Hey everyone! I hope your 2018 is off to a great start. Mine has been CHILLY, but so far so good. New York in January is always a strange time because any sense of optimism that I feel from the chance for a fresh start is immediately countered when I step outside into the frigid wintery air, like today for example. But, a perpetual state of coldness aside, I always enjoy taking some time in the new year to figure out what I want from the coming months in my professional life. I know you’ve probably seen a lot of these posts floating around lately, so I really hope this one helps you and you walk away feeling more empowered to take on this year. I’m not a big believer in new year’s resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals that you can actually achieve. So let’s make this your best year yet. Here are some strategies for how to set goals, and actionable steps you can take to meet them.
Start dreaming big
Think about the big picture goals that you want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Do you want to get promoted? Ask for a raise? Write it down, even if it seems slightly out of reach. If it doesn’t happen this year, as long as it's something you want, you can still start to work toward it.
Break it down
This is the most important part so you can make sure that you actually achieve the goals that you set. Break down your goal into small, actionable items that you can accomplish each week or each month. If you want to get promoted, ask to take on bigger assignments or more of them to show that you can handle the next step up. If you go to ask for a raise make sure you have specific examples of things that you’ve done that have saved the company time and money or how much more efficiently things run because of something you did.
Ask for feedback
If your company does annual reviews, that’s a good time to talk to your supervisor about some of the goals you may have and how you can meet them. If they don’t, or if your review isn’t for a long time, ask your boss to schedule a catch-up meeting to discuss your progress. If you aren’t as comfortable just asking about yourself, talk to your boss about what goals they have for the company in the upcoming months and find out how you can help them achieve them. Showing initiative and enthusiasm, not just for personal progress but the success of a business as a whole, will go a long way with any boss.
Don’t forget why you started
If you watched my books of 2017 YouTube recap video, I mentioned that while I was reading Kate White’s book I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This she brings up a great metaphor about draining the swamp. Basically, if your job is to drain the swamp, but alligators keep popping up as you try to do it, you get distracted from your original goal. Alligators in this case are emails, coworkers asking for updates, phone calls from clients—all of the things that can happen on a daily basis. But keep an eye on the big picture too. Even if you can set aside a few minutes a week or an hour every month to check in on these goals, you’ll be much closer to achieving them.
I’ve set a few big picture blogging goals for the upcoming year that I thought I’d share with you:
And there you go! Do you set career goals? How do you make sure you actually meet them?
Photograph above by Sarah Ratner