If you want to achieve your goals, you have to set them - this also applies to your career. But how do you make sure those goals are actually realistic and achievable? All too often we set vague goals like "I'm going to get fit" or "I'm going to earn more money", which aren't helpful because they don't tell us how we're going to achieve the goal or exactly what they mean.
In this article, we will go through the steps needed to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic/Time-bound) goals so that your career dreams can become a reality.
Setting visions and SMART goals
Many never achieve their goals because they don't really know what they want. Be clear about what exactly you want to achieve and why. Ask yourself right now: What do I want most in my life? Why do I want this? What would make me happier and more satisfied? It can be helpful to review the past year to appreciate all that happened and the lessons it brought. Whether it was the best year or a rather difficult one.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
These are the five characteristics that all good goals should have. This is how you set them:
• Write down your goal in the form of an achievement statement that you want to achieve this year (or this quarter).
• Take some time to think about how you can make your goal more specific than just "done". What does it mean that something is done? How will you know when it is done? Will there be evidence of completion when it is achieved?
• Think about what metrics or measurements you can use to determine if your goal has been successfully achieved - for example, if you set a weight loss goal, what number on the scale would indicate success? If you set a charity fundraising target for which there is evidence from previous years, again consider what figures are most important - how many people have been helped in the past, and how much money has been raised over the same periods."
I recommend to set a couple of measurable goals. It is best to set short- and long-term goals, which you can achieve in 3 months or at the end of the year, for example.
Set a deadline for each goal
It is important to set a deadline for each goal. Not only will this motivate you, but it will also help you stay on track and ensure that your goals don't get out of hand.
How to set a deadline:
• Set how much time you need to complete your project or realistically reach your goal (and not just based on a perceived eternity). Remember that most of us overestimate our own abilities, so plan for five or six weeks (rather than three) for particularly large projects.
• Write down the date by which you want to complete this task or reach this milestone as an important goal in itself - and then write down exactly when it needs to be completed by for other reasons too (e.g. if it is before another event or deadline).
Make sure, however, that your goals are based on the process itself more than on a specific event: In short, the journey is (sometimes) the destination!
Make a plan
Once you've decided that the time is right and you're ready to start your plan, it's time to make it. The first step in creating a goal setting plan is to decide what should be included in it
• First, think about the time period you want your goals to cover (e.g. one year or five years).
• Then decide what kind of goals you want to set: personal, professional/career, financial or other (e.g. health).
• Then ask yourself what will help you stay motivated and on track when things get tough - e.g. having someone to help you track progress, or building rewards into the process itself (e.g. "Every time I reach this milestone, I will treat myself").
Once these things are clarified, it is time to take some actionable steps towards achieving these goals.
Record your progress and share it with others
You should also share your goals with other people. This can be done via social media or email, but I prefer face-to-face meetings because then you can really get concrete feedback from the other person. They might ask questions that help you clarify your thoughts, and they might have suggestions on how you can do what you want to achieve better.
You should also find someone to hold you accountable in achieving your goals. It might be a friend or family member, but it could also be someone from another area of your life, such as a boss or colleague, who notices when something is not going according to plan - especially if those goals are so important that they are close to their heart! It doesn't matter if that person has been successful before; what matters is if they care enough to help others succeed so that even if their own life doesn't improve as much as yours when everything is going perfectly, at least it's not because no one cared enough to help along the way....
Find people who can support you and hold you accountable
If there are things that need to be done, it is wise to ask for help. You don't want to set yourself the goal of writing a book and then not finish it because your work schedule is too full or life gets in the way. Find a group of people who will support you in achieving your goals and help each other.
Of course, you should not make your own goals dependent on others - but don't be afraid to ask others for help, because people with similar goals and interests can serve as great motivators. Especially if you keep up with each other regularly and support each other in achieving your goals.
Good advice on where to start and how to set goals
Now that you've learned how to set goals, it's time to start! Take a few minutes today to think about what is most important to you right now. Then write those goals down and start working towards them so they can become a reality in 2023!
Still looking for a career where you can realise your goals? You've come to the right place - contact my friendly Talent Attraction colleagues and me if you're interested in an exciting job in the recruitment industry - or browse our current vacancies here!