The New Year is a great time to take stock of your career—where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Whether you want to make small changes, learn new skills, get a promotion, or even find a new career, it starts with a few simple steps. Here is a five-step strategy to help you reach your goals:
This step is as simple as making three lists. First, list all the things you do. Second, list the things you like about your job and enjoy doing. And third, list the things you don’t.
Think about what you want, the things you want to change, the ways you want to grow, the things you want to do differently or better, and the job or career you want to have.
In order to be doable, goals must follow these five rules. If your goals don’t meet these criteria, rethink or modify them.
And be sure to write them down. Studies show that people who write down their goals outperform those who don’t by a whopping 300 percent. When you write it down, it becomes tangible. Make it a daily visual reminder; post it where you see it every day.
For example, let’s say your goal is to be president of the United States. What is the goal that happens right before that one? Probably being a governor or senator. And what is the goal that happens right before that one? Probably being a U.S. representative. And before that? Local or statewide office. And before that? Working in a congressional or state political office or on a campaign. And before that? Studying law or political science. You get the picture.
Whatever your goal is, figure out where you are now and the steps it takes to get where you want to be. You may be really far off or you may be closer than you think. Either way, you have to figure out the subgoals and milestones it takes to get to your top goal.
Then, you have to figure out the steps to get there, including all the actual, tangible tactics and strategies you will need. Think about what it takes to be vice president of marketing, for example. Do you need to go back to school? Learn new skills? Your action plan has to include all the work, networking, skills, education, abilities, and steps it takes to get there. You have to understand all of the actions it will take to reach your goal.
And you have to include the things you don’t like or want to do, too. If your goal is to hold public office and you hate to fundraise or schmooze, you have to rethink the goal or suck it up. It’s not easy and you don’t always get to do just the things you love. You have to work at achieving goals, and that means doing things you don’t like.
It’s not easy, but it’s pretty straightforward. There is no magic bullet here, just hard work and dedication. Be clear about your goals, make sure they are realistic, write them down, make a plan of action, and then take the right steps every day. If you stay focused and strong, you’ll get there.