We all want something. There’s some desired result that we seek, and often these things we aspire to relate to our professional life. Whether it’s a raise or a promotion you have your eyes set on, goals are the one thing that will help you get there. But how do you go about establishing goals when what you want feels out of reach? It all starts with goal setting.
Why Set Goals
Without setting goals, those thoughts in your head of all the things you want to accomplish are more like hopes and dreams. When you set a goal, you solidify what you want. Goals motivate and inspire us to be the best version of ourselves, and goal-setting is taking the steps to determine what can be done to achieve your goals. It’s the action plan that takes a pulse on where you currently are, where you want to be, and what you can do to fill in the gaps between the two.
Four Steps to Jump Start Your Goals
So how can you get a head start on crushing your 2022 goals? Start here.
Set SMART goals
When setting your goals, be sure to make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. Creating SMART goals sets you up for success, provides a clear focus for your efforts, and increases your chances of achieving your goals. Here’s a breakdown of the SMART criteria to follow to meet your goals.
- Specific: Make your goal clear and defined. Get as precise as you can.
- Measurable: Identify the criteria you need to meet to show progress toward and achievement of your goal.
- Achievable: Make sure you have the resources and abilities to achieve your goal. If you don’t currently, set a goal to obtain those first.
- Realistic: Ensure that the results of your goal can be realistically achieved.
- Timely: Include a timeline for your goal and identify when you’d like to achieve your goal.
Write Them Down
A Harvard Business School conducted a study using graduates of their MBA program. Those who wrote down their goals ended up earning ten times as much as their fellow graduates only ten years after graduation. What differentiated this population of graduates was that they had clear, written down goals and plans to accomplish them. This little activity of writing down your goals can make a huge difference.
One thing is always inevitable, and that’s change. So when life throws a curveball your way, or you find yourself in a new season of life, give yourself the grace to be flexible. Goals will adapt as you grow and change as a person, and that’s 100% normal. Be flexible if you need to adjust your long-term plan or put your short-term goal on hold because other priorities have come up. The great thing about goals is that they are yours! They can evolve and iterate as you see fit.
Achieving goals, especially hard ones, takes perseverance. Most goals require dedication (and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears) to see progress and ultimately achieve your desired results. Remember, all good things take time, so keep going. Don’t throw in the towel when the going gets tough. You’ve got this!