It’s a new year, and I’m guessing each of you have 2016 goals crafted in some form or another. Whether they’re written in a place where you see them every morning or tucked away as more of a mental checklist, now is the time of year where we tend to focus on what matters most to us. Likely, many of you have heard of writing SMART goals; that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. I would like to further encourage you to develop STRONG goals, in addition to SMART goals.

In developing plans for your future, it’s critical to consider your strengths and how those unique talents combine together to meet your desired outcomes. The research at the Gallup Organization proves that, “people succeed when they focus on what they do best.” Their data further supports that people who use their strengths every day are:

– Six times more likely to be engaged on the job

– Three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life and

– Teams who receive strengths feedback have 12.5% greater productivity and 8.9% greater profitability.

It’s time to be clear about what makes you tick in order to really dial it in to create customized goals for you to knock out of the park this year. One way to uncover your strengths is by taking an online assessment to discover your natural talents and how you can further develop them. For a small $15 investment (seriously, that’s less than the cost of dinner most places), you can complete the Clifton StrengthsFinder® online and receive customized reports on your strengths in addition to the bestselling StrengthsFinder 2.0 e-book. There’s also an assessment tailored to entrepreneurial talents called the Entrepreneurial Profile (EP10). Gallup’s EP10 includes a personalized report ranking each of the 10 scientifically proven talents of successful entrepreneurs.

All too often, we center our goals and development plans on areas of weakness and lower potential, thus leading to a decreased likelihood of success. This year, I challenge you to take a closer look at your natural talents and how you might strengthen those skills to better your business. For more information on building your strengths, visit www.gallupstrengthscenter.com.

You join me in digging into your StrengthsFinder® and EP10 results while goal setting, and I’ll join you in digging out my gym membership from my workout bag and healthy vegetables from the freezer. Here’s to a smart and strong 2016!