How to Set Effective Goals

December 11, 2018
Charlotte Dougall
Charlotte Dougall

Founder of Blether, helping small businesses do big things online.

It might be a bit of a cliche to talk about setting goals as the new year creeps closer, but there’s no denying that a new year makes for a great time to outline some new goals and targets. When setting goals, either on a personal basis or professionally, it can be all too easy to jot down some vague targets and leave them to gather dust. If you want to learn more about setting better goals that you’ll actually achieve, then read on…


You’ve got to love an easy acronym, and when setting your goals it’s essential to always keep SMART in mind. Effective goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. These five factors are great building blocks for setting goals that work for you. Being specific helps avoid those vague “get better at selling myself” kind of goals, and adding a clear way to measure what you want to achieve will make it easier to see when you’ve hit your targets. Obviously, you want things to be achievable and relevant, then adding the timescale element will help factor your goals into your planning for the year.

For example, I want to achieve a 10% increase in website conversions by the end of 2019

Knowing What’s Important

What matters to you and your business won’t necessarily be the same as what matters to other people, so it’s important to focus on what’s relevant to you and know what will actually make a difference to your life or business. Hitting thousands of page views on your site or gaining tens of thousands of followers is all well and good, but shallow top-level metrics like those don’t always make that much of an impact in the long run.

For example, instead of setting a goal to hit a specific number of subscribers for your email list, try focusing on increasing the number of opens or the click-through rates.

Be Flexible

Things can, and will, change. No one can predict the future, or else we’d all be rich by now. Whilst setting goals and planning ahead is a great thing to do, it’s vital not to get too bogged down in the details if things don’t go to plan. There’s nothing wrong with being able to adapt and change your focus as situations change, and the things that feel important to you at the start of the year might not matter at all come the end of 2019.

Find Some Balance

Goals can work to your advantage in all parts of your life, so it’s great to find a balance between professional goals and personal goals. Life isn’t all about working, and your goals should reflect that too!

Make Them Memorable

Your goals are going to influence your game plan for the rest of the year, which means you should be keeping them in mind as much as you can and using them as the basis for your annual plans. Write them down somewhere that’s easy to see and give yourself a reminder of what you’re setting out to achieve whenever you’re feeling a bit lost or demotivated.

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