The Importance of Achieving Career Goals Every Year
Let me ask you - what is the most important thing you can do in your career?
A lot of people would say it's to get promoted. If you're not getting promoted, then maybe it's to get a raise. But what if neither of those things are happening? What if you're stuck in the same job, working with the same people, and seeing no change in your career trajectory?
What if, instead of waiting for promotions or raises to come your way, you could make them happen yourself? What if you could take matters into your own hands and take control of your career?
It's possible! You just need to set some goals for yourself—and then make sure they happen.
So what do you want your career to look like next year? Get clarity and make a plan in three simple steps:
Step 1. Time to get clear
Write down three things:
1) How do you want to feel about your job? (e.g., challenged, fulfilled, excited)
2) What do you want to accomplish in terms of concrete results (e.g., get a bonus, get assigned to a specific project, take on more responsibilities)
3) Create an actionable plan that will help you achieve these goals (e.g., by pushing forward
innovative ideas and solutions, getting more engaged in team calls, getting more exposure at work, networking in your field)
Step 2. Get planning
Once you get to the part of writing out your goals, do it the SMART way:
If this is a new acronym for you or you need a little refresher, we have a free helpful goal setting template that can walk you through the steps. Grab it below.
Taking the time to write out your goals in a SMART way will give you much-needed clarity. It's like creating a path for yourself to follow, which then makes it very easy to assess how far along you've come. Or whether you've veered off-path at some point.
Step 3. Do the work
The first two steps are meant to give you the clarity and confidence, but the third step is to put in some actual work. If one of your goals is to get promoted and that requires gaining specific skills and competencies, then you need to make sure you put aside time each day to learn or practice those.
In other words - you need to develop daily habits that support your goals. Some ways to do that are:
Ask for 1 hour learning time per week at work, which you will use to get better at your job.
Start 30 minutes earlier each morning and read one article on a topic related to your field.
Request to be included in a work project that will get you exposed to new colleagues or will help you practice a new skill.
Read one personal development book each month and make a plan to apply what you've learned.
Join a professional network or an online group (LinkedIn is a great place for that) where you can connect to other professionals in your field.
Setting attainable goals every year is the best way to make sure you stay focused on the things that matter, and thus to prioritize your long-term career objectives in a useful way. Whether you are trying to advance in your current company, or trying to secure a position at an alternative company altogether, goals can provide the focus needed to carry out your career strategies.
And if this is the year you decide to make a switch and start a career in Learning and Development - make sure you read our free guide Start a Career in L&D, full of practical tips.