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How to Set Personal Goals for a Performance Review

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As an employee the words "performance review" may make you a bit nervous. Often employers ask employees of all levels to complete a section of their review where they have to evaluate themselves. This is particularly difficult because you don't want to paint yourself as a model employee but you also don't want to present your employer with a list of flaws. Rather than fall into either of these traps you can strike a compromise between the two by setting goals for yourself on your performance review.

Create Specific Goals

When you create your performance goals for your review you want to make sure that they are clear, concise and that your boss understands your intent without further explanation. Your goals should be specific in nature. For example if you work in accounts payable and process invoices, a goal may be to increase your processing speed 25 percent during the next six months. Make sure that each goal is a positive statement and favorably enhances your work performance.

Measure Your Progress

It's not enough to say that you want to improve your performance through accomplishing your goals. You have to be able to show your employer how you're going to meet the goals you've identified. Develop goals that are measurable so that both you and your employer can track your progress as you work toward improvement. It may be helpful to set smaller goals for you along the way to help keep you motivated and give yourself milestones to help measure your success.

Showcase Your Ambition

The goals that you set for yourself should show a real desire to improve your workplace performance and move your career forward. Rather than setting a goal to boost your personal sales 5 percent, consider increasing to 10 percent to demonstrate your ambition. Your goals should be something that you personally can attain in your career. Do not set goals for yourself that are not directly related to your current position, such as increasing sales if you work in accounting or earning a promotion. Your goals should reflect how motivated you are to be the best at your job.

Be Realistic

There's a difference between being motivated and being unrealistic. If the personal performance goals that you set for yourself are unrealistic, your boss isn't going to take you or your review seriously. Make sure that your goals are reasonably attainable. A realistic goal is to improve your sales 5 percent in 90 days. An unrealistic goal is to improve your sales 50 percent in five days. You should push yourself but take into account what goals are within the realm of possibility. If you set unrealistic goals, you risk damaging your reputation with your boss and your self-confidence if you are unable to meet them.

Keep Track of Time

To help keep you from procrastination, your goals should each have a timetable for achievement. If you give yourself open-ended goals, then you're setting yourself up to put them off until a more convenient time, which may never happen. When you set your goal, make time a part of it. If one of your goals is to improve the number of invoices that you process, set a goal to increase your daily production 10 percent within six weeks.


Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.

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