Re-setting your career goals – it’s not just for the New Year

steps-to-goalSo now that we’ve rounded the corner and are headed into the second half of the year, you might have decided it’s time to hit the Reset button and rethink some of those goals that you set at the beginning of the new year. Whether you’ve decided to look at your goals with new eyes or wipe the slate clean and start over, all the various approaches to goal-setting agree that the best way to make progress is to make progress toward your goal part of your everyday life, instead of something you visit occasionally. Here are some tips to keep you on track:

  1. Consider whether this goal is something you care about. If you haven’t been working toward your goals on a regular basis, it might be that your goals aren’t something you’re excited about or that really matters to you. Consider what you want – not what you *think* you should want – and set your goals based on that.
  2. Do a reality check. Do you have the information and resources you need to achieve your goal? If not, identify what you’re missing and make overcoming those obstacles part of your goal. Be specific and you’ll have an easier time visualizing and achieving your desired outcomes.
  3. Keep track of your progress. Consider how often you want to work toward your goal, based on how complex it is, how important it is, and your overall time frame, and pick a way to keep yourself on track. An app? A spreadsheet? A notepad and pen?  A Goal Buddy that keeps you accountable? Make checking in on your progress a part of your regular routine and keep your commitments to yourself. Setting a goal helps reinforce that you have control over your life and can achieve things based on your own efforts, which can be very powerful motivator when you’re in the midst of a job search or career change full of factors that you can’t control.
  4. Break your goal into manageable, measurable, and realistic pieces. Having smaller goals along the way to bigger goals will help keep your goals in the front of your mind and make sure that you’re making progress. Build on small successes – and remember that demonstrating success in one part of your life can translate into greater probability of success in other parts of your life.
  5. Keep it positive. Put your goals in positive terms so you see it as something to reach for, rather than something you have to avoid. Be sure to reward yourself for sticking to your goals (but not by straying from them!)  As you progress and reach your milestones, you’ll find that you’re more motivated to continue working toward your larger goal based on the successes you’ve had along the way.

We tend to look at setting goals during certain parts of the year, like birthdays or the new year. Don’t feel that you have to wait for a specific time or starting point to get going; there will never be a perfect time to start. By setting goals that you care about and not expecting perfection, you’re more likely to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and take control of your career path.

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