7 Ways to Set Achievable Career Goals
First, take an idea, a hope, a dream. Next, turn that idea into a goal. Finally, turn that goal into reality.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
The truth is, it can be! But how do you get there? Well, the first step is taking your wildest dreams and making them into concrete, achievable goals. Taking some time to truly think about and focus on your goals helps to make the process of actually chasing these goals much simpler and more straightforward.
Use these seven helpful strategies to make sure that your goals don’t just stay goals forever, but instead turn into your exciting career reality!
Make Goals Measurable
“Vague goals” is practically a synonym for “goals which you’ll end up abandoning”. It’s frighteningly easy to start saying to yourself “I don’t know how to get there. Plus, how will I even know when I’ve arrived? What’s the point?” That way lies nothing but disappointment.
Nip these thoughts in the bud by focusing on making your goals as concrete as possible. Don’t just say “I want a job in this industry” or “I want a promotion” or “I want to start my own business”.
Break down each goal into small pieces. Include things which can be measured, such as making a certain number of sales or completing a particular professional development course. Lay out a timeline of when you want to complete each successive career step. Check off each step as you pass it so that you can see just how far you’ve come!
Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge Yourself
Too many people think that “setting achievable goals” must mean “setting easy goals”. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, when you set goals which are on the challenging side, you are more likely to remain motivated and continue progressing towards your desired outcome.
Each challenging goal you overcome will leave you feeling more confident than ever before. Your belief in yourself will skyrocket as you prove over and over that you can do anything you set your mind to!
Seek Professional Feedback
Another common misconception about the goal-setting process is that you have to do it all by yourself. No way! Seeking professional advice and feedback on your goals is one of the best steps which you can take on your self-development journey.
The best person to consult in this situation is a career coach. They can assist with both of the steps described above – listening to your ideas and helping break down your larger goals into more concrete steps. They can also advise you on every step of the job search process, from how to write the perfect resume to what to wear to an interview.
In addition, a career coach will make you aware of opportunities in your desired industry which you might never have discovered through relying entirely on your own research.
Network, Network, NETWORK!
Building a network of connections within your industry will not only help you achieve your existing goals, but will give you ideas for new goals to set as your career continues to progress. Speaking with industry professionals will introduce you to steps you can take and opportunities you can experience which you might not otherwise have heard of.
Each person takes a different path through the working world, but every single one of us sets goals to help ourselves along the way. Learning more about the goals and journeys of others in your industry will greatly inform and influence your own.
Give Yourself Constant Reminders
Career-focused entrepreneurs are busy people – it’s surprisingly easy for even the most important of tasks and responsibilities to slip our mind. You might think that your major professional goals are immune from being “lost in the shuffle” of daily life, but sadly, that’s far from true.
Combat this by putting reminders around your office and living space of your current goal or step. Write yourself Post-It notes and stick them on your mirror. Program alarms and alerts into your phone. The more that your goal becomes a regular part of your everyday surroundings, the more likely it is to remain at the forefront of your mind.
Learn to Love the To-Do List
The humble to-do list is arguably the most powerful tool in any goal-setter’s toolbox. It combines many of the tactics described above, including constant reminders, breaking larger goals into smaller steps, and focusing on one achievable outcome at a time.
Plus, there are few things more satisfying than crossing yet another item off your to-do list. Whether you’re a pen, paper or whiteboard person or a technology fan, make sure your list is stored in a safe, easy to access place. Nowadays, there are even apps which will sort and color-code your list for you – why not give one of them a try?
Make Self-Care a Goal, Too!
Finally, make sure that “take care of yourself” is always, always, ALWAYS one of the goals on your list. It can be tempting to want to focus on pursuing your career-related goals at all times, but that’s the quickest way to end up totally stuck. A healthy, happy, well-cared-for individual is much more likely to be productive and make progress than one who is completely burnt out.
Some examples of achievable self-care related goals which you can set for yourself include: exercising regularly, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and pursuing your hobbies and other non-work related interests. You can even mix it up with some “fun” goals, such as trying out a new restaurant or making time to catch up with friends!
So don’t wait another minute. Take the next step today, and start moving from “I have a dream” to “I have a goal, and I know exactly what I need to do to reach it”. Pretty soon, those goals which may have seemed so far away in the past will become your reality!