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December 14, 2023
|
6 mins to read

How to start strong in 2024 with goal setting

How to set professional goals in the New Year, and start 2024 with a bang!
Alex Mullen
Web Content Writer

Imagine it’s just before midnight on 31st December, 2023. As you crunch your way through the bowl of semi-stale tortilla chips that someone brought to the New Year’s Eve party, you quietly reflect on the year that’s just gone by.

What do you see? Did you achieve everything you wanted to? Did you change?

As 2023 draws to a close, the team at Thrive Content (Thrive’s ready-made elearning solution that equips teams with thousands of sector-specific resources) is using this time as an opportunity to focus on goal-setting for their ‘Reflections and Intentions’ campaign.

Whether you think of it as ‘just another day’ or not, the end of the year is a transitional period - and makes for a great opportunity to set yourself goals for the following year. Step away from the tortilla chips (we know you probably don’t need much convincing) because we’re going to dive into how you can use goal–setting to start 2024 on the right foot.

The importance of goal setting

Before we dive into the specifics of goal-setting, let's discuss exactly why the practice is so important.

This is not just about aimlessly throwing some vague ideas up on the wall for the sake of it; it's a focussed, long-term process that allows you to set, measure and achieve goals in the way that makes the most sense to you.

Here are just a few reasons why it's important to set goals.

Goal setting gets your ducks in a row... or at least in the same place.

Given that you’re a human being, we’re willing to bet you’re familiar with the universal feeling of being overwhelmed by all you have to do. Your nebulous, faraway ambition hovers in the distance, untethered to any tangible steps that will help you get there. Looking at the scattered to-do lists, tasks, and hard-to-define dreams, you struggle to make sense of the path ahead.

Goal setting helps you cut through that chaos. Providing a clear beginning, middle and end, it allows you to drag your disparate ducks out of whatever separate ponds they’re paddling in, and finally get them all in a row.

Goal setting lets you measure your progress

If you’re doing it right, goal-setting helps you chart your own progress to determine whether or not you’re on the right track - and if you need to change course. (Don’t worry, we’ll get into how best to set goals and track your progress later in the blog.)

It’s all well and good setting a goal, for example: “I want to run a half marathon next summer.”

But if you don’t set up a path with tangible milestones along the way, you have no way of determining whether that goal is realistic as you draw closer to it. How often do you want to train? How many miles do you want to clock when you’re three months out, two months out, one? If you don’t measure your progress in this way, you might find yourself getting a stitch simply trying to jog down your street.

Goal setting keeps you accountable

When you set goals with other people, it holds you accountable.

Share your professional goals with your colleagues or managers, and encourage them to check in regularly to see how you’re getting on. (Just a tip: Thrive allows you to set, track and manage skills and goals in one central platform.)

Public perception is a powerful thing. When people are looking over your shoulder, you’re much more likely to do what you promised - leading you to ultimately achieve your goals. Three cheers for the fear of public scrutiny!

Goal setting helps you grow

Growth is the driving force behind learning; it’s the reason we’re all here; it’s the reason we at Thrive have a learning platform that helps teams big and small achieve their professional goals.

It’s also the driving force behind setting goals. Pursuing your own goals allows you to move forward, and ultimately grow as a person. Some of them might involve you stepping out of your comfort zone. Great! Inside your comfort zone might be - well - comfortable. You can watch TV in your comfort zone. They have Netflix there. But it’s outside of your comfort zone where you change, evolve and grow.

Without goals, you might never venture out. But goals push you to do so. You might be surprised what you can accomplish.

How and when do you start goal setting?

We’ve established the reasons for goal setting.

Now, let’s examine how and when you begin.

The best time to start goal setting is right now.

Every second that passes is a second you can’t get back. You’re already closer or further away from achieving your goals than you were when you first started reading this sentence - so why wait another second?

As we’ve probably made clear, there’s no such thing as a bad time to start setting goals. You might use a transitional period like the start of a new year (hint, hint) as a jumping-off point.

As far as how to start, the role of self-awareness in goal setting cannot be overstated.

The role of self-awareness in goal setting

You can’t decide where you’re going without first establishing where you’ve been.

