Improve employee engagement”), I can make the goal measurable by adding a number to it by saying, “I want to improve employee engagement by 40%.” 

Achievable: We all set goals now and then that are too beyond our reach. Yes, it’s excellent to have the motivation to conquer something lofty; however, everything takes time. If the goals you’ve set are not realistic, you may not be successful. Attainable goals are always practical and have a plan that “breaks your overall goal down into smaller, manageable action steps that use the time and resources available to you within the timeline you’ve set,” according to The Balance

Relevant: Are your goals based on what is currently happening in your industry? A goal that is relevant more than often determines if it will be achieved. In the workplace, you want to make sure that your professional goals are in alignment with the goals of the company. Relevant goals make more sense when measured in comparison to overall company goals. 

Timely: Never leave a goal open-ended. There should always be a timeline for achieving your goal on time. The amount of time you dedicate to reaching a goal can change depending on the goal itself. However, having a timeline or due date helps you commit to the coal and motivates you to achieve it. To use my guest engagement example from above: Yes, I can improve guest engagement by 50, but how much time do I want that to take? I can make this goal better by saying: “I will improve guest engagement by 50% over the next year.” 

Go Beyond SMART

Goal setting does go beyond just creating the goal itself. Make sure that you share your goals with your organization leader as well as your mentor, as this will help you with accountability. Sometimes knowing that someone else knows about your goals is an extra motivator to get things done! You can also hold yourself accountable by setting calendar invitations to discuss or evaluate your progress regularly. Don’t want until the end of the year to review your progress; accountability is key to staying on track. 

Personally, I set goals around the following:

      • Guest engagement 
      • Employee engagement 
      • Product or service improvement 
      • Financial- either improving revenue or decreasing expenses 
      • Personal development goals: conduct trainings, community service, mentoring. 

As you achieve your goals (both personal and professional), check them off your list and set a new goal! At the end of the year, you will have a great list of accomplishments to look back on. It’s essential to look back on the achievements you’ve made. Most people in service industries forget the great things they accomplish. Keep the list of goals you’ve accomplished handy – there will be a time when you’re asked to toot your own horn and share what you’ve done.