New Year, New Goals

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With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a good time to slow down a bit and enjoy the time of year no matter how or if you celebrate. It’s also a good time to take a look back at the past year and determine what went well and where improvements can be made. The calendar year coming to a close also provides an opportunity to evaluate your career goals and perhaps establish some new ones for the coming year.

Analyzing your current situation and looking forward to what adjustments might need to be made in the new year should be separate from your personal New Year’s resolutions, though it might be good for you to make a few of those as well. (Smiley face here.) But personal and professional goals do have one thing in common: they need to be reasonable. It’s difficult to be successful if the bar is set too high.

This is a good time to remember one of my favorite tactics to use when establishing clear and attainable goals: the SMART acronym. To set yourself up for success your goals should be:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic and
Timely.

Setting professional goals for yourself or your organization requires careful consideration and should be considered a priority with proper time given to the exercise. You should also approach the endeavor with the understanding that it will always be a work in progress. That’s why it’s vital to continuously monitor and measure progress and adjust accordingly.

I like the idea of goals. And not just at the new year. I advise all of my candidates to create a wish list when starting a job search. I encourage them to write down everything they want to see in their new job, focusing on those positive attributes that will define their dream job instead of on the characteristics that might be deal breakers.

In going through this exercise, I recommend that they be as detailed as possible. That means evaluating job duties, work environment, organizational culture, and colleagues, among other aspects that can set the stage for happiness and success. Having a clear picture of your ideal job, while also recognizing factors that would prevent a position from being a good fit, can help ensure a fruitful job search and a mutually satisfying end result for both the prospect and the employer.

For people who are content in their jobs, it’s still wise to stop and go through the goal-setting process. Why? Because there is always room for improvement. The goal-setting effort, however, will vary according to each individual. Maybe it means finally dealing with that pesky co-worker or taking a course to broaden your professional horizon. It could be as simple as job shadowing a professional in your organization you admire or as complex as learning a new skill. Whatever direction you take, setting SMART goals is bound to pay off in the end. Good luck and have a wonderful 2023!! 

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