21 Dec 2023 Career Goals: How to Define and Conquer Them
Ah, the start of a brand new year. Everything is possible and you have a clean slate ahead to reach your goals and accomplish your dreams.
It’s important to set career and work goals for yourself from time to time — it can help keep you focused and motivated and, in the worst case scenario, it can help you know when it’s time to consider making a change.
Here’s how to determine what your career goals should be for 2023 and how to help make sure you achieve them.
- Think SMART from the start. This isn’t just about being intelligent and wise in your goals, setting things that matter to you and will help you in the long run. SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, meaning that they are targeted goals, ones towards which you can measure your progress and which are achievable and pertinent to your job and your longer-term career, and with deadlines. Using these parameters, the goals you set for yourself will have a purpose and will keep you focused, knowing that you’re working for something specific and not something more hypothetical or intangible.
- Write them down. This might seem obvious, but do it anyway. Write down your specific goals. Keep them somewhere you can see them, easily and quickly, as a visual reminder of what you’re working toward and what you need — and want — to do. You don’t want to lose sight, literally or figuratively, of your expectations and hopes for the year. It’s a good way to stay motivated, by remembering what you promised yourself you were working to achieve.
- Break it down. To keep things manageable and clear, make your goals incremental. Break things up. Set interim goals for one month, six months and a year out. Go weekly or quarterly if that helps too! This helps you understand in a more granular way whether you’re making progress or if you’re running into trouble and falling behind. This is why measurable goals are important — being able to track means you’re able to know quickly whether you’re on the right track.
- If things get overwhelming, focus on one goal at a time. Sometimes life gets messy and complicated and loud, making it hard to concentrate. Multitasking becomes a hindrance, not a help, at these times. When this happens and you find yourself struggling to focus on trying to achieve several things at once, change your approach. Pick one goal, the one that’s the most timely or the most important in that moment, and put your efforts there. When you’ve met your next incremental achievement, shift to something else, knowing you’ll come back to that goal later. You might fall behind on other goals while focusing on the one, but each will have a turn to be the center of your attention.
- Celebrate your wins. Each time you cross a threshold or hit a benchmark, acknowledge how far you’ve come. No one sets out to run a marathon and completes one in record time right away. First you need to work up to running around the block, then running a mile, then two, then five, and so on. When you run your first mile, remember that you couldn’t do that before. The same is true for your work goals: Something might be on your list that you can’t do right now but you want to learn. The first time you master a skill that’s on your list, take a moment to appreciate that. Give yourself a treat of some kind, whatever works and serves as both a reward and a motivation. It’ll feel great!
The year is new and there’s plenty of time ahead of you. Where do you want to be? Figure it out. Write it down. Then get to work making your goals your accomplishments. You can do anything you put your mind to!
If you’re finding, however, that things aren’t working out and it’s not due to any lack of effort on your part, it might be time to make a change. If that’s the case, call LeadingEdge Personnel. We have a full roster of jobs that are up for grabs and one might be just the ticket to helping you advance your career and achieve those goals. When you’re ready to start your job search, LeadingEdge can help!