It’s easy to see why The World Economic Forum found “motivation and self-awareness” to be in the top five most desirable skills of 2023 (for more information on how to develop the soft skill of self-awareness, read our blog on the top five soft skills and how to develop them!) and the role it plays in goal-setting cannot be overstated.

Self-awareness is the starting point for goal setting. It helps you understand yourself, which in turn allows you to hone in on what you want to achieve and why. It helps you connect to your motivation, something you can constantly refer back to throughout the process of pursuing your goal (especially when you hit a sticking point.) It helps you focus on your values, and understand what matters to you the most when planning what you hope to achieve.

What questions should you ask yourself?

What questions should you ask yourself - when looking forward, and when looking back? Let’s discuss.


Questions to ask when looking back


What did you do well this year?

Take a moment to reflect on - and celebrate! - your achievements and milestones.

There’s a piece of accepted wisdom that you learn much more from failure than from success.

That’s true, but that’s not to say you learn absolutely nothing from reflecting on your achievements as well. Dig deep into your wins of the year, and ask yourself: What did I do to achieve this? What skills did I use? What qualities did I capitalise on?

Analysing this will help you understand the steps you can take for next year’s goals.

What could you have done better?

Okay, now it’s time to learn from failure.

Nobody’s perfect, so ask yourself what didn’t go so well this year. Were there any goals you outlined that you didn’t ultimately meet? What challenges or obstacles did you face, and what could you have done differently?

Use this knowledge to arm yourself against the challenges you might face in 2024, and any potential mistakes you’re in danger of making.

How have you grown?

As we’ve already mentioned, growth is a key part of this process. Reflect on how and why you’ve grown this year. You don’t have to limit this to just skills and knowledge gained within work - you could also think about how you’ve grown as a person and any shifts that have taken place in your mindset.

What impact have you had?

Celebrating your success is all well and good, but what is the impact?

How have your actions over the past year impacted your life, your business, your colleagues, or even the world around you? Assess this impact before diving into next year’s goals.

Questions to ask when looking forward

We’ll dive into these questions in a moment, but before we do it’s always important to make note of the SMART Framework. This dictates that your goals should always be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Keep this SMART Goals Framework in mind when asking these questions.

What is your goal?

Starting with the most obvious question, what is your goal?

Establish your goal. For example: “I want to get better at using AI.”

Make sure you write it down, and keep it visible so you can refer back to it.

Why have you set this goal, and why is it important?

Ask yourself why you set this goal. This will help you stay motivated to achieve it, because you’ll be connected to its purpose. In our AI example, the reason might be: “I want to make sure I keep up with the ever-changing demands of my industry.”

How does your goal align with those of the wider business?

Personal, short-term goals should always link back to something bigger; be that the overall objectives of the wider business, or your own long-term aspirations.

Perhaps the goal of the business is “To be recognised as one of the most innovative businesses in our industry by the end of the year.” Your own personal goal of improving your AI skills would fit perfectly with this wider business goal.

What steps will I take to achieve the goal, and how will I measure it?

Break your goal down into smaller, achievable steps, and set a timeline for them.

Once you’ve done this, establish a few KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that will indicate whether or not you’ve achieved what you set out for. For example:

“By the end of Q1, I will have read five articles on AI.

Key Performance Indicator: Assess your understanding of these articles by explaining them to someone in your team who knows about AI.

By the end of Q2, I will have completed a short course in Chat GPT.

Key Performance Indicator: Pass the test at the end of the course. (Or, set yourself a certain grade to achieve.)

By the end of Q3, I will have used AI in three work projects.

Key Performance Indicator: How successful were the projects? How much time did I save using AI?

By the end of Q4, I will have successfully taught my colleagues how to use AI for their own work.

Key Performance Indicator: Are your colleagues able to replicate what you taught them?”

Thanks for reading our guide to goal setting. We hope this sets you up for success in 2024 - and beyond!

Don’t forget to explore Thrive Content for inspiring campaigns like this one, along with thousands of sector-specific resources.

More Stories

See all

See Thrive in action

Explore what impact Thrive could make for your team and your learners today.

December 14, 2023
|
6 mins to read

How to start strong in 2024 with goal setting

How to set professional goals in the New Year, and start 2024 with a bang!
Alex Mullen
Web Content Writer

Imagine it’s just before midnight on 31st December, 2023. As you crunch your way through the bowl of semi-stale tortilla chips that someone brought to the New Year’s Eve party, you quietly reflect on the year that’s just gone by.

What do you see? Did you achieve everything you wanted to? Did you change?

As 2023 draws to a close, the team at Thrive Content (Thrive’s ready-made elearning solution that equips teams with thousands of sector-specific resources) is using this time as an opportunity to focus on goal-setting for their ‘Reflections and Intentions’ campaign.

Whether you think of it as ‘just another day’ or not, the end of the year is a transitional period - and makes for a great opportunity to set yourself goals for the following year. Step away from the tortilla chips (we know you probably don’t need much convincing) because we’re going to dive into how you can use goal–setting to start 2024 on the right foot.

The importance of goal setting

Before we dive into the specifics of goal-setting, let's discuss exactly why the practice is so important.

This is not just about aimlessly throwing some vague ideas up on the wall for the sake of it; it's a focussed, long-term process that allows you to set, measure and achieve goals in the way that makes the most sense to you.

Here are just a few reasons why it's important to set goals.

Goal setting gets your ducks in a row... or at least in the same place.

Given that you’re a human being, we’re willing to bet you’re familiar with the universal feeling of being overwhelmed by all you have to do. Your nebulous, faraway ambition hovers in the distance, untethered to any tangible steps that will help you get there. Looking at the scattered to-do lists, tasks, and hard-to-define dreams, you struggle to make sense of the path ahead.

Goal setting helps you cut through that chaos. Providing a clear beginning, middle and end, it allows you to drag your disparate ducks out of whatever separate ponds they’re paddling in, and finally get them all in a row.

Goal setting lets you measure your progress

If you’re doing it right, goal-setting helps you chart your own progress to determine whether or not you’re on the right track - and if you need to change course. (Don’t worry, we’ll get into how best to set goals and track your progress later in the blog.)

It’s all well and good setting a goal, for example: “I want to run a half marathon next summer.”

But if you don’t set up a path with tangible milestones along the way, you have no way of determining whether that goal is realistic as you draw closer to it. How often do you want to train? How many miles do you want to clock when you’re three months out, two months out, one? If you don’t measure your progress in this way, you might find yourself getting a stitch simply trying to jog down your street.

Goal setting keeps you accountable

When you set goals with other people, it holds you accountable.

Share your professional goals with your colleagues or managers, and encourage them to check in regularly to see how you’re getting on. (Just a tip: Thrive allows you to set, track and manage skills and goals in one central platform.)

Public perception is a powerful thing. When people are looking over your shoulder, you’re much more likely to do what you promised - leading you to ultimately achieve your goals. Three cheers for the fear of public scrutiny!

Goal setting helps you grow

Growth is the driving force behind learning; it’s the reason we’re all here; it’s the reason we at Thrive have a learning platform that helps teams big and small achieve their professional goals.

It’s also the driving force behind setting goals. Pursuing your own goals allows you to move forward, and ultimately grow as a person. Some of them might involve you stepping out of your comfort zone. Great! Inside your comfort zone might be - well - comfortable. You can watch TV in your comfort zone. They have Netflix there. But it’s outside of your comfort zone where you change, evolve and grow.

Without goals, you might never venture out. But goals push you to do so. You might be surprised what you can accomplish.

How and when do you start goal setting?

We’ve established the reasons for goal setting.

Now, let’s examine how and when you begin.

The best time to start goal setting is right now.

Every second that passes is a second you can’t get back. You’re already closer or further away from achieving your goals than you were when you first started reading this sentence - so why wait another second?

As we’ve probably made clear, there’s no such thing as a bad time to start setting goals. You might use a transitional period like the start of a new year (hint, hint) as a jumping-off point.

As far as how to start, the role of self-awareness in goal setting cannot be overstated.

The role of self-awareness in goal setting

You can’t decide where you’re going without first establishing where you’ve been.

It’s easy to see why The World Economic Forum found “motivation and self-awareness” to be in the top five most desirable skills of 2023 (for more information on how to develop the soft skill of self-awareness, read our blog on the top five soft skills and how to develop them!) and the role it plays in goal-setting cannot be overstated.

Self-awareness is the starting point for goal setting. It helps you understand yourself, which in turn allows you to hone in on what you want to achieve and why. It helps you connect to your motivation, something you can constantly refer back to throughout the process of pursuing your goal (especially when you hit a sticking point.) It helps you focus on your values, and understand what matters to you the most when planning what you hope to achieve.

What questions should you ask yourself?

What questions should you ask yourself - when looking forward, and when looking back? Let’s discuss.


Questions to ask when looking back


What did you do well this year?

Take a moment to reflect on - and celebrate! - your achievements and milestones.

There’s a piece of accepted wisdom that you learn much more from failure than from success.

That’s true, but that’s not to say you learn absolutely nothing from reflecting on your achievements as well. Dig deep into your wins of the year, and ask yourself: What did I do to achieve this? What skills did I use? What qualities did I capitalise on?

Analysing this will help you understand the steps you can take for next year’s goals.

What could you have done better?

Okay, now it’s time to learn from failure.

Nobody’s perfect, so ask yourself what didn’t go so well this year. Were there any goals you outlined that you didn’t ultimately meet? What challenges or obstacles did you face, and what could you have done differently?

Use this knowledge to arm yourself against the challenges you might face in 2024, and any potential mistakes you’re in danger of making.

How have you grown?

As we’ve already mentioned, growth is a key part of this process. Reflect on how and why you’ve grown this year. You don’t have to limit this to just skills and knowledge gained within work - you could also think about how you’ve grown as a person and any shifts that have taken place in your mindset.

What impact have you had?

Celebrating your success is all well and good, but what is the impact?

How have your actions over the past year impacted your life, your business, your colleagues, or even the world around you? Assess this impact before diving into next year’s goals.

Questions to ask when looking forward

We’ll dive into these questions in a moment, but before we do it’s always important to make note of the SMART Framework. This dictates that your goals should always be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Keep this SMART Goals Framework in mind when asking these questions.

What is your goal?

Starting with the most obvious question, what is your goal?

Establish your goal. For example: “I want to get better at using AI.”

Make sure you write it down, and keep it visible so you can refer back to it.

Why have you set this goal, and why is it important?

Ask yourself why you set this goal. This will help you stay motivated to achieve it, because you’ll be connected to its purpose. In our AI example, the reason might be: “I want to make sure I keep up with the ever-changing demands of my industry.”

How does your goal align with those of the wider business?

Personal, short-term goals should always link back to something bigger; be that the overall objectives of the wider business, or your own long-term aspirations.

Perhaps the goal of the business is “To be recognised as one of the most innovative businesses in our industry by the end of the year.” Your own personal goal of improving your AI skills would fit perfectly with this wider business goal.

What steps will I take to achieve the goal, and how will I measure it?

Break your goal down into smaller, achievable steps, and set a timeline for them.

Once you’ve done this, establish a few KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that will indicate whether or not you’ve achieved what you set out for. For example:

“By the end of Q1, I will have read five articles on AI.

Key Performance Indicator: Assess your understanding of these articles by explaining them to someone in your team who knows about AI.

By the end of Q2, I will have completed a short course in Chat GPT.

Key Performance Indicator: Pass the test at the end of the course. (Or, set yourself a certain grade to achieve.)

By the end of Q3, I will have used AI in three work projects.

Key Performance Indicator: How successful were the projects? How much time did I save using AI?

By the end of Q4, I will have successfully taught my colleagues how to use AI for their own work.

Key Performance Indicator: Are your colleagues able to replicate what you taught them?”

Thanks for reading our guide to goal setting. We hope this sets you up for success in 2024 - and beyond!

Don’t forget to explore Thrive Content for inspiring campaigns like this one, along with thousands of sector-specific resources.

More Stories

See all

See Thrive in action

Explore what impact Thrive could make for your team and your learners today.