A vital element for any successful career is setting professional goals. Both long-term and short-term career goals will help you develop a roadmap that will guide you in everything from choosing a career to achieving success. In this post, we’ll discuss ways you can formulate goals that you can stick to and achieve to advance your career in 2018.
7 Tips for Setting Your 2018 Professional Goals
1. Be specific.
It’s not enough to simply say your goal is to be successful. Define exactly what success means to you. Do you want to become the CEO of your company or do you want to earn a certain amount of money? Do you define success as becoming a thought leader in your industry or do you define success by earning a good living while also having time for your family?
2. Your goals must be both measurable and motivational.
If your goal is to become CEO of your company, that’s a measurable goal. However, if your heart isn’t in it and you’re not willing to devote 16-hour days to achieving it, you won’t be motivated to work toward your goal. On the other hand, if your goal is to balance work and family, you may have the motivation, but if your goal is not specific, how will you know when you’ve achieved success? Ensure that your goals include both of these elements.
3. Your goals should be realistic but also optimistic.
Your long-term goals must be consistent with your abilities and skills. If you’re 5’4”, it’s unlikely you will become a star player in the NBA. However, setting a goal to land a job in professional sports, as a trainer, sportscaster, or marketer, for example, may be realistic if you have the education and experience, and it’s an optimistic goal that can motivate you to succeed.
4. Set a timeline.
An open-ended goal is really just a wish. Instead of setting a goal of someday earning a Master’s degree, set a realistic timeline for doing so.
5. Make an action plan.
For each of your goals, you should have a specific action plan with steps tied to achieving your goal according to your timeline.
6. Be flexible.
While it’s important to be firm about your goals, as well as how and when you will achieve them, recognize that events may occur that are unforeseen and not within your control. What’s important is that you not allow yourself to be derailed. Modify your plan, if necessary, by changing your timeline or even changing your goals. You may decide that it’s more important for you to pursue a different goal than originally planned. Don’t abandon your goals, but stay flexible enough to adjust your roadmap, if needed.
7. Write it down.
The act of physically writing down your goals will help you to embrace them and view them as real. Ensure that your goals are stated in positive terms. “I will become CEO of my company within 10 years.” “I will establish myself as a thought leader in the industry before the next annual conference.” Also write down your action plan for each of your goals.
It’s important to view goal setting as part of your professional development. Your written goals and action plan will be a living document that may change as certain goals are achieved or modified. Your goals may need to be adjusted due to life circumstances or changing interests. What’s important is to set goals that can serve as a roadmap for your career and increase your opportunities to be successful.