The Best YOU: Reflect on 2012, Prepare for a Brilliant 2013

I used to hate goals. I thought they were silly and pointless, something that people only talked about to make themselves feel better.

But as I’ve developed professionally, I’ve had a change of heart. I can admit now that goals have a wonderful purpose. Today, I am good at setting weekly goals for myself or my team, goals for a trip, or a meeting. But I have a confession: I still struggle when thinking about my long-term goals, or even goals for 2013.


I recently heard a Swedish saying about goals:

“Aim for the stars and you hit the treetops. Aim for the treetops and you will never get there.”

Goals help us dream and succeed, to be our best selves. But as Yeshasvini Ramaswamy – a successful entrepreneur and founder of a leadership audit firm in India – so insightfully told me in a recent interview:

“Tell me what you think, but something I’ve believed is that we are more scared of our success than of our failure. But forget all your limitations – this is all [we] can do. Tell your own mind, ‘You shut up!’ We are so scared if we have everything – the talent, the will, so we become lazy sometimes and use as an excuse. But I want to be successful and create a difference. It is not about me; it is about the jobs I generate and the jobs I help.”

Why can that be so scary? I think that is true for myself, and it is only something I’ve come to see this past year. Where does it come from? Best-selling author and Forbes contributor Barbara Stanny wrote a great piece on this topic earlier this the year called, “The #1 Reason We Self-Sabotage.”


I also recently connected with Maja Jelisic Cooper, a highly successful entrepreneur, founder and CEO of a major tv network from Croatia, who has a very direct and fearless approach to goal setting:

“When setting your goals, you should keep in mind that your goals should be realistic and doable, but at the same time ambitious enough to get you where you would like to be. It is important that you can quantify your goals and measure the results. For example if you would like to increase your revenue, you should set % by which you would like to do it by certain time (e.g. you would like to increase your revenue by 30% by the end of 2013) or place $ value, the same counts for cutting the cost and the expansion (e.g. expansion to xy markets).”

I try to set my goals using “SMART” principle: making my goals Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time defined.

“I try to set my goals using “SMART” principle: making my goals Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time defined. Creating a budget and each month checking projected and actual figures makes your goals very measurable and forces you to keep a close eye on your progress. This also enables you to make adjustments as needed and keep pushing yourself and your team to achieve those goals.”

Interestly enough, in my interview with Yeshasvini she said something else that struck me, “I haven’t planned out my life and that’s why I’ve been so successful.”

I think there is a beautiful truth in that statement. However, I would venture to say I think Yeshasvini keeps that belief in tension with setting goals for where she is and wants to go in business, all the while being open to what comes along in life in general – not planning it all out. I think this is a healthy, appealing approach: don’t plan out your life, but set goals along the way to help get you to where you want to go, to achieve your dreams.


In closing, we encourage you to set some time aside in the next two weeks to reflect on 2012. I have done this by making two lists:

  1. “My strengths/Things I am most proud of in 2012”
  2. “My weaknesses/Where I can improve in 2013”

I thought about the year, the good and bad, what went well, what didn’t, why, and how I can sharpen my skills in 2013; I am going to share this list with my boss, and also encourage one of my team’s to do the same and share it with each other.


How do you set goals? How will you reflect on 2012? How are you preparing for 2013? What advice would you have for women like me who are learning how to set better goals for 2013? (Please share your advice or comment below).

These next two weeks we will continue to highlight women from around the world who have good advice on goal setting, who are strong examples of success to women everywhere, reflect on 2012, and prepare together for a brilliant 2013!

Erin Risner

Director of Community Engagement

Writer. Creative. Brand Strategist. Content Curator. Social Media and Marketing Maven. Passionate about connecting with women around the world and telling their success stories.