Reaching for the Realistic Stars

I am a huge fan of taking control over your own career and making things happen in your life. We all have the same 24 hours and you choose how you use them. I am addicted to my Kate Spade planner and I use it to time block my days but also to set goals for myself. Some of those goals include, money savings, goal weights, and career milestones. Today I will focus on that last one, career goals.

There are a few goals that I have chosen to focus on but the two major goals for me are 1) getting my HR designation and 2) getting to certain a role. Long term I think it is important to have a strategic plan for your career and these are some suggestions as to how to get there.

First, think long term or end goal and determine what it is that you want to achieve, then work backwards. Determine what you need to achieve in order to get to that point, these are your key performance indicators (KPIs). They should be specific actions or achievements that will track whether you are succeeding in achieving your goals. An example, passing the Employment Law exam as a step towards my HR designation. If I pass then I know I am on the right track, if I don’t pass then I know that it was I need to be focusing on.

When you are setting goals for yourself you make sure they are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. Yes, good old fashioned SMART goals. I know this sounds totally corporate but I will give some examples of why these factors are so important.

Specific- Make sure you are clear about what you want, this way you have a clear end goal. If you are specific, it will be easier to direct your efforts and be most effective.

 Measurable- You need to know whether you are doing a good job at attaining your goals or progressing forward. This could be pass/fail, a salary expectation or job duties.

 Attainable- Make sure you are being realistic. You need to manage your expectations and if you have a hard time doing this, speak to a mentor or supervisor and ask them if your goal is realistic.

 Relevant- Think about your career and end goal and determine what makes sense. Do you need to get a Masters? Or will that just set you back financially?

 Time Bound– Give yourself a deadline, if you don’t things will continue to go to the wayside. It is OK if you need to adjust as time goes on and you reassess your goals but it is important to use dates and time frames to keep you on track.

My final point on setting and attaining your career goals is to give yourself a chance to reassess your goals and re-evaluate them. Sometimes goals need to change depending on where your career goes and that is totally OK and you shouldn’t feel like you failed. Try to be flexible with yourself and make sure you celebrate all of your accomplishments.

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