Updated: Jun 29, 2021
How often do you stop to reflect on your current performance, skills & capabilities when you’re thinking about the future & what you want to achieve?
When it comes to setting goals for ourselves, we can easily get it wrong.
This article covers the exact approach you need to take to make it easy for you to achieve your goals at work & for your career overall - including why we often make it so hard for ourselves, & what you can do to make sure you’re always moving in the right direction.
No more losing sight of your career path, no more feeling stuck in a rut, no more feeling overlooked.
A lot of the time we set goals for ourselves based on what others want for us. Whether that’s our company setting us department-related targets, our boss wanting us to learn how to do something that supports them, or society telling us when & how many children we should be having!
The corporate world is filled with companies with very clear structures & hierarchies, so when we start our very first jobs at the bottom of the ladder, a lot of the time there’s an obvious path we’re expected to take.
Sometimes we feel a resistance to a goal or just really struggle to achieve it without really understanding why - whether it’s a skillset, a mindset or simply motivation.
I also work with a lot of clients who would describe themselves as ambitious...but have somewhere along the way lost sight of what they’re aiming for.
Both of these situations are environments we create by blocking ourselves from reflecting on where we’re at & what we want. Because newsflash: not only are we learning & growing every day with everything we read & every conversation we have, but that growth changes & influences who we are, our values & what we want.
So our skill sets & our experiences are always changing, which means today we are always closer to a higher level than we were yesterday. By avoiding that acknowledgment or pausing to reflect & appreciate this growth, we’re selling ourselves short of achievements & progression that we deserve - & find it hard to gather it all together to present our case when we’re prompted to (like at annual review time).
When we accept or set goals for ourselves that others suggest or push us into, we block out how we actually feel about that goal. If you can’t visualise yourself achieving it, or you can & it doesn’t feel amazing - it’s going to be pretty hard to motivate yourself towards it.
There are a lot of ‘shoulds’ around goals. I ‘should’ be earning more money by now, I ‘should’ be managing people at this level, I ‘should’ want to move up the ladder. When your primary driver is a ‘should’, the chances of you getting over the finish line are pretty slim (or you’re a robot).
So I invite you to take some time now to think about what goals you have on your chart at the moment - where did they come from, how would it feel to achieve them, have you moved towards them recently, what’s changed in your world since you set them?
Now let’s talk about goals you do want to achieve. Maybe there’s one that was on your existing list, maybe you just thought up a new one - but we’re focusing now on a goal that when you think about achieving it you think "yes - I can’t wait".
The single most important change you’re now going to make to make that goal obviously easy for you to achieve...is exactly what you’ve just done.
You most likely already know a process for setting goals & creating a plan to achieve them (if you don’t - send me a message & let’s talk about that!), but what you’re probably not already doing is giving yourself time to actually work towards them. Plans don’t execute themselves & life doesn’t always go according to plan anyway.
Build in some non-negotiable time every day & every week - maybe 2 minutes a day while you wait for the kettle to boil, maybe 30 minutes at the weekend to journal - whatever is achievable for you right now - but build in that time & make it a non-negotiable that you commit to it, to reflect on these questions:
What are my goals right now?
How do I feel about them?
How close am I to achieving them?
What can I do about it?
What changes do I want to make?
Running through these questions completely turns around the 2 initial obstacles we covered earlier on - not being on board with the goal, & not understanding where you’re at right now.
These questions also give you the opportunity to re-align, re-motivate, & be honest with yourself about what work you need to do.
The reason this time to reflect has to be non-negotiable, is to protect you from letting it slip away from you again. How much clarity & motivation have you got just from taking a couple of minutes right now? Imagine if you did the same thing every day, where would you be in a few month’s time compared to if you kept on ignoring it?
Your progression is a part of your career - it reflects well on you which opens more opportunities for your long term happiness, but it also reflects well on the company when you can recognise your growth, contribution & develop with them.
If your mind is coming up with objections around actually implementing this, get in touch with me today - because whether it’s a fear of judgment, handling an overwhelming workload, or a foggy lack of clarity over what you even want to achieve, I can help - there’s no need to stay stuck where you are.
Keep moving, because life doesn’t wait.
Check out my Work With Me page to learn more about what coaching opportunities there are for you to work through these blocks & actually start achieving your goals at work, so you can find that sense of personal success & satisfaction in your career.