Typical career goals include attaining a higher degree, additional training or advanced skills, and some look to get into leadership and to climb the corporate ladder. Other goals are tied to a sense of freedom or adventure. You may dream of owning your own business or having a job that involves constant travel.
So we’ve come up with some steps to help you realise your ambitions.
You can apply these career-planning and goal-setting techniques at any time in your career, so don’t worry!
Picture yourself having attained your goal. What does it look and feel like? What does it enable you to achieve? Creating a clear and enticing mental picture of your goal will help motivate you to attain it.
SMART has been the go-to acronym for goal setting for several decades.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Specific is the difference between saying you want to be a successful business leader and deciding to become CEO of a company.
Measurable means you have a metric in mind that will let you know you’ve achieved your goal.
Relevant means the goal makes sense with the broader aspects of your life.
Time-Bound means you need to set a deadline for achieving the goal.
While it’s important for your goal to be attainable, you don’t want it to be too easy to get there. Make sure you challenge yourself with goals that are just outside your comfort level.
To get to your goal, you need to outline the steps. Exactly what will it take to get there? You may discover that some steps are too daunting and need to be broken down into smaller steps. Think in terms of short-term goals (6 months or so) that segue into longer-term pursuits (3 or 4 years). A good example is a career path that requires significant training. Each certificate or degree along the way is a smaller goal reached on your journey to a major goal.
Writing it down makes it real and becomes a contract with yourself that you will execute your goal.
Set up activities on a regular schedule – whether daily, weekly or monthly – that enables you to keep moving toward your goal, if only incrementally.
Stuff happens, and we are all susceptible to getting distracted along the way, which isn’t always a bad thing. You can have a perfectly worthy goal but then discover you’re actually more interested in something else.