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9 Easy Tips to Set Your Career Goals

9 Easy Tips to Set Your Career Goals
9 Easy Tips to Set Your Career Goals

9 Easy Tips to Set Your Career Goals

Are you feeling lost in your career? Perhaps you need to engage in some career goal setting to get yourself on track toward fulfillment.

It’s never too late to get to grips with your career path and personal development plan. So, if you feel like you’re stagnating, don’t worry!

Setting even small short-term goals can set you on a transformational journey. Take small steps toward new skill sets, a leadership position, or even simply a better work-life balance.

In this article, we’ll break down nine easy tips to help you set your professional goals to help boost your career and life journey!

Why Do You Need To Set Goals? 🗓️🎯

Setting career goals is a great way to keep yourself on track. When you frame your career in terms of goals, it can help you make better decisions day-to-day. Your goals determine how you will spend your time and how you will act in the workplace.

This can help bring about a level of driven productivity that would be otherwise very hard to achieve.

Your goals act like signposts helping you with short-term career goals toward a broader purpose. 🪧

Let’s get straight into our tips for setting goals.

1. Visualize Your Success

imaginationThough perhaps a tad poetic, Shaw’s quote presses home the power of imagination and visualization in the achievement process. 🔮Before you set goals, analyze what it is that you truly want to achieve in your life. What is your endgame? Your raison d’etre? What does success look like to you?This is an introspective process and can relate to different elements of your work life. A common career goal is to consider salary. Yet, careers aren’t just about money. 💰🤑Is it about retiring at 50? Do you want to become a thought leader and a go-to expert in your field? Or is your priority about being happy at work and avoiding stress?This will look different to each individual.Here are a few career goal-setting examples for inspiration:
  • I want to be a Department Head in the next five years.
  • I want to be able to drop to a four-day week before I’m 40.
  • I want to earn a promotion in the next two years.
  • I want to own my own company with X employees by 2030.

2. Make SMART Goals 🎯

As you set your specific goals, remember to make them SMART goals. SMART stands for:

  • S-pecific – Concrete steps or goals will motivate you because they are not wishy-washy. They should also relate particularly to your situation.
  • M-easurable – Ensure your goal is measurable, otherwise you won’t be able to determine whether you are successful.
  • A-ttainable – Unachievable goals won’t help you – they’ll only serve to bum you out when you fail to meet them. Instead, choose goals that you can realistically achieve.
  • R-elevant – Your goals must be important to you and your professional life.
  • T-ime-based – Set a time period for your goal to provide clarity and urgency.
SMART goals

By setting yourself SMART goals, you’re creating realistic and achievable milestones that will provide the stepping stones toward fulfilling your dreams.

One study suggests that of those of us who make new year’s resolutions, a mere 19% keep them over the following two years! The explanation for this is of course complex, but often it can come down to the fact people don’t make their goals SMART.

3. Break Goals Into Steps

In goal-setting, small can translate to big success.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break down your ultimate goal into smaller tasks. This will give you time to organize your thoughts. It will also motivate you to push through and decrease your procrastination in the face of goals that are too big.

It’s critical to find the right balance here.

Your overarching goal may be long in the distance, but breaking it into small SMART goals is extremely helpful.

Those mini SMART steps are a lot less intimidating. Completing those will see you progressing toward the finish line in no time at all.

4. Find A Goal Partner🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Did you know that 84% of Fortune 500 companies have mentorship programs? The top players in the business world understand the value of sharing experience and advice in helping employees to achieve goals.

84 percent

Find a mentor or a goal partner to join you on your journey.

Having a goal partner will help you push through with your plans with the added accountability.

A mentor can offer experienced advice and encouragement if you are having a tough time. That support network can be vital if you feel overwhelmed or under pressure in your work life.

Sharing your goals with them can motivate you when you’re losing hope, and they can return you to the proper path if you’re feeling lost. Having that person to talk things through is always helpful.

They will also be your cheerleader whenever you achieve something, celebrating your successes and pushing you forward to the next step. 📣

5. Ask For Feedback 🗣️

You may be biased toward your own skills, so it’s essential to ask for feedback about your work performance. 📈

Take a performance review seriously and use it to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Ask your project manager or other superior for feedback regularly on your latest work so you can know what’s going well and where to improve.

This will help you set goals that will challenge you to excel and refine your work performance.

Always frame this as a healthy reflection and something to use going forward as you press for success. With this in mind, take criticism as constructive and don’t allow praise to go to your head. 👑

6. Read Books 📚

Another way to improve is by reading professional development books.

Ask your peers or superiors for book suggestions. There are plenty of inspirational books that many people cite as transformative in helping them think about their careers differently. A great career advice book can literally help you formulate your goals.

Alternatively, it could just be a fantastic read that fine-tunes your mindset toward work.

Check out this Forbes list of 9 books to help you achieve your career goals.

You may also research online – you’ll find plenty of self-help work gurus on social media. You can also watch videos or listen to podcasts that will help you with your career.

Find the inspiration that works for you and resonates with who you are and who you want to be.

7. Find Room For Growth

To grow in your career, ask to take on more responsibilities that will help you learn new skills. This testing yourself is critical to pressing forward.

You can help your workmates or your boss with their tasks.

In this way, you’re taking part in a collaborative work environment while giving yourself a growth opportunity.

Finding room for growth is also about pushing yourself. No one wants unattainable goals, but testing yourself can reap fantastic rewards as long as you are also prepared for setbacks.

As this Harvard Business Review article explains:

The persistent pursuit

The key there is to find room for growth but understand that failure is also part of the process.

Outside of work, consider webinars, training modules, or online courses that offer you more opportunities to learn. Hopefully, your workplace offers professional development opportunities, too.

8. Set Deadlines ⏰📆

As mentioned earlier, goals must be time-based. That’s why setting deadlines is crucial. Check and regularly reflect on how you are progressing related to your deadlines.

9. Reward Yourself 🏆🥇

Don't cheat yourself

Always take a moment to celebrate successes along your journey. Rewarding yourself is a critical part of preserving good mental health.

Most people’s career journeys feature ups and downs. Understand that everything is temporary and learn to take the good with the bad.

That means not being too hard on yourself if you encounter a setback. But, it also means enjoying the success of accomplishing a goal, no matter how small or seemingly trivial.

Learn to give yourself a pat on the back! Buy yourself a treat, cook your favorite meal, or skip leg day – whatever works for you! 🎁🍕🦵

Summing Up

Setting goals is important to boost your career and achieve your dreams. 🦸

They will serve as your guide as you navigate your working life. 🗺️

Whether it’s a salary you’re aiming for, a particular position, or just the power to choose and be flexible, you may not get anywhere without a set of goals to steer you along the way.

So make them meaningful, realistic, and personalized to you. Tick them off as you go, and good luck!