The start of each year marks a time of new resolutions for many of us. Losing weight, more exercise, or saving money for a trip are common vows. But, this also is the time to do something for yourself that will help you for the rest of the year.


This is the best time to take a step back and make sure you have set your career and life goals for the remainder of the year. Goal setting is a crucial exercise for career reinvention, your job search, and personal branding. Yet, many of us don’t set career or life goals.


Goal setting is important because it helps you clarify what you want, identify what distractions might be blocking your success, motivate you, and leads to success, increased income, and greater career/life happiness.


Here are 10 steps to help you set your goals:


1. Create a list of what you want to accomplish in your life.

Write down everything you want to accomplish in the next 10 years. Be sure to include goals for your career, education, professional development, community service, family activities, general health, and financial commitments.


2. Prioritize your goals by time frame.

Go back to the list you just created and break the goals into three smaller time frames—the next 12 months (short term), two to five years (medium term), and six to 10 years (longer term). This will help you focus on your most important and timely, short-term goals.


3. Rewrite your short-term goals in SMART goal format.

SMART goals are specific, stating what you are trying to accomplish and why. They are measurable, stating how you will measure progress. And, they must be attainable, relevant, realistic, and timely.


4. Put your goals in obvious places, and review them daily.

This will become a daily reminder of what you are trying to accomplish. Spend a minute every day in front of your list of goals and read them to yourself. Review your goals regularly and revise them if you reach them too easily, or if they are too difficult.


5. Identify the obstacles to achieving your goals.

What will get in the way of you achieving your goals? Often, it is a factor that is internally focused. Ask yourself: What is that limiting factor for you? And, what within yourself is holding you back?


6. Identify the knowledge, skills, and competencies you need to achieve your goals.

Identify what one skill, if you developed it, would have the greatest impact on your life or career. Begin working each day on the one skill, if you developed it and did it consistently, that would help you achieve your most important goal.


7. Identify the support team you need to achieve your goals.

To achieve big goals, you will need the help and support of many people. Identify the family members, work colleagues, and mentors you will need. You also could include your coach, an industry consultant, and professional associates.


8. Celebrate Successes.

Take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having reached a goal. Treat yourself to something to mark the accomplishment. You do not have to spend a lot of money. Relishing your successes will help boost your confidence.


9. Organize your 12-month goals into smaller steps.

The more detailed you can be in outlining your activities, the more you will accomplish in less time. Plan the next 12 months, month by month. For each month, list two or three activities that you must accomplish that would have the most profound impact on the bigger picture.


10. Take action every day.

Lots of baby steps add up to big goals. If you are having a very busy week at work, don’t beat yourself up. Just try to do one little thing each day that will keep the momentum going and keep you moving forward.