ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 12, 2011

Five Steps to Effective Goal Setting


Join Cyndee Woolley, APR, and Jessica Macera for their workshop, “The Personal Branding Project — Crafting Your Identity,” on Monday, October 17, 2011 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. at the PRSA 2011 International Conference, Oct. 15–18 in Orlando, Fla.!

STEP 1: Establish Priorities
It is easy to take for granted that you are prioritizing the big things in your life, such as family, religion and career. But take a moment to think about your number one priority. Is this where you are spending the most time during the day?

For example, if your number one priority is family, and you are spending 12 hours a day tapped into work — through mobile devices or home office — are you really prioritizing your relationships? Or are you prioritizing your career?

Make a list of the top 3–5 priorities in your life, ranking them in order of importance. Each priority and its corresponding level will help guide you in setting the right goals and making the sometimes tough decisions to help you lead a rewarding life.

STEP 2: Set Goals Based on Your True Priorities
This is how we ensure that our activities are truly fulfilling and not just frivolous pursuits. It is OK to set lofty career goals. Many executives are driven by a need to solve a problem.

If your priorities are:

  • Family
  • Financial freedom
  • Career achievement

For a period, you might have to sacrifice some family time in the short term to build a career or a business that gives you the financial freedom to spend more time with your family.

However, to keep your energy and momentum, you need to make sure not to forget your first priority. Perhaps you set a short-term goal of spending meaningful time with family members, dedicating one night a week to reconnect over game night or date night.

Take a moment and write down one major goal that will support each of your priorities.

STEP 3: Be SMART
Goals should be Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. As public relations professionals, you know the value of setting specific and measureable goals for campaigns.

If you want to achieve personal goals, you should take the same approach. Perhaps you would like to be Advanced through Readiness Review by Nov. 15, 2011, and complete your Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations by Dec. 15, 2011. Or maybe, to spend meaningful time with a child, you chose to volunteer one Friday per month in their classroom.

Take each of your major goals and turn them into SMART goals.

STEP 4: Write It Down
Tom Hopkins said that goals are 1000 times more likely to be achieved if you write them down. The act of writing your goals solidifies them in your thoughts, which will affect your actions.

But writing your goals down and “filing”them away somewhere won’t help. We recommend breaking down milestones and scheduling them on your calendar. In the digital society that we live in, we often show up or do what our BlackBerries or iPhones tell us to do. Use that to your advantage by calendaring your goals.

STEP 5: Evaluate
Life is full of unexpected surprises — from economic shifts to new family members — that change who we are and what we value. At least once a year, you need to reaffirm your priorities and goals to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Readjust when necessary!


Cyndee Woolley, APR, has been practicing public relations since 2000. She has consulted with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies in building brand exposure, rebranding, strategic communications and community outreach planning. She has demonstrated leadership in the public relations industry, serving as a past-president of the Gulf Coast Chapter of PRSA and PRACC. She will be the 2012 chair-elect of the PRSA Sunshine District. She was recently named to the 2012 class of Leadership Collier. www.c2-com.com

Jessica Macera, who has a master’s in business administration, is a business management consultant and trainer. She has extensive experience in operations management and strategic planning. Her passion is developing methods for small business owners to enhance business efficiency and profitability. Macera is in the final stages of earning her doctoral degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She was recently recognized as one of the American Business Women’s Association 2011 National Top Ten Businesswomen for her professional contributions and civic involvement. www.businessdynamixsolutions.com

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