Think back to January. Did you set some new year’s resolutions? Maybe you drew up an ambitious plan for your career this year.
Now that the year is well underway, most people have settled back into routines. Resolutions and goals begin to fade away. Maybe you think you still have time. The year’s not over yet, after all.
Complacency is a danger to your career goals, however, and you need to work to keep them on track. Luckily, doing so is much easier than it sounds!
1. Set a Deadline
The easiest way to keep your career goals on track is to set a deadline. When do you want to start the new course for your new skill? When do you want to have mastered that skill? When will you begin your job search or inquire about management training?
While it can be difficult to set deadlines for larger goals, like “get promoted to management” or “become VP of Finance,” smaller career goals can and should have timelines. These are also the achievable goals you can actually chip away at as you work your way up the ladder to your promotion or new role in management.
If your goals don’t have an expiry date on them, it’s very easy to push them aside and say, “I’ll do that later.” Defeat procrastination by setting a due date!
2. Develop a Positive Attitude
One of the problems people run into by February is a negative mindset about achieving their new year’s resolutions. The person trying to quit smoking had a cigarette and then abandoned their goal to stop smoking altogether. The person trying to lose weight missed one day at the gym or hasn’t seen the results they wanted, so they gave up, believing they couldn’t achieve their goals.
You might be tempted to treat your career goals the same way. Experiencing setbacks or delays can be frustrating and upsetting. They may make you question your goals or abandon them altogether, telling yourself, “I can’t do this” or “I’m not cut out for management.”
Don’t get discouraged. A “can do” attitude will help you keep your career goals on track. Maybe you’re not ready for the management position yet. What can you do to make sure you are ready in the future? Treat every setback as a learning opportunity.
3. Don’t Rush Your Decision
If you decided to switch careers or look for a new job, you might want to jump ship the second something else comes along. You might agree to the very first job offer you get.
Take your time instead. Achieving your career goals isn’t meant to be an overnight success. Instead, spend more time considering your options. Is the career you’re thinking about really the one you want? Do you need to begin a job search right now? In a job-rich market, you don’t need to take the first job you’re offered, especially if it doesn’t fulfill your wants and needs.
Take your time instead of rushing. You’ll be much happier in the end.
4. Track Your Progress
Have you stopped to look at your progress towards achieving your career goals lately? If not, it’s time to start.
One of the reasons people abandon their career goals (and other goals) is that they don’t see the progress they’ve already made toward reaching the goal! If your goal is to make it to management and you don’t get promoted tomorrow, should you just give up? You may feel like you’re spinning your wheels.
Take a moment to consider just how far you’ve actually come. Maybe you’ve already learned a new skill or started your job search. You’re putting your feet on the path that will take you where you want to go. Keep track of your progress and you’ll find the momentum to keep moving.