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SMART Professional Goals


Many people think of a new year as a fresh start — a time to reflect on the previous year and celebrate successes. It’s also a time to think ahead about what you want to accomplish throughout the next year. Goals can reflect aspirations for any area of your life — including work. Professional goals serve as a roadmap for your career, providing a sense of fulfillment at your job, inspiring confidence within yourself, and helping motivate you to progress in your career journey.

You may have heard about SMART goals for businesses or organizations, but you can use the same tool to build goals for yourself:

Specific: Professional objectives should be specific – they should be about you and based on where you are in your career. Potential goals could be developing a leadership skill, cultivating a growth mindset when approaching change, learning a new skill, or even job shadowing other departments within your company to understand how you all work together. Regardless of whether you choose a grand aspiration or a seemingly small hope, your goal should be specific to you and the things you want to achieve.

Measurable: Goals should be measurable so you can identify whether you have completed them successfully. For example: If your goal is to complete a professional development enrichment training once per quarter, note any training you complete so you will be able to look back and track your attendance and hold yourself accountable.

Achievable: Goals should also be achievable — and realistic. If you get into the habit of setting goals that aren’t possible to accomplish, you may feel like you’re failing. Although goals are meant to push you out of your comfort zone, they should still be reachable with hard work and dedication. Another tip that may help make a goal more achievable is writing it down to keep it front of mind.

Relevant: Work on making your goals relevant. Goals should relate to your position or where you see yourself going within the company or on your career path.

Time-bound: Try creating a timeframe in which you hope to achieve your goal and track your progress along the way. Even better, discuss your goals and your timeline with your manager to see if they feel that your ideas are realistic and to help with accountability. Deadlines can make or break your ability to meet a goal.

With your SMART goals in place, it’s important to recognize if you need to pivot or set smaller goals to work toward, and your manager may be able to help with that.

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Content By: Ever Green