With 2017 coming to a close and 2018 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about setting professional leadership goals. As with anything, having a road map to guide you makes your route clearer. So, think about goal setting as a way to map out – in broad strokes – your path for the year ahead.

While I am sure that you are swamped with wrapping up year-end projects, and setting goals might be the last thing on your list, I encourage you to carve out the time to make it happen. Not only will it get you pumped up for next year, it will help refocus you on the tasks at hand.

As you begin to think about what you would like to accomplish, I suggest first spending some undisturbed time reflecting on the what has transpired over the course of the last year and prioritizing what is most important for you to achieve in the months ahead.

You will want to be both realistic and aspirational in your goal setting. I recommend choosing no more than six goals – four that you feel you can attain with the right amount of work and attention (don’t choose ones that you can phone in) and two that are a stretch. This will allow you to hone in on what you really want and need to get done, while providing a bit of space for you to increase your capacity and to challenge yourself.

I realize that sometimes the toughest part of the goal setting is not the work attaining the goals, but deciding on the goals themselves. Here are a few tips that will help provide a framework for goal selection:

  1. Set goals that are influenced by what you experienced the previous year. Build on what you have learned and take things to the next level.
  2. Seek the advice of others. Meet with a colleague or mentor and ask them to help coach you on developing your list for 2018.
  3. Ask yourself, “and then what?” What will be achieved by accomplishing this goal? What will it allow me to do?
  4. Use this as a time to work on a problem area. Think about a blind spot or an area on which you can improve and set a goal that addresses that issue.


Finally, and most importantly, share your goals with others. Let your team and your colleagues know what you are working towards achieving in the year ahead. This will allow them to not only push you, but having their buy in will prove invaluable.

The dawn of 2018 provides the perfect opportunity to set your course for the new year. Get to work on the four to six things you want to accomplish over the next year. Think about how great it will feel in December, when you are able to look back and celebrate all you have accomplished.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2018!

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