Happy New Year! It is the time of year when people take a look at the past year and consider the possibilities for the next. Some people will set “New Year’s Resolutions”, I prefer to set goals. Whether your goals are personal, professional or career related; you need to take the time to reflect on what it is you truly want to achieve. There are important factors in setting goals. In school I was taught to use the SMART system. For those that have not heard about SMART it is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time. All five of these steps are important. If you set a goal that is so unrealistic the chances of achieving are so small, you are setting yourself up to fail. Failure will derail the overall goal. So here are some tips to help you set your career goals.
Talk with your supervisor or Manager
Tell them where you want to be in 1, 2 or 5 years from now. Ask them what steps you need to take to get there. Let’s say you want to be a Manager, but right now you are a Data Entry Clerk. There may be courses that you need to take or different skills you need to acquire. Finding out what those are and then setting up goals to achieve them is the best place to start.
Take baby steps
Don’t try to say that you will achieve everything this year. It is important that you set realistic goals for yourself. Maybe start with one or two courses, or go to professional meetings. Whatever your supervisor or manager suggested that you do, separate it into smaller pieces so that they become easier to achieve. Trying to do too much at one time is a sure way to fail.
Quality is better than Quantity
Focus yourself on not just achieving, but exceeding your goals. Sure getting them all done faster will show your bosses you are hungry, but if the results or sloppy or less than expected it will not help you. Take your time to really focus on the result of each step.
The most important part of setting goals is to feel successful. When you achieve one step you gain more momentum towards the next step. Take your time, focus properly, enjoy what you are doing and do not lose the passion. Career goals can take time and in many cases the ultimate desired result will be 3-5 years down the road.