You want to get ahead in your career, now what? Push yourself forward in your personal or professional life by setting goals and then following through with them.
Setting goals can motivate and inspire you to reach for something that is important to you. These goals might lead to anything from landing a new job or securing a promotion. Goals can also provide a map of how to get from Point A to Point B in your career. No matter how big or small your goal may be there are three easy steps that you should consider.
First, visualize your future success and imagine how your life will change. Many people only focus on the outer trappings of success – e.g. the higher salary, the corner office, or the ability to manage more people. In order take on extra responsibility, identify what needs to change about you. Once you’ve decided what needs to change in your current situation, it’s time to carve out the precise details.
The second step is to start from your goal and work backwards to the first task you need complete to move yourself closer to the final goal. Think of all the tiny tasks that need to occur before you can get that promotion. You may need to learn a new skill. You may need to find a mentor within the organization who can become your champion in meetings. Or, you might need to complete an impressive project that will get the attention of your boss. If you realize you need to learn a new skill, what are some online courses you can take? Will your employer be willing to pay for the courses you take at the local college or university? By outlining the key tasks needed to reach your goals you will be able to ensure you are constantly working in the right direction.
Robert Herjavec said it best, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream”. Once you put some realistic goals in place and come up with an action plan, you will find that the gap between Point A and Point B is not as wide as you once thought. Let’s say you’d like to get a promotion within six months, Ask yourself, “What tasks from step two need to happen in the next six weeks, or, in the next three months?” Then, set achievable milestones and dates for each goal.
By assigning a timeframe or specific completion date to each action item in your action plan you will know exactly what to expect and when. Having time-bound goals will help you hold yourself accountable as long as you are also creating realistic deadlines. Ask a friend or mentor to also hold you accountable to help you stay focused on each task. As you complete each task, you move closer towards your goal. While this process may sound like hard work, it actually makes the process easier, and there’s a huge payoff at the end. You’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when you finally achieve your goal. You’ll feel better about yourself and will be ready to start setting new goals to get you one step further along in your career.