Whether you’re an avid believer in New Year’s resolutions or not, those first few weeks of the year usually come with a liberating feeling of a fresh start. After the busy holiday period, it’s a time to recalibrate, to get back into a work mindset and to start thinking about the personal career goals you want to achieve in the months to come.
Coming up with these goals can be pretty easy – you might want to learn a particular skill or expand your work experience – the tricky part is setting goals that are achievable – i.e. you won’t lose motivation come February.
This checklist will help set you up for success.
In a flash of new-year inspiration you might come up with a whole host of things that you want to do over the coming year, but before you commit to anything it’s important that you ask yourself how realistic your goals are. Too many of them can quickly become overwhelming, so pick your goals wisely. It may help to make a list and pick one or two priorities. Then think critically about your goal(s): ‘What does it take to reach this goal?’, ‘How challenging is it?’, ‘Is there any support I could get?’, ‘Do I have the time and financial means for it?’ Based on your answers you may have to adjust your goal or set out a longer time frame to achieve it.
Focus on what you want
When setting career goals ask yourself: ‘Is this what I want to be doing or what I think I should be doing?’ Often you will find that it’s the latter, with pressures imposed on us either by ourselves or others being the main driver behind these resolutions. For goals to be achievable the motivation for them has to come from within, i.e. your personal ambitions and aspirations that aren’t based on any external pressures. So, when setting goals always consider whether achieving them will bring you happiness and fulfilment – if the answer is ‘no’ it is likely that you’ll struggle to achieve them.
Many of us set goals without actually planning how we intend to reach them. For example, you may want to learn how to use Photoshop. Ask yourself how you intend to reach this goal: are you thinking of signing up for a course? Or would you rather teach yourself through online tutorials? Make a list of the specific actions you’ll need to take. Breaking the goal up into smaller parts like this can make it seem more manageable. Devising a schedule can also help to keep you on track and keep note of your progress.
When it comes to achieving your goals it’s important to realise that there may well be hiccups along the way, and that’s totally fine. Be nice to yourself, take failure in your stride, celebrate your successes and keep focusing on that end goal and achieving it will be that much easier.