With a new year almost around the corner, it’s exciting to imagine all the opportunities that await us. But most opportunities, especially in our professional careers, don’t just drop into our laps. We have to work to create and achieve new goals in order to keep advancing and be successful.
This is easier said than done. In fact, a study showed that 42.4% of those who set New Year’s resolutions say they fail on their resolutions every year. So what can you do to help ensure that you can reach your professional goals?
In a previous article, we outlined three main steps to set meaningful goals:
- Identify inconsistencies
- Define your values
- Attach your goals to values
We also discussed a few exercises to help you identify your values and areas where you can set new goals for yourself. We talked about:
- The Life Balance Wheel (For a free copy of our easy-to-use tool, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the New Year’s Worksheet.)
- A peak experience in your life
Click here to review them now! You will also want to have your notes on hand because it is time to attach your goals to values.
When there is a value attached to a goal, it provides you with powerful motivation to accomplish your goal. Instead of arbitrarily choosing something you think might be helpful, you have taken the time to identify what is important to you at your core. You are sure that the goal will be beneficial to you because it involves values you want to honor and contributes to your life balance.
Now, take out your list of wanted improvements from your Life Balance Wheel exercise and your notes from your peak experience exercise. Try to match the things you want to improve on to your personal values. You may find that some of your goals can be grouped together to match a single personal value. And you may discover that new goals emerge from comparing your notes.
Note: Make sure you take sufficient time to think through your list and identify the value or values behind them. Don’t be afraid of writing down anything and everything that comes to your mind while you work on this exercise. It’s important to put it all in writing and you can organize and prioritize your notes later.
(If you need help matching your goals to your values, we would love to help! Schedule a free Career Strategy Session today!)
Now from your list, choose the two values that are most important to you. What can you do this week to start honoring those values? Set one goal for each value. Write down your goals and place them where you will be reminded of them.
To provide a little more motivation, take a few moments to visualize what your life would look like when you take those action steps? What would it look like if you didn’t take action?
When setting goals, it’s also important to:
- Be specific. Instead of generalizing your goals, get as detailed as possible. For example, don’t just say you want to be more productive, say you will start prioritizing your workload every week/morning to make sure you are tackling the most important tasks.
- Set a timeframe. One big problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they get lost in an undefined timeframe. Instead of saying next year you want to have a bigger impact on your team, say “Next week I will choose an article to share with my teammates that can help us be more effective.”
- Make sure they are measurable. Another problem with goals is that if they are too farfetched or long-term, you can get discouraged. If you want to be an astronaut, determine what short-term goals you can accomplish in the next few months. For example, study and get your pilot’s license. You also may need to get additional schooling.
Once you have defined your goals, it may be helpful to find an accountability partner. Someone who will help you stay on track and share your experience with you. Agree to check in with each other on your goals after a certain time frame, perhaps every 3-6 months. Discuss what is working and what isn’t working.
You may find you need to make some adjustments on your journey to reach your goals. And once you have reached a goal, go back to your notes and pick the next goal on your list.