We all make New Year resolutions in our personal life, but what about our professional life? Do leaders need to make resolutions?

Being a leader should not necessarily entail resolutions, but rather establishing goals. So how does a leader come up with these goals?

1. Define goals

  • Write down your goals. This may sound simple, but it's often overlooked.
  • Block out time to think about what is important for you to focus on.
  • Ask important questions. These will help determine your goals.

2. Make a commitment

  • Being committed is important, for this will help you in being accountable to not only yourself but also others.
  • Have an action plan. This can be weekly, biweekly or even monthly. Charting what you would like to accomplish makes it more of a reality.
  • Engage others. Look to a trusted friend to help in making sure you are following through.

3. Prepare for setbacks

  • No matter how well you may plan your goals, be prepared for setbacks.
  • Revise your goals as required to work around problems that may arise.
  • Do not beat yourself up if there is a snag. Keep it positive. Negativity can seep into your organization and can undermine what you are trying to accomplish.

4. Enjoy the ride

  • As you progress through the year, reassess the initial goals and determine what are your new priorities.
  • Take time each week to hone your goals.
  • The action plan should be revised to fit any changes in your goals.

5. Involve others

  • As a leader, you will focus your goals on how to make the organization better.
  • In addition to involving a trusted friend, get others across the organization to help you.
  • By providing the initial goals, you have provided a vision for the year ahead. Let others help push through this vision, and this will produce a more cohesive environment.

Finally, goal setting is not done in a day and then put on a shelf. Goal setting is providing a vision for an organization to follow. It is decisiveness — take action, and it will go a long way.

John F. Kennedy said it best: "There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."