We all have things we want to accomplish in all aspects of life, and career is possibly the most prominent. Unfortunately, for many people, it’s common to forget about those career aspirations and get lost in the flow of day-to-day tasks. But reaching those aspirations is what will bring you more happiness and success not only in your career but in all aspects of life. Luckily, getting there is all about knowing how to set effective career goals and the best ways to achieve them.
Whether you want a new career, a raise, or to enhance to a higher position, it’s all possible when you know how to set and crush career goals. If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, you’re in the right place. We’ve got all you need to know on setting career goals and achieving them, right here.
Why You Should Set Goals
If you’re wondering why wanting something isn't enough and why you need to set goals to turn what you want into reality, look no further. Setting goals takes what you want to the next level and builds the foundation of achievement. Here’s how:
Destination and Direction
Successful entrepreneurs and business owners, top-level athletes, and high-end achievers all set goals, because career goals provide a clear destination to work towards. When you set a goal, you can envision what your life will look like when you reach that goal, and that gives you the destination to work toward and the direction to get you there.
When you set specific career goals, you know exactly what you’re working toward and can stop wasting time and energy on tasks that don’t move you towards your goal. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve enhances your focus on the steps to get there.
Goals, when set correctly, create accountability. Without a sense of accountability, it’s easy to push things aside or make the wrong priorities.
When you set goals, you connect to what you desire most deeply. When you’ve figured out what you want most, you’ll experience a boost in motivation to get there.
The Best You
Without goals, it’s easy to fall into a complacent routine with little focus on growth. But, when you set goals, you reach your highest potential and give yourself the opportunity to live your best life. Setting goals gives you more to work towards, more to strive for, and more to achieve. With these goals, you’ll never settle for anything less than what you want and deserve.
How To Set Career Goals
Career goals are essential to success, but not all career goals are created equal. There's a way to set effective career goals, and the steps below will get you there.
Understand Your Start Point
Before you can set realistic and effective career goals, take a hard look at your current situation. Sometimes this can be hard, but it’s essential to be honest with yourself in this step. Remember, if you find you’re not happy with where you are, that’s fine because you’re about to change it.
Some questions to ask yourself during this first step are:
Get Real And Clear About What You Want
Once you understand where you are on your career path, put time and thought into where you want to go. Where you want to see yourself in the future isn’t a decision to be rushed for and requires careful consideration.
Don’t just set goals but tie them to every other component of your life. The more meaning you give a goal, the easier that goal becomes to achieve. For each major goal, connect a “why” to it, so you really connect with your career goals.
Set SMART Goals
A proven way of setting effective goals is by using the SMART method. This method allows you to make more achievable goals by ensuring that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Here’s how the acronym break down applies to your goals:
Never be vague with your goals, set clear and well-defined goals for maximum achievement. Setting goals that give you a precise destination make it easier to get there. For example, if you’re working on writing a book, instead of setting your goal as “write every day” set it to “writing 1,000 words each day”.
If you can’t measure your goals, then you can't know how well you’re moving towards them. When you set your goals, try to keep these questions in mind.
While setting ambitious goals are great, and you should have some if most of your goals have destinations that are too far from your starting place, the motivation to reaching them can be scarce. When you set career goals, focus on goals that are attainable in a relatively short amount of time.
If you have big goals that can’t fully be achieved until further in the future, break them down into more attainable steps along the way. While it’s best to set attainable goals, your goals should still challenge you. Remember, nothing good comes easily.
Make sure the goals you set apply to the life and career you want. This might sound like a no-brainer, but setting goals that don’t directly push you towards the growth you want in your life and career can lead you to feel burnt out through putting all your focus in the wrong place.
For optimal success, your goals need to have a time frame. When do you want to reach your goals by? Once you know your time frame, stop thinking I want to reach my goal by then and think I must reach my goal by then. This creates a sense of urgency that pushes you toward your task and has you achieving it faster.
10 Ways To Achieve Your Career Goals
Now that we’ve covered how to set your career goals, let's look at some tips on achieving them.
Write Your Goals Down
Writing your goals down has been proven to help you remember them and achieve them. When you write your goals down, you solidify them and give them more power. So when you’ve figured out your career goals, set them in stone by writing them down.
Break Your Goals Down
Big goals are great, but sometimes facing a big goal head-on can be overwhelming. To keep from feeling overwhelmed break your big goals into smaller steps that can be achieved more easily and in a more timely manner.
When you break your goals down into smaller steps, you’ll have a faster sense of accomplishment with each step you accomplish. This will give you tons of motivation to keep going until you achieve your big goal.
Creating deadlines for your goals gives you laser focus, more direction, and accountability. Without deadlines, you might keep pushing your goals off and end up never achieving them. Set deadlines for all our goals, so you have a clear and organized path to success.
Prioritize and Manage Your Time
Time management is essential to reaching career goals, and it’s important to find a balance between work and personal life. Make sure always to prioritize tasks that move you towards your career goals over other tasks. And while you’re focusing on your career goals, schedule downtime to rest and refuel.
Accountability is one of the greatest motivators to reaching a goal. If you know being accountable to yourself is enough, then writing your goals and deadlines for yourself can be enough.
But, if you work better with outside accountability, share your goals and deadlines with friends, colleagues, and family. Knowing other people will be watching and rooting for your progress will give you an extra push and motivation to achieve your goals.
Track Your Progress
Sometimes people make progress towards their goals without even knowing it and not knowing you’re progressing can make it hard to find motivation. When you set measurable goals, you’re able to track your progress on the way to those goals. Make time to periodically check in with yourself on a weekly or monthly basis to track your progress.
When you track your progress, seeing how far along you are on your way to your goals will help keep you motivated. If you find you’re not progressing as well as you’d like, tracking your progress gives you the opportunity to make adjustments in your process.
Set Milestones and Reward Yourself
On the way to your big goals, set milestones for smaller accomplishments. When you achieve these accomplishments that move you closer and closer to your end career goals, reward yourself. This is a great way to keep motivation up. Depending on your milestones, rewards can be big or small.
Big things take time to create, so practice patience with your goals. Remember, “Rome was not built in a day” and neither will your career success. Expecting to reach your goals overnight will only let you down. Setting milestones and rewarding yourself as mentioned above are great ways to help with patience.
Whatever your career goals are, today information about everything is readily available. Whatever you are trying to achieve, do the research. By looking deeper into the career goals you want to achieve, you’ll likely find great advice, resources, tools, and methods that will help you reach them faster.
Listen to Feedback
As you make your way toward your goals, try to stay open to feedback. While sometimes feedback can be hard to hear if you tackle it from the right perspective feedback is invaluable. Use feedback to see what you are doing well, and what needs improvement.
Whatever your career goals are you can accomplish them. With the tips in this article, you’re ready to set practical goals and crush them. Your best life is within reach, and it's time to grab it!