Goal setting is a technique used by professionals in all fields, from successful business leaders to top athletes. By setting clearly defined goals, you can measure and monitor your progress carefully while remaining focused on what you’re trying to achieve. Setting goals gives you long term vision and short term motivation.
Start with the end in mind.
First, identify the large-scale and long term goals that you want to achieve e.g. your ideal job. This gives you the overall perspective that shapes other aspects of your decision making and planning.
Next, break these down into smaller targets that you must hit to reach your long term goals e.g. Skills you need to obtain, the next role you need to achieve, or securing interviews.
When you’re setting goals (long or short term) you can make them more effective by making them SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. SMART goals will help you create and implement a successful plan to reach your target and stay focused.
Your goal must be specific enough to keep you on track. A vague goal is like having no goal at all. Think about the what, why and how. What are you going to do? Why is this important to do at this time? What do you want to accomplish? And how are you going to do it?
To be effective your goal must be measurable. How will you know if and when you’ve achieved it? Think about the tangible results that will signal when you’ve reached your target.
Goals need to be achievable or you risk feeling discouraged when they can’t be reached. Don't set yourself up for failure. Achievable goals that challenge or stretch you will help you stay motivated.
Does your goal match up with your overall aims? It should be in alignment with what you want to achieve in the long term, and shouldn’t contradict any other goals you’re working towards.
Finally, setting yourself deadlines can help you take action. You could even try setting individual deadlines for each step towards your overall goal. It can be very motivating when you achieve a short-term goal quickly.
Once you've decided on your first set of goals keep the process going by reviewing and updating your to-do list on a daily basis.
It’s also a good idea to schedule regular reviews of your longer term plans, where you can make adjustments to reflect your changing priorities and experience.
When you've achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the achievement and observe the progress that you've made towards other goals. And reward yourself! All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.
If you’re unemployed or facing redundancy we can help. Work one-to-one with a professional career coach online, over the phone, or face-to-face and find your way back to work. CABA’s career coaching support is available free of charge to all past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, their husbands, wives, life partners or dependent children up to the age of 25.
This article was written by the career coaching experts at Renovo.