It’s almost the New Year and you might have some resolutions to set. Don’t bother. Here’s why. New Year’s resolutions are usually restrictive and rigid. They are a decision to do or not to do something. They are simply a list of “I shall” and “I shall nots”. If you don’t or you do, you lose your resolve. You fail and you give up.

Almost nobody sticks to their New Year’s resolutions. Studies show that 80% of people fail within a month, with less than 8% actually following through. We are not suggesting that you should not have ambitions to improve yourself, your business or your lifestyle. You should have higher aspirations. So set goals, not resolutions!

Keep in mind that…

Goals are not rigid.

Goals provide direction and motivation for you to achieve your dreams or a desired outcome.

Goals require setting your intentions.

Goals require planning and preparation.

Goals can be broken down into smaller, actionable steps.

Goals require action.

Goals are not static.

Goals need a timeline.

Be SMART about goals

Often, we set ourselves up for failure by setting general and unrealistic goals. SMART is an acronym associated with goal making. SMART goals are commonly attributed to Peter Drucker's Management by Objectives concept. The first known use of the term was in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. More recently, Paul J. Meyer, a businessman, author and founder of Success Motivation International, described the characteristics of SMART goals in his book, "Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond."

So what makes a goal SMART?

A SMART goal is…


SMART goals are not general. Be specific about what it is you want to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it, how you are going to accomplish it and by when.


You should be able to measure your progress. If you don’t have criteria for measuring your progress, how will you know if you are on track? To make your goal measurable, you should know what, how many, how much and by when. You should have indicators that will let you know that you are on track and when you have achieved your goal.


Your goals should not be lofty. They should make you feel challenged, but should not be unachievable. Ask yourself if you have the resources and capabilities to actually achieve your goal. Remember, your goals should be attainable.


Your goal should be realistic enough that you can achieve it within the time you have available and your available resources. If not, you need to ask yourself if you can realistically commit to it.


Your goal should have a timeline – a start and a finish date. If not, it is open-ended and you will have no sense of urgency to reach it. Set a deadline and know by when you want to achieve your goal.

Beyond goal setting

Using the Neuro-Linguistic Processing Model (NLP Model), you can venture beyond goal setting into the actual “programming” of your mind to drive you towards your goals. It is based on the premise that your unconscious mind is your strongest ally and it will work for you. That’s right! You can tap into your unconscious and programme your mind to drive you towards your desired goal.

Humans are sensory beings and our brains function around what we see, hear and feel. The NLP goal setting model seeks to harness this by making our goal setting sensory specific. As language also drives much of what we perceive, how we react, our understanding and experiences, the NLP model also seeks to ensure that we speak to ourselves in such a way that we can drive our neurology and physiology towards achieving our desired goals.

So, the NLP Model is very much about concentrating intensively on what we feel, hear and see, and then directing our attention towards the external and internal resources that we need to achieve our goal. Essentially, this model helps you to focus more clearly about moving from your present state to a desired state. You describe where you are and where you want to be with specificity around what will you see, hear and feel when you achieve your goal.

Also known as the Well-Formed Outcome Model, the NLP Model provides these components:

1. Stating the goal in positive terms.

2. Specify the goal in sensory-based terms.

3. Specify the goal in a way that you find compelling.

4. Run a Quality Control Check on the goal to ensure balance in all areas of your life, work life and community.

5. Ensure the goal can be self-initiated and maintained.

6. State the context of the goal.

7. State the resources needed to achieve the goal.

8. Evidence procedure. You can read more about utilising this model here

Best of both

It’s up to you to decide which of these models you want to use to ramp up your chances of achieving your goals. Perhaps you would like to try both?

The structure and systematic approach of the SMART goal setting model should help you to clearly define your goals and the steps to achieving the results you want, while the NLP model will help you to tap into the power of your senses to drive your very neurology to meet the desired state in which you want to be. Your mind is tremendously powerful. Be careful what you think and the language you use with yourself.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your value. Your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi.

The next steps

Are you ready to progress your career? Click here to book a free strategy session today!

Strategy Session Blog Cover


Written by ActionCOACH April 17, 2024
ActionCOACH is recognised as the creator and most successful practitioner of business and executive coaching methodology that offers owners and managers a new perspective on their businesses and companies.