2017 Goals

Before You Set 2017 Goals, Do This.

I’ve heard the sentiment everywhere:

“I can’t wait to say GOODBYE to 2016 and start over in 2017”.

Fair enough. For me, 2016 has been among the most volatile years in my life. High highs and low lows both personally and professionally.

I love the new year because it’s a logical point in time to reflect, re-evaluate, and re-set.

This is also the time of year that all the “SMART Goals” posts come out. This is not a post about SMART goals.

If you haven’t heard the acronym, it stands for setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. I’ve heard the advice so often I do not even know where it originated.

This is sound advice. Plus it fits into a nice little acronym that is easy to remember. In fact, I just recalled it from memory for this article.

However, like with most acronyms and generic advice, it leaves a lot out.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you set your 2017 SMART goals:


Is this something you can consciously work toward every single day? This year I was floored when I read “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Read this book. It’s short and it will change your life.

The basic takeaway is so simple to understand and so difficult to implement. To achieve success you need to pour your focus into your ONE THING. For every additional focus point you incorporate into your life, the less likely you are to achieve anything.

However, if you are able to focus on your “one thing” every single day, you will be amazed by the results. This doesn’t mean that you give up eating, bathing, and leisure to achieve your goal (please don’t). Instead if you can take a chunk of time to make baby-steps every single day you can achieve extraordinary results.

Read the book. It’s pure gold.

What’s your “quick win”? This is my favorite goal setting advice. I firmly believe that success in any goal is a result of MOMENTUM. The way to build momentum is starting with a quick win. This is something very small, quick, and tangible that gets you started on your journey.

What’s the first step to your goal? If you can’t get that done THIS week than find a simpler first step.

If your goal is weight loss, you might consider counting your calories this week. If your goal is getting a new job or internship, send out some emails to your network this week asking for a meeting. These tiny first steps start to build momentum.

When you do them you build confidence which will keep you going through the tough times toward your goal.

Who are you going to tell? DO NOT tell everyone. There is a funny phenomenon when we start telling everyone about our dreams, goals, aspirations and ideas. You start to gain satisfaction just in saying it out loud.

Pretty soon, you are gaining so much satisfaction from talking about what you want to do that you don’t feel the drive to actually DO IT.

Also, the paralyzing fear of failure starts to creep in. You start to think “maybe I’ll fail and everyone will know I tried and failed”. This thinking makes action even less likely.

Instead, strategically choose 2-3 people to tell about your goal. HOWEVER, only bring it up to them when you have an action plan and make sure you are asking them for accountability to your action plan. This will give you added accountability without the false satisfaction of just talking about all of the things you want to do someday.

What are your goals for 2017? Have more than one? If so, I would consider narrowing your focus to just “one thing”. Then, commit to making baby steps toward that goal every day, give yourself a quick win, and have a couple people hold you accountable.

If you’re like me, you have some goals that have been on the list for multiple years. Let’s cross ONE of them off this year. I look forward to hearing about your progress!

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.