Calibration is the process of configuring an instrument to provide a result within an acceptable range. Over time, there is a tendency for results and accuracy to “drift,” therefore regular calibration checks are necessary. This same process can be said of setting goals to achieve the balance of personal and professional life.

Evaluate: Step one is to assess the status quo. Consider all areas of work and life — mental, physical and emotional. In evaluating yourself, consider the achievements of your role models especially those who have achieved success in areas important to you. Consider their plans, motivations and results to determine whether your actions will achieve your results. Finally, evaluate the support you will need, whether at home or professionally. Determine the support you can count on to help set priorities and find focus. A strong evaluation of your current progress, actions and goals will provide a solid foundation for the next steps in planning for the New Year.

Repair: There are a number of reasons you may not be reaching your goals. Have you truly focused and made them a priority? Are they attainable? Are you failing because you’ve overstretched your limits or true abilities? Are you utilizing the right resources? After failure or lack of ability to achieve your set goals, it’s time to repair what you’ve set in front of you. Be realistic in all aspects of a goal: time, ability, available resources and what you can control. If your goals continue to intimidate you in a way that makes them seem completely out of reach, it is time to step back, refocus and repair your set plan.

Adjust/fine-tune: Once you’ve identified what to repair, make the necessary adjustments to your goals to fit your skill set and what can realistically be met. Do you need to supplement your goals with more training? Do you have the right mentor to guide you? Are you trying to accomplish too much in too short a timeframe? Adjust and move on to polishing those goals. 

Polish: After you have adjusted your goals, keep them in front of you, perhaps with a computer-based diary, a milestone reminder on your calendar or a vision board. Sharing your goals with your mentor, coworkers or family also can help. You are the only person standing in the way of reaching your goals. Consider enhancing your motivation to reach your goals by adding self-rewards along away. It’s OK to pat yourself on the back!   

Regulate: Re-evaluate your goals at least quarterly. Priorities will change based on life experiences and changes in the workplace. What previously seemed attractive or relevant may not carry the same weight moving forward. Consider letting go of those goals. Goals should not be huge and unattainable. Once you’ve established your goals, set your plan to achieve those goals at the same time when your motivation is at its best.  

Lastly, it’s OK to say no! All too often we put our lives on hold, and sacrifice our personal and professional goals to help others, but that only hurts us in the end.