You have big goals next year. Make sure you set out to achieve them in a way that works for your brain.
If you're a left-brained thinker who behaves in a calm, focused manner, read another article. You already think rationally, schedule fastidiously, document your objectives clearly, and check them off your list. So stop reading this already.
For the rest of you--the right-brainers, the multi-modal people, who are known to be gregarious and abstract thinkers--pay attention.
You need to set big goals in 2013. You already know that. The challenge for you is to turn those big goals into action, keep yourself accountable, and do what you say you're going to do.
You have the ability to do this, but, the truth is, when it comes to setting goals, especially in business, it's a left-brained and logical, process-oriented, structured world.
Your challenge is that you're not going about goal setting and goal attainment in a way that aligns with the way your brain works.
You've been coached on goals the old way:
1. Write down your goals.
The stats even back up how important this is. People who write down goals are 33% more likely to achieve them!
2. Cull a detailed, organized list.
Tie your goals to specific dates with smaller deliverables every step along the way.
3. Make each goal SMART.
SMART goals are specific, meaningful, achievable, relevant, and timely.
These steps are useful--for left-brainers. They won't work for you. You probably wrote down a careful list of SMART goals, but how many times did you look at it? Are you still even working on the same goals you wrote at the beginning of the year (or even the day)? I doubt it.
The key for you--an outgoing right-brainer--is to look deeper at what your goals are about. Give yourself manageable and actionable deliverables that will result in productivity. And tap into your brain.
If you're a social thinker, record your goals on paper, but also in conversations and interactions with other people. Have others keep you on task. It's amazing how well this works and you'll actually enjoy it!
If you're conceptual, writing down goals probably seems pointless. Instead, dream big and trick your brain by thinking of your goals as a vision for the future. Draw a metaphor of your goals and revisit those images frequently.
If you tend to think in a multi-faceted way, you'll find many different goal-setting models helpful. Don't be constrained to one; instead experiment with many to find the best (or a few strong) fits.
In addition to how you think, know your natural behavior propensity, and set goals that match it, to help you succeed at your goals.
If you're quiet, you're probably perfectly comfortable writing down your list and personally checking it. But if you're more on the gregarious end of the spectrum, you should use that fact to your advantage--get others involved with your goals, and ask for their help. Be loud about what you want to achieve.
If, however, you have a competitive and driving personality, try not to push objectives purely for the sake of it. Or if you're more of an amiable person, create goals that will make a difference, and commit to doing them even if you rock the boat.
When it comes to flexibility, if you prefer clearly-defined situations, you probably already know that goal setting comes naturally--just make sure you revisit goals frequently to know if and when you need to change something to achieve them. If, on the other hand, you're comfortable with flux and welcome change, goal-setting probably seems tough. Use your adaptability as a strength; since you're open to new things, try out different goal-setting styles to hone in on the right path.
Goals are made to propel you to be successful. Use your brain to achieve big things in 2013!
GEIL BROWNING is founder of Emergenetics International, an organizational development firm in the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands. She co-created the Emergenetics Profile, a psychometric thinking and behavioral workplace assessment. @Emergenetics_