We've been doing a lot of work here at Blueleaf HQ on goal-setting and focusing on what we want to achieve in the coming year, both as a company and as individuals. There's always a lot of talk at the start of a new year about setting resolutions, with most of it focused on why resolutions don't work. And to be honest, I would tend to agree.

The main reason I believe that resolutions don't work is that they tend to be too vague - something along the lines of "I want to lose weight", so have you achieved that goal as soon as you've lost 1lb in weight? Or "I want to increase the sales coming in from my website", so 1 extra sale would be enough?

You might have heard about setting SMART goals and this helps to set the parameters for the goal so you know when you've achieved it. Sorry if we're teaching you to suck eggs here, but it's worth revisiting what SMART means:

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Achievable

R - Realistic

T - Timed

So, an example of a SMART goal for your business might be 'By September 2012, I will have improved our website's conversion by 25%". It's specific and measurable - increasing conversion of the website by 25%. Is the goal achievable and realistic? Well, that really depends on what the current conversion is but that's something only you can judge! And it's definitely timed - the goal could even be broken down into smaller goals to be achieved every week or month, to make it feel more achievable.

Another concept we've been looking at is having 3 words to focus on for the year ahead, inspired by our Digital Director Rob and his following of Chris Brogan. We're all in the process of coming up with our 3 words - or in some cases 5 or 6 words as it can be quite difficult to narrow it down! Having just a few words to think about every day really helps to focus the mind - find out more on Chris Brogan's website http://www.chrisbrogan.com/3words2012/. This principle can also work really well in a business world, for example if you're planning a new website, thinking about 3 words that will sum up what a successful website looks like for you can really help define the goal and help you focus on what you want to achieve.

So, have a think about your goals for the year ahead - both for yourself and your business - and make sure they're SMART!