If you’re like many professionals, your career goals may seem out of reach or like they’ll take a long time to achieve. Sometimes, you might find yourself wondering if they’re even worth pursuing in the first place. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! If you focus on setting small but specific career goals and reaching them in a short amount of time, you can drastically change your situation and achieve success sooner than you think! Here are some practical tips to get started right away.
1) Record your achievements
It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come when you’re constantly focused on what’s next. But a little reflection can go a long way, helping you define your path forward. Think about it: If someone else were looking at your career right now, what would they say? What are two things you accomplished during your last job that will translate into success at your next job?
2) Identify your ideal position
Before you can figure out how to reach your career goals, you need to know what they are. This doesn’t mean knowing your title and salary—it means knowing what type of work excites you, what you want to accomplish, and how you want people to view your accomplishments. To identify your ideal position, take some time for introspection. Ask yourself questions like: What kind of work gives me a sense of purpose? How would I describe my ideal career? What activities do I find fulfilling?
3) Set a goal to reach your ideal position
The first day of your 30-day journey is about making yourself an offer you can’t refuse: I’ll do whatever it takes to reach my goal. You have something valuable at stake now, so only accept an outcome that you think will make you happy. By making a public vow, keep yourself accountable. While accountability can be scary (what if you fail?), there’s power in acknowledging your fears and then doing something anyway.
4) Identify all roles you need to fill on the way there
The most important role is to hire a career coach. The coach will help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, create a plan, and give you encouragement every step of the way. You can accomplish everything else on your own: take classes or learn new skills; read up on job listings; and apply for opportunities. If you’re able to commit five hours a week—that’s just one hour per day—you can achieve your goal of getting promoted in eight days!
5) Consider other aspects of life outside work
When setting career goals, it’s easy to get stuck thinking only about your professional life. But when you’re working toward a goal and feel yourself getting overwhelmed, it’s crucial to be able to take a step back and realize there are many other aspects of your life that can contribute. Are you eating well? Getting enough sleep? Are you happy with how much time you spend on leisure activities?
6) Take action each day
Setting goals can be easy, but actually achieving them can be tough. For example, you might set a goal to lose 20 pounds or land a new job by mid-year. But once your initial enthusiasm starts wearing off, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up on your goals.
7) Celebrate with successes along the way
8) Revisit the process weekly