Career Goal-Setting Guide for 2018

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else. –Yogi Berra

Welcome to 2018! I hope you enjoyed the holidays, and I hope you took a bit of time for yourself, as well.

As the new year gets underway, it’s naturally a time for goal-setting. We’re not talking about “New Year’s resolutions,” the type of promise so many of us make to ourselves that we end up breaking within the first month. Rather, I’m talking about setting realistic, accessible goals for this year—sort of a sort of road map for what you want out of your career this year. Sadly, some of us get lost in the weeds even during the goal-setting stage, to the point that we have trouble figuring out our goals, let alone reaching them. So for our first blog post of 2018, I thought it would be helpful to provide some guidelines and tips for helping you identify specifically what you want this year as far as a career or job, and what tangible steps you’re going to take to reach those goals.

Put It in Writing

It seems simple, but I can’t stress it enough: Write your goals down. The list can be simple—it can be one goal or ten—but it needs to be on paper. Don’t keep it in your head. Even if you have a remarkable memory, there is something about the act of writing it down on paper that makes a goal more tangible and real. It gives the goal more weight, making us feel more accountable for it. When a goal is just in your head, it’s not really a goal—it’s an idea. Write it down; bring it out of your head into the world, and put the paper in a place where you’ll revisit it regularly and be reminded.

Keep Your Goals Ambitious but Reachable

In my experience, people do either one of two things when they’re setting goals. They either make the goal so ambitious that it’s nearly impossible to achieve, or they set the bar so low that there’s no sense of motivation or excitement. Over-ambitious goals can cause you to lose heart, while under-ambitious goals carry no gravity and are easily forgotten. I find the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. Make the goal stretch you a bit, but not so much that you’ll give up on it in a couple of months.

Set Mile Markers

For each goal you set for yourself, ask yourself: What specific steps do I need to take to reach this goal? From there, I recommend laying out what I call “mile markers”—specific actions you will take in sequence to get you closer to your goal. For example, if your goal this year is to start a new business, your action steps might look something like:

  • Determine what product or service to offer
  • Figure out your target market
  • Raise capital if necessary
  • Consult with an accountant or attorney for the best way to structure your business
  • Determine your sales strategy

…and so on, and so forth.

Use a System that Works for You

There are a wide range of planning tools on the market that can help you keep track of your goals throughout the year. None is particularly better than the other, as long as you use a system that works for you. The important thing to remember is that you need to set the goals and establish a plan of action to reach those goals. Without these two elements in place, you may not have the discipline to reach the goals.

If your primary goal for 2018 is to launch a new career or land a new job, I’m here to help! (That’s why they call me the “employment whisperer.”) For a free 30-minute consultation to find out how career coaching can help you reach your goals, give GiraffesConsulting a call today at 646-320-1126.