2024 is nearly upon us. Many individuals are entering the new year with optimism and sketching out their resolutions. The desire to improve is laudable and should be encouraged. But, what’s the best way to approach growth? While a resolution emphasizes your internal drive, a goal focuses on an external achievement. Both are ultimately necessary for change, but framing something as a goal is a more positive approach. It helps you keep your eyes on the prize.

Prepare for success by measuring your goal by these three guidelines:

1. Measurable. Make your goal targeted and specific. How will you know when you’ve achieved your objective? Be concrete and detailed. Write your goal down for ongoing encouragement and evaluation.

2. Reasonable. Choose an incremental goal. It’s probably not realistic that you’ll become fluent in Mandarin this year, but perhaps you could use a language app twice per week to grow in your conversation skills with your overseas colleagues before the international symposium next year.

3. Iterative. Set monthly reminders in your calendar to check in on your goal. Don’t be afraid to adjust your expectations or redouble your efforts as the year moves on. The goal is progress, not perfection.