The 2021 Guide For Setting Career Goals

Dear Rich Lifer,

Setting and working toward goals is an essential part of advancing your career and finding fulfillment in your life.

When you set goals, you can build the framework to achieve bigger and better milestones. Each time you set a goal and reach that goal, you are getting closer and closer to your ideal life.

You may be someone who has a high-paying or high-power job, yet doesn’t find that spark of joy in your career.

Or, you may be someone who has been stuck in the same position for years and is eager to make your way up the ladder at your company.

With the year winding down and 2021 just around the corner, this is the perfect time to start thinking about setting achievable goals for the new year.

I think we can all agree that 2020 threw us quite a few curve balls this past year, but I hope this past year of change can empower us all to begin to set personal and professional goals that will lead to a path of success.

Today, we will highlight a few things that are essential to both setting and realizing goals.

Take Initiative

Don’t wait for your boss to give you something to do. Don’t wait for your mentor to ask you what your goals are.

Take the time to think about what you want to achieve or what you can bring to the table. Your goals should be independent of what others ask you to do. Instead, ask yourself, “what do I want to do?”

If you have been working the same job for years, it can seem hard to motivate yourself to think outside the box, but there are a few things you can do to get started.

First, take the time to assess where you are. Have you set goals in the past, and have you achieved those goals? Do the goals you made in the past still align with where you want to head?

Then find someone you can discuss your goals with. Think about who you trust and who will be able to assess your strengths and weaknesses. If this is also a person whose career you admire, ask them how they got to be where they are. What goals did they set for themself? How did they achieve them?

There can often be fear or nervousness in approaching a superior regarding making career goals. However, Tony Lee, a recruitment-trends expert and vice president of editorial for the Society for Human Resource Management, believes it’s important to keep in mind that your boss will likely want you to succeed just as much as you want to.

Lee’s template for beginning such a conversation is as follows: “I really like my job, but two or three years from now, I don’t think either of us want me to still be doing the same thing. What can I do now to help prepare myself for the next opportunity?”

Know Your Value

Taking stock of your personal value is key to making career goals.

What is it that you do well? What do you bring to the table? What sets you apart from others?

Once you determine what you do well, you can figure out how to focus on capitalizing on those skills. Or, on the other hand, you can figure out how to grow skills in areas you feel you are missing certain expertise.

If you are attempting to move up at your current job, your goals should serve not just you but your company as well. The more you bring to your job, the more likely you are to receive that raise or promotion.

All Goals Should Be…

Here are a few things to consider when making goals for yourself.

Your goals should be

    1. Actionable

What literal steps can you take to achieve your goal? Do you want to form better relationships with your superiors at work? Join a mentorship program. Do you want to write the next great American novel? Carve out specific hours in your schedule for writing.

    1. Specific

When setting actionable goals, you also need to be specific. Saying you want to write a book is great, but how will you be more specific about doing that? Short term goals can help