Have you set goals for your career in 2016?

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by Karen Adamedes

Now that the champagne has been popped, fireworks set off and the ball in Times Square has not only been dropped but packed away (where do they keep that thing?) and life is returning to usual after the holidays – do you know what you want to achieve in 2016?

Are you struggling with the words that go after “This year I’m going to…. ” ?

The New Year is a time that many of us use to wipe the slate clean of the previous year and set new goals. The big question for many of us is….what do I really want to achieve?

If you’re like me the conversation sometime over the Christmas / New Year period involved friends and family discussing goals and plans for 2016.

Lose weight, get organized, relax and save more were common themes for everyone around our table. Along with career goals to get a promotion, change jobs or achieve a better balance between work and home (that was a big one!).

But to be honest (and it may have been the wine involved) many of these resolutions were so vague that it would be a big jump to get from the goal to the actions that would be required to achieve them. Which is probably why so few New Year’s resolutions are achieved. According to the folks who know about these things (at the University of Scranton) just 8% of people stick to their resolutions.

The key to make the changes that you need to achieve a goal (and stick with them longer than February) is to have specific actionable steps. However, before you can do this – you need to know EXACTLY what you want to achieve (No, I’m not yelling at you with the capitals…just making sure you are paying attention).

Being more awesome might be important to you. But how will you know that you are more awesome? In what area of your life or career?

Getting a promotion would also be fabulous. But to what role? For which company? With what salary?

Maybe you want to increase your skills to get an edge in your occupation? But which skills?

You get the drift…you need to have a clear goal.

The question is, if you’re not quite sure, how do you set your career goals for the year ahead?

Here’s 7 questions to ask yourself that can help you work out what you really want. (I’d recommend a quiet spot, a glass of wine or a cup of tea or coffee and a note pad to doodle on whilst you contemplate these…I find a nice view helps as well…)

Take time out to set your goals for 2016

My goal setting venue for 2016 – Sunshine Coast, Australia

 

Got your spot sorted? Ok, here are the questions…

1. What are you pleased that you achieved in 2015?

What are the two or three things you did last year that you’re proud of? They don’t have to be items that you would list on your resume or discuss in an annual performance review. But things that you did that you are really pleased about. They are a good guide to what is important to you.

2. What were your goals for 2015?

Do they map to the achievements you’re pleased about?

Or were there New Year’s resolutions from last year that didn’t happen?

(Don’t feel bad…according to that University of Scranton study there would be a 94% chance of this!)

3. Do you still want to achieve any of those outstanding 2015 goals?

Really? If you had a whole year and they didn’t get prioritized what’s going to be different about this year? Why/How will you get cut through this year?

Sometimes goals don’t get started because they are almost too important and you think that you need more time than you have to dedicate to them.

So there may be something that you do really want to do that just didn’t get off the starting block in 2015 (or 2014, or 2013). If that’s the case have a think about if there is a way you can break the goal down into smaller tasks. Or how you can readjust your expectations so that conditions don’t have to be “perfect” for you to get started.

4. What will make you pleased if in your 2016 end-of-year reflections you can say “I’m really pleased that this year I…” 

Think ahead to next New Year (OMG!)…what would make you feel happily smug with yourself if you achieve it this year?

5. What do you need to achieve a bigger goal?

Is there a qualification you need to score a promotion?

An association or organization you need to join to meet key people in your industry or company?

Something you need to learn?

A milestone goal you can set?

6. What’s in your heart that you really want to do?

It may not seem achievable, it may not seem like a priority in your day-to-life…but you really want to be working towards it.

Don’t discount your dreams for what you think you should be doing.

If there is something you really want how does it sound at the end of the “This year I’m going to…” sentence?

And finally…

7. What can you do to make your goal a reality?

Work out how you are going to get started, what you are going to do and when you are going to do it.

You don’t want your priority for 2016 to be on your list of resolutions that didn’t get off the ground when you look back over the year…

Hopefully these questions have provided you with some food for thought about what you would like to achieve this year.

All the best for a happy and fulfilling 2016!

Like more career tips to go? 

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