Applying Professional Goals in the New Year

Goals_image1Setting goals keeps us motivated. As we strive to reach these goals, the challenges that we overcome inspire us to keep going, and set our future goals even higher. With every step taken we move towards the future that we have planned and the lives that we want. We all know this truth about life, but do we apply this to our jobs?

Approximately 30% of our lives are spent at work. Many of us use that time to complete repetitive tasks. We monitor our inbox, file paperwork, return phone calls, and wait for the workday to end. This can leave us feeling unfulfilled because the day feels redundant, as we are not being challenged. Setting goals can give us that challenge which drives us to achieve and at the end of the day gives our jobs a deeper meaning.

In today’s world, more and more people work autonomously. This means that it becomes our individual responsibility to actively set goals. Whether you work alone or are the leader of a team, these tips may help you incorporate goal setting into your work life.

1. Set or Assess Goals Every 3-6 Months – Schedule a meeting or set time aside dedicated to setting goals. This timeframe will keep the goals fresh and it will be easier to celebrate achievements.

2. Write Goals Down – This helps the group stay focused and avoid an inbox driven day that can make a person feel powerless.

3. Aim High – Set goals a little outside your comfort zone. This can lead to learning new skills and finding pride in one’s work. Remember, don’t set your goals so high that it is an extreme burden or unachievable for you or your team.

4. Find a System to Measure Performance –Breaking the goals down into smaller ones, determining specific timeframes, or deciding on specific skills that need to be learned before the goals can be achieved can help you measure the progress toward achieving your goals.

5. Celebrate Each Achievement – Whether working independently or with a team, be sure to celebrate each step that has been reached that supports the larger goal. Positive reinforcement goes a long way and it can be as simple as a word of acknowledgment.

And most importantly:

6. Schedule the Next Goal Setting Meeting Ahead of Time – You may lose perspective and drive if you do not refresh your goals. Goals keep us feeling excited and accomplished and that leads to job satisfaction.

We all want to be proud of the work we do and feel like we contribute. Keeping focused on our goals can illustrate achievements in a very real way and be a reminder of the part we play in the larger picture.

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