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Career Goals : How to set and achieve them in 2023 following simple 5 steps

Set Career Goals to add meaning and direction to your life 

Setting career goals is an important factor in achieving success and happiness in your professional life. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve in your career is essential for giving yourself direction and motivation. It provides you with the structure you need to stay organized on a daily basis and therefore make trackable progress. 

However, it is important to align your career goals with your values and aspirations in life. This ensures that you’re not just chasing a paycheck, but rather pursuing something that is meaningful to you.

Long Term and Short Term Goals

Also, while you are setting your career goals, it’s important to distinguish between long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals are those that you want to achieve in the next five years or so, while short-term goals are objectives that you want to accomplish in the next three months, six months, or so.

Long-term goals will shape your career over the long-term and provide you with a sense of purpose and direction. Examples of long-term goals could include obtaining a certain job title, advancing to a higher-level position, or earning a certain salary. Short-term goals could include completing a certain project or reaching a target sales goal.

Some Career Goals Statements Examples

Let’s look at some examples of career goals that you may want to consider setting:

  • Developing a new skill or learning a new language in 3 months
  • Becoming a leader in your field in next 5 years
  • Becoming a known author in 7 years
  • Increasing your income by 40% in next 3 years
  • Finding a new job in 6 months 
  • Changing jobs to gain a better work-life balance

You may have noticed that some of them are long term while others are short term goals. 

Tracking your Progress 

In order to make sure that you stay on track, it’s important to set a system for tracking your progress. This could include setting up a spreadsheet that keeps track of your goals, or creating a vision board with pictures of what you’re trying to achieve.

A vision board is a great source of motivation and positive affirmation. On the other hand, a spreadsheet tracker helps you monitor your movement and can provide daily motivation. 

I use a spreadsheet to track my daily, weekly, and monthly movements towards my goals. For example, while I follow a system of healthy lifestyle consisting of healthy eating, daily workouts, and proper rest, tracking my body measurements on a spreadsheet ensures that I stay on track. 

worried young woman covering face with hand
Turn Goal statements into Systems and habits to reduce anxiety

My goals give me anxiety

If you feel too overwhelmed by having goals with deadlines, you can start with just having the goals or visions for your future, without the deadlines. This can give you a strong direction, and motivation to build habits to achieve your goals. 

Another way to remove pressure of performance is to break the goals into daily habits and turn them into a system. I generally keep my long term goals on a vision board, and then break them down into daily activities and habits – a system to ensure progress towards my goals. This arrangement ensures that I do not get overwhelmed by the goals as it becomes a lifestyle for me rather than a competition that I have to win. 

Now that you have a better understanding setting career goals, let’s look at the steps you need to take to set your own:

5 steps to set your career goals and achieve them

1. Get clear on your values. 

Before you can set career goals, it’s important to get clear on what’s important to you. Ask yourself questions about what you value most in life and in your career.

Ultimately, you will not find happiness even if your bank account is getting filled through paychecks after paychecks, if you do not know what to do with that money next. There are enough millionaires in the world who committed suicides, indicating that money was not able to provide them with the sense of purpose and fulfillment that they needed. 

2. Identify your career goals. 

Once you’ve identified your values, it’s time to start thinking about what it is you want to achieve in your career. Brainstorm a list of goals and objectives and prioritize them according to importance.

Many of us already know this exercise – most employees do this as a part of their performance cycles. Only difference is – you are now doing it for yourself. 

3. Make a plan and a system. 

After you’ve identified your career goals, it’s time to start making a plan. Start by breaking your goals down into smaller, achievable steps and create deadlines for when you want to achieve each step.

Try to break them down enough so that they become bite size consumable chunks. What is left is a boring repetition of these goals along with rigorous tracking and course correction. If you are doing this, it may feel monotonous at times, but does not feel painstaking. 

For example, brushing your teeth is a system that most of us follow as a daily routine. We never feel overwhelmed as we repeat this activity daily. 

4. Set realistic goals. 

It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. Setting goals that are too ambitious can be discouraging and lead to burnout. Make sure that you’re giving yourself enough time to achieve each one.

Remember that you are working to live and not living to work. Incessant work without learning and purpose has never made anyone happy. 

5. Take action. 

“The smallest of actions is always better than the noblest of intentions.”

Robin Sharma

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to start taking action. Make sure that you’re taking regular steps to reach your goals and stay motivated.

Working with a system like this is a fool-proof way to achieve success in life

Goal Setting – The most rewarding investment your career

The first action that you need to take is to give up one of your weekends, and invest that time into your goal planning and visioning exercise. 

Speaking from my experience, this will be the most rewarding investment that you will ever make into your career. Besides, taking the time to align your goals with your values and aspirations in life will ensure that you’re pursuing something meaningful. 

Let me know what you feel about it in the comments. 

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