After the fireworks and champagne on New Year's Eve, most people will consider setting a list of resolutions to start the new year right. Whether it’s hitting the gym or spending more time with family, this habit can set the tone for the coming months. In the world of PR, setting achievable goals and planning for the future is equally meaningful, so meaningful in fact, that it can’t wait until January. That’s right: in order to make your goals a reality, you should use fall as the benchmark to pave the way for an even better January and beyond. Here are a few tips to help you get a jumpstart on your yearly planning.

 

Identify measurable goals

It sounds simple, but without saying you want to read 30 books a year, you might never do it. The same straightforward approach should be taken with your brand or messaging goals for the new year. Another important step? Make sure your objectives are measurable. Don’t simply say, ‘I’d like to read more,’ or ‘we’d like to improve our reputation,’ set a goal where you can track progress and gauge success.

 

Like a hyper-competitive athlete, your measurements should also include comparison points. You need to show an increase over something, whether that happens to be you or your competitor. Doing this will provide much-needed context when you’re assessing your next moves — where you stand in terms of achievement can make all the difference for the future. 

 

Define the “how”

We’ve all heard the saying “easier said than done,” and this is especially true for goals. In order to make sure your goals aren’t disappearing into thin air, come up with an actionable plan. This will break down your objectives into steps that can be delegated and later assessed, which can help you see a goal through to completion. Even knowing which tools to use in assessment, like using survey to measure awareness goals, and social tools to gather information about specific engagement or shares, can be part of identifying the steps that can make ideas reality.

 

Break down your silo

Sometimes people might not understand your goals — give up chocolate? But why! — but it’s important that you remember to explain what you’re looking to do across departments and teams. For some, this can be a daunting task, but remembering to work together can give you valuable information and can earn you intradepartmental buy-in as you pursue your goals.

 

Compile + report

Finally, as you start thinking about the new year now, it’s also important to take a peek at the past. Make sure you compile your findings and present them in ways that can be easily understood. This could be as simple as using a ‘here’s what we did and here’s what we need to do’ format. By calling attention to any persisting pain points or really driving home successes, you can use the past as benchmark for understanding the story of your data and goals and strategize for the future.

 

Even though holiday decorations might frustrate us by showing up in stores earlier and earlier, it’s a good idea to adopt the new year mentality now and start planning for your future goals. With an action plan and the right assessment tools, you can create a map that will make your new objectives as easily identifiable as your old ones. So grab your calendar and get planning!