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While envisioning the concept of goals usually isn't hard, going through with them often is, whether in your personal life or career. If you're interested in moving forward at work, don't just tell yourself you're serious about success. Spell it out by clearly identifying your goals and objectives.
Define What You Want
Clarity is key to accomplishing goals. Define exactly what your objective is, as far away as it might seem in your mind. Instead of telling yourself your aim is to find career happiness, determine exactly what that entails. Happiness, while terrific, is a loosely defined concept. If happiness to you means moving to a company that offers more upward mobility, make that your goal. If it means something like learning the art of efficient time management, put that in the front of your mind as your objective. Once you define your goal, figure out, step by step, how you will accomplish it. Whether you start taking classes outside of work, networking more or carpooling with the most responsible person in your office, a master plan will help you accomplish your goals.
Start Out Practical
Big dreams are wonderful, but everything in life is a gradual process -- a ladder with steps. Don't make infeasible things your objective. If something is too far out of reach, pursuing it will only discourage you and make you take your eye off the ball. If you're a newbie to your company as an administrative assistant, don't set the goal of becoming the head of your division by next year. Instead, focus on being the finest administrative assistant you can possibly be. Then figure out how you plan to do that, whether it involves improving your communication skills, improving your multitasking abilities or anything else.
When setting goals and objectives, be confident. Don't tell yourself it would be great if you could stop showing up to work 10 minutes late on a regular basis. Instead, tell yourself you will stop doing that. Tell yourself nothing again will ever make you lazy about keeping track of time. Give strength and weight to your goals. If you have to tell yourself you will leave your house 10 minutes earlier every morning, do that.
Make a Time Frame
Having a time frame for all your goals and objectives can help you better manage them. If you plan on taking a public speaking course at night to improve your teamwork skills on the job, don't make it a goal to do that someday. "Someday" doesn't mean much and is easy to abandon. If you say you're going to sign up for a class by the end of the month, however, you're giving yourself a homework assignment -- one you have to complete prior to a certain time.
Write Them Out
Life is busy and full of events, obligations and responsibilities, from your social life to taking your dog for a lengthy strolls around the park. Because of that, it's easy to forget all your goals and objectives, especially in busy times. Minimize your chances of forgetting your goals by writing them out clearly and in large letters. Place this sheet of paper somewhere you look every day -- perhaps your refrigerator or in your cubicle. Try both, if possible. Make a point to look at the paper every day. When you read your goals and objectives, truly think about them and what they mean to you. Always envision the smile you will have on your face when you cross the finish line, too. Success is a strong motivator.
Tell Someone Else
Sometimes saying things aloud makes them feel more real. Carve your goals into stone, figuratively, by talking to a good friend or family member about them, recommends the Maine Community College Center for Career Development. Make sure you do this with someone who is a supportive figure in your life -- someone who wants to see you shine.
- Boston College Human Resources: Setting Work and Professional Development Goals
- Human Resources at UC Berkeley: Goal-Setting - Developing a Vision & Goals for Your Career Plan
- Maine Community College System: Center for Career Development: SMART Goal Setting
- University of Virginia Human Resources: Career Goal Setting
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