Setting goals gives your life direction and is the process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you to choose in which direction your life will go and by planning ahead and setting goals, will help you to achieve the end goal.
There are a few people out there who are fortunate enough to have found the right career and made a great success of it without much planning, but for the majority of us, we do not just wake up one day to find that our dream job and ideal career has just landed in our laps. Finding the right career and making a success of it, takes planning, determination and goal setting.
The average person spends more than half of their waking hours every day working so for this reason it’s really important to enjoy what you do for a living, and in order for this to happen you are going to have to plan ahead, set goals and work very hard at achieving them.
Setting both long term and short term goals, is essential to succeed in your career. It gives you the ability to organize both your time and the resources available to you, in order to make the most of your career.
Creating a plan and setting goals will create the road map that will take you from choosing a career to succeeding in your career. Just as going on a road trip with no map may result in your getting lost and not arriving at your desired destination, having no map for your career may also result in your getting lost and not obtaining your desired end result.
Setting a long term goal, and then breaking this down into smaller achievable short term goals which work towards your long term goal, will help you to get where you want to go. Always ensure that the goals that you have set are achievable so as not to become despondent. Goal setting is an essential part of the career planning process.
Keep the following in mind when setting goals:
- Make sure your goals are specific. Make sure you set a clear path as to where you want to go, and that your goals are very specific. Saying “I want to succeed” is not enough, you need to break down exactly what your idea of success is.
- Write your goals down. Putting pen to paper is the first step in turning your goals from wishes into realities. By writing your goals down helps to create a commitment on your part, and helps to define them in your mind.
- Set long term goals. When goal planning start with your long-term goals, or things you hope to accomplish in the distant future — say, in five years or more.
- Set short term goals. Once you have thought about where you want to be a few years down the line, it is important to shorten the scope and think about the things you should be doing now in order to achieve those long-term plans.
- Ensure you are able to measure the outcome of your goals. Your goals need to be clearly defined and you must ensure that you set a time period in order to achieve these goals.
- Ensure your goals are realistic and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure and negativity; ensure that all your goals are achievable and realistic. Setting goals takes much time, energy, and effort and if you haven’t set realistic targets for yourself, you may feel discouraged. Make sure you are realistic when setting goals. Always keep your strengths and weaknesses in mind in order to keep things realistic. You can always develop your skills but also take into consideration where you are naturally talented and where your weaknesses are.
- Share your goals. Share your goals with those close to you, whether it’s family or close friends. Talking about your goals helps us to get a better idea of what we want to do. Often those you share with can come up with good ideas and suggestions that you may not have thought of.
- Be flexible when setting goals. If things do not go according to plan and you come up with obstacles you need to be able to find your way around these. Being flexible is important for success, if you find that a goal that you thought was achievable is no longer, then plan according to this and be flexible.
- Ensure your goals are achievable with a time period. Ensure you create a timespan in order to meet your goals, setting time periods and trying to achieve your goals within this period is important.
- Periodically assess your goals and progress. Every now and then take the time to evaluate your progress, focus on where you may not be achieving your goals, and evaluate how you can improve things. Where you have failed to reach a goal, can teach you valuable lessons for future goal setting. As you evaluate your goals you will be able to make changes based on experience and your work circumstances.
Goal setting will help you to achieve what you have set out to achieve in your career, one step at a time. They help you to move forward in a positive way.