It’s about that time of the year – if not earlier to set professional targets, strategize to get to the next stage of your career, and make it happen. Many of us may consider how we can get the most of our job or pursue new career goals entirely.
We came across a CNBC article about understanding your goals and staying on track from psychologists’ perspectives.
- Define your goals
It may sound cliché, but the first step toward achieving your career goals is figuring out what they are.
Goals should be “concrete and specific,” as this makes them easier to recognize and monitor, according to Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.
Set tangible and measurable targets such as taking on a new project, getting a raise, or getting promoted to a new role.
2. Make goals manageable
After goals have been set, the next step is making sure they’re achievable within a clear timeframe, six months, for example. The key is ensuring they are achievable, realistic, what you want, according to Melissa Doman, author of “Yes, You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work (Here’s Why And How To Do It Really Well).”
People typically set too ambitious aims that would typically take several career phases to achieve. Instead, they should streamline their goals to make them achievable within a shorter period, a year or less, for example.
3. Figure out a strategy
Now is time to make real actions toward those goals whether they relate to your current company or elsewhere.
Based on the article, with many organizations trying to accommodate their employees better amid the Great Resignation, your manager may be more willing to help you work toward your aims, said organizational psychologist Klotz. Don’t be surprised if many employers want to “reward” loyal employees. It’s always good to have a conversation with your current employers to see if they can accommodate your plan to get ahead.
If your career goals turn out to lead you away from your current company, try speaking with other people in your chosen field to help you figure out the steps required to meet your targets.
Going back to school can be one of the ways to achieve your professional goals, make sure you find the perfect training or diploma for you, and include it in your timeframe. See the list of our diploma programs in IT, Business, and Healthcare that can help propel your career.
4. Be accountable
The thing about setting professional goals – or any goals in general, we might find ourselves getting lost in the way, so keep on top of your goals throughout the year by making yourself accountable.
That could mean finding an accountability partner or network to share your journey with — including both its successes and challenges. Creating visual reminders is one of the many ways to keep them on track, as well.
Doman recommended scheduling regular check-ins, either with yourself or your accountability partner, to monitor and reward your progress.
5. Know when to say “no”
It is also important to know when to say no, according to Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.
One thing that “derails” many people from their goals is their reluctance to turn down external requests. But if such requests are “peripheral” to your actual goals, they can ultimately become a distraction.
Be more mindful about the things you agree to because each time you agree to something, you are necessarily taking time away from something else, so you want to weigh your decision carefully, said Bohns.
However, that doesn’t mean saying no to all external requests. That’s often neither possible nor advisable, so think carefully about how such requests fit with your goals and take time to provide your response.