Are you reaching your annual goals? Here’s how to follow-up

The beginning of every year is often filled with optimism about what is to come — we create resolutions and set goals to ensure we’re successful in every facet of life and business.

In the workplace, those goals are most effective when backed by strategy, creating a plan of action, a roadmap if you will, that will get you to your destination. Creating a well-balanced vision of where you want your business to be at the end of the year is key to success. But if you don’t assess how you’re performing throughout the year, the likelihood you will detour from your plan and fall short of your goals increases.

Here are a few ways you can make sure you are on the right path:

Measure. An integral piece of any business or personal goal is to make it measurable. Want to make more money this year? Set a goal to increase revenue by 10%. If you’re eager to see student growth in testing, set your sights on a 5% increase students’ test scores. Simply need to exercise more? Set a goal for the number of miles you need to walk every week. Being specific about your goals will help you determine what tools and actions you need to get there, and will allow you to measure your progress as you move throughout the year.

Re-evaluate. You’ve measured. And you’re simply not getting close. What to do? It’s common, and quite possible, that you’ve set an unrealistic goal. Being optimistic about what you can achieve is a great quality. But sometimes, if you’re slowly progressing or not progressing at all, you should take a step back and say, “Maybe this goal is too lofty.” It’s OK to change your goal or strategy mid-year to make it more attainable. Oversetting goals can be counterproductive and damaging to a business culture, according to business writer Ted Harro — making failure more excusable and acceptable.

Recommit. Now that you know where you stand against your expectations, and you’ve reevaluated whether they are reasonable, simply saying out loud you’re committed to your goal can help rejuvenate your efforts. Keep your goals visible, on your desk or in a common work area, to help keep you and your team motivated. Read them loud regularly. Communicate to your team your passion for achieving these milestones. And if your team is motivated by competition, make it one! Developing and fostering successful habits, and ensuring your team has the resources to achieve the goals you’ve set, is imperative to attaining your goals.

Relax. Setting goals and measuring yourself against your expectations can be an anxiety-ridden process. But it doesn’t have to be. Allow the exercise of goal-setting motivate and inspire you in the workplace. Do not allow it to force you into a pattern of being overworked and stressed. These negative traits will work against you as you try to achieve your goals — keeping you tired, burnt out, and pessimistic. If you feel these things happening, you may need to go back to step 2 and re-evaluate whether your goal is achievable. And you absolutely should make sure you are paying attention to work-life balance. Get outside, take a walk, and bring your mind back to center so you can be your most productive.