There are professionals who work the same job, never seeming to get ahead, and there are those who appear to climb through the corporate ladder, always advancing to the next thing. While many people are happy with the routines they develop working in the same position for years on end, others find themselves frustrated and wanting to know how to grow in their careers.
To get ahead in your career, it’s up to you to set your own goals. While some managers may help outline a few goal posts for advancement, even then it’s usually your own responsibility to make the smaller goals to get yourself there.
Consider Both Short and Long Term Goals
You need both short and long term goals to build a path toward career advancement, whether you’re working for yourself or within a large corporation.
For long term goals, ask yourself where you want to be five years from now. These are the big milestones that are three or more years away from now. Will you still be at the same company? Will you be in an entirely different industry?
Short term goals come in a few varieties. These include your goals six months or a year from now. These are short term goal posts to guide you ahead. Short term goals also include your weekly and daily goals. These are often things that become part of your routine, whether for the long haul or for the next couple weeks. For example, if you want to learn a new language for your job, you may have a daily goal to practice Spanish for twenty minutes a day.
Keep In Mind That Your Goals May Change
It’s normal for your goals to change over the years. You may go back to school to pursue a change in careers only to discover a whole other passion you hadn’t considered before. It’s important to remain flexible and ready to shift your goals. When this happens, take the time to again set your long term and short term goals, so you keep your daily activities on target to keep your professional life moving forward.
Create Action Oriented Goals
You need to create, positive and measurable goals. This is a good place to start identifying your goals, because it gives you something you want to become. Your goals would then include things like, “I will join Toastmasters to become a better public speaker”, and, “I will apply for the management program at work”.
Give Yourself Deadlines
To truly improve your career, you will need to hold yourself accountable to your goals. It’s easy to say you will do something, it takes more effort to actually follow through. Put your goals on your calendar.
If you have the goal to sign up for a language class, mark on your calendar the week you will find a class and sign up for one. If you have the goal to join the management program, put this on your calendar. Set reminders to notify you of these calendar events so you won’t be able to ignore them.