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6 Steps to the Right Career Goal Setting

Do you know where you want to be in a year? Where do you see yourself in five years?

If you have been in an interview at least once, this question should be familiar to you.

This question is typically asked to give the interviewer an understanding of your career ambitions. Being a determined person with future goals is a positive signal for employers, as it shows your desire to learn, grow and flourish as a professional. So, if you are already thinking about your future plans, that’s a great start.

However, the key to success is wise goal-setting. If you have specific career goals in place, they will guide you in the right direction and help you clarify what you need to do in order to achieve what you truly want. The truth is that you must be assiduous to accomplish your goals and the right career goal setting can help you a lot!

Here are six steps to help you set and achieve your career goals:

1. Understand your needs

Although navigating through your career might be obvious to you, it’s important to know the exact directions for your development in the business environment. For instance, you can either expand your knowledge or make it deeper. If you work as an social media marketing manager, for example, you can expand your knowledge when you try to understand other fields of the digital marketing (Google ads, blogs). At the same time, you can make your knowledge deeper if you follow Facebook trends and adapt your pages to them, communicate with other professionals to learn from them, etc.

And it is your choice that takes roots in your mind, ideas, and thoughts. The correlation between your needs and career goals is great and the better you know what you want, the faster you can achieve it. Thus, before setting the right career goals, understand your needs.

2. Construct challenging goals

Career aims should help you keep on developing as a professional, so it’s a good idea to make challenging goals for yourself. This will help you discover your full potential and even boost your self-confidence, which means beating your competitors.

Scientists claim that visualization is important when it comes to goal setting, as seeing is believing, so you’d better prepare a presentation where you can write down all your goals. Add photos or images of the final version of your goal if possible, as this will make the visualization process stronger and make your career goals even clearer.

3. Add a timeframe

Most workers know about the method of S.M.A.R.T. goals, and one of its main principles is to set timeframes. The biggest reason for it is that you have a virtual deadline which keeps you on the track. Most successful companies ask their employees to set career goals annually as this period is enough to achieve what you’ve made up. However, don’t forget to be objective as some of your goals might need more time than you believe. Thus, you can ask your boss or colleagues for a feedback or help, especially if these people have achieved what you want.

4. Track your progress

Knowing that you’re on the right path toward your goals is important, so you need to track your progress. The smaller goals you have, the easier it is to work on them. In addition, once you realize you make a good progress, it motivates you to work not only harder but smarter as well. Doubtless, it gives you self-satisfaction as successful people love to know that they are moving the right direction.

To form the habit of tracking your progress, understand what works best for you: to-do lists, monthly reports, spreadsheets or written forms. No matter what you choose, the main idea is to understand that your efforts are valuable and give results.

5. Stay motivated

Without motivation, how far can you go?

Motivation is a driver when it comes to boosting productivity in achieving goals. Although all people are different and we all have different motivators, it’s important to find out what stimulates you to move toward your goals. It can be something mental or material, but it should inspire you every time you’re about to procrastinate on working.

A mental motivator could be achieving a new level in your career, getting respect from your colleagues, impressing your boss or earning an outstanding professional reputation. On the other hand, a material motivator could be an increase in your salary due to achieving your goal. Or it could be treating yourself to something once your goal is complete, like a sweet treat or a new designer jacket. Basically, mental motivation is something which you can merit while material motivation is something connected to money or a material object.

Never forget to reward yourself. It’s a great feeling to treat yourself after putting tremendous efforts into accomplishing your goal.

6. Go the limit

You’re in charge of your life and everything that goes on around you is the result of your decisions. Go the limit, take challenging tasks and grow as a professional to achieve more. It’s a world-known fact that people spend one third of their lifetime at work, so having a good career that makes you happy is highly important and goals can help you a lot.

The beginning of the new year is a perfect time for goal setting. Capture opportunities around you and become a better person.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you reach your professional goals? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Lale Byquist

Lale Byquist studies media communications as she believes that it’s a core principle of humans’ interactions and can help her achieve career success. She runs, a website where she shares her tips on overcoming the fear of speaking in public. Plus, she wants to become a prospective careerist, so she reads a lot about the business environment.

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