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Written by Jason DiNunno | @jasondinunno

10 Goal Setting Tips for Business Owners: How to Set Powerful Goals & Position Yourself for More Success in 2017

Happy New Year! With 2016 behind us and a New Year on the horizon, it’s a good time to take stock of the past year’s successes and challenges – and to set some goals for the coming year. Taking the time to set powerful goals for yourself (and maybe your business and your team) can be a powerful way to:

  • Focus your energy, efforts and resources
  • Overcome short- and/or long-term obstacles that may be holding you back
  • Improve and grow professionally.

As you get started thinking about and setting professional goals for the New Year, here are some invaluable tips to guide you along the way:

1. Use the SMART method – SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. Using these criteria to set professional goals can help you choose clear, quantifiable and achievable goals that pertain to your professional development or the growth of your business by a specific deadline. In other words, the SMART method can not only help you choose the right goals, but it can also set you up for success when it comes to achieving those goals.


goal setting tips SMART meaning


2. Set goals that will push you – While you want your goals to be attainable, don’t be too conservative by setting the bar too low.  Setting ‘easy’ goals won’t push you to grow, learn or professionally develop. Instead, focus on goals that will push you out of your comfort zone and will force you to think, learn, work, network, and advance in new and exciting ways.

3. Suspend negative thinking – Overcoming patterns of negative thinking – like That’s impossible or I shouldn’t bother trying because I can’t do it – is central to setting (and achieving) goals that matter. So, don’t fall into the negative thinking trap when setting or working towards your goals. Adopt a “can do” attitude. When a challenge or hurdle arises that sends you back into a negative thought pattern, think critically about the specific factor(s) that may have tripped up progress – and what you can do to circumvent, resolve or move past the factor(s) (both now and in the future).



4. Don’t overload yourself with too many goals – Setting too many goals can prevent you from being able to focus on – or accomplish – any of your goals. So, focus on a few key goals. This will help you avoid setting yourself up for failure.

5. Prioritize your goals – Going along with the above tip, it’s not only important to focus on a few key goals. It’s also critical that you prioritize the few goals that you do set for yourself. If your goals are a series of accomplishments that may build on each other, prioritizing them can be straightforward. If, however, you’ve set goals that are more independent of each other, determine which goal is the most crucial, which is the most achievable, and which offers the biggest benefits. Weigh out these factors to prioritize your goals.


goal setting tips prioritize goals


6. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable steps – This will make a bigger goal easier to digest. It can also provide you with a roadmap that highlights the exact steps you need to take in order to move towards achieving your goal.

7. Keep your goal list visible – In other words, write down your goals (and maybe even the smaller steps you need to take in order to accomplish the larger goal). Keep this list in a place where you will regularly see it. This visual reminder can be a powerful motivator, helping to keep you accountable and working towards your goals.

8. Set up a schedule for regularly reviewing or checking in on your goals – Pick a series of dates when you will commit to revisiting your goal list and checking in on your progress. Put these dates on your calendar, and consider setting up an “alert” for yourself so you know when a check-in date is coming up. This can enhance your accountability and push you to work through procrastination (or any other obstacle) that may hinder progress.



9. Share your goal list with others – This is another way to hold yourself accountable. If you tell others’ about your goals (particularly professionals whom you respect), you’ll be more motivated to keep the ball rolling (because you may have to answer to one or more of those professionals later – especially if they are part of your goal or they may stand to benefit from it).

10. Don’t forget about personal goals – Complement your professional goals by setting a few personal goals for yourself. This can help you balance your professional life while giving you the energy to continue to focus on your professional goals and development.


A Few More Helpful Goal Setting Tips

  • Dedicate time for your goal setting session. Don’t try to set goals on the fly or while you’re doing something else. Instead, set aside a specific period of time for this effort. You may even want to dedicate at least two sessions to this (giving yourself some time to think and refine your ideas and goals between the first and second session).
  • Make sure you have quiet, uninterrupted time during your goal setting session(s) so you can fully focus. Turn off your cellphone, and limit any distractions.
  • Don’t set goals that are based on “all or nothing” terms. This can be another setup for failure.
  • Incentivize yourself. Set up a “reward” that you can enjoy when you achieve certain smaller steps towards a bigger goal.


goal setting tips bigger goals

Goal Setting: A Final Thought

Taking the time to set professional goals for yourself – and using the right tools to help yourself focus on achieving them – can be pivotal to growing your career and/or your business. It can also raise your confidence while energizing and inspiring you, as well as your team and/or colleagues.

What are your professional goals for the New Year? Do you have other tips or strategies for goal setting? Tell me more in the comments below or on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. And don’t hesitate to contact me to talk about setting goals for your brand’s digital marketing efforts in the New Year!

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Jason DiNunno
Jason DiNunno,