As we enter the new year, goals are on our mind. Some goals will stick and others will be given up on early into the year. So the question is: what makes a goal successful? When it comes to career-related goals, we seem to start off strong and then as the year progresses, we start to settle back into our routine and we find ourselves in that job we’ve been trying to escape for another year until we try it all over again.
Since career-related goals are some of the most impactful to your life, let’s talk about how to make a goal achievable. If you’re like the majority of people, you have probably set goals for the coming year. But are they the right goals? Have you evaluated whether they will actually get you to where you want to go?
First, a goal should be specific. A broad aspiration such as a “new career” leaves too much room for interpretation. What career specifically? What job title? In what industry? Would you like to become a manager or would you like to be an external consultant? Giving yourself a specific goal allows you to narrow your focus and spend your time only on those activities that you move you closer to your goal.
Second, a goal should be measurable. Saying you want “more money,” while, technically, can be measured against your current salary, still isn’t specific enough. I’m guessing that you probably have a figure in mind. Saying “more money” could mean a 1% increase in salary but if you’re actually aiming for a 10% increase, obtaining a 1% salary increase will not meet your goal. With an exact number in mind, you can make sure you are only applying to positions that will meet your expectations.
Next, your goals should be achievable. You wouldn’t want to feel defeated before you even start working towards your goal. If you know the job you are looking to obtain requires a certification that you do not have, your first step should be to obtain that certification, then go after the new position. Making your goals achievable will keep the momentum swinging in the right direction.
Similarly, your goal should be relevant. Aligning your current goals with your long-term vision is important. Make sure each action step and each goal is relevant to your future aspirations.
Lastly, your goal should be time-targeted. Giving yourself a realistic deadline will ensure that you are taking the actions necessary to meet your timeframe.
Once you have composed your SMART goals, it is time to break them down into action items. These action items should also follow the SMART guidelines. Let’s take a look at an example.
Since your SMART action items are measurable, you will be able to track your progress and gain more momentum as time goes on. You will know right away if you are falling behind on your goals and be able to make the appropriate corrections to get back on track right away.
Try this method out for your job search in 2019 and let us know how it goes! We would love to hear your SMART goals and are available to help you achieve your career aspirations when it’s time to take action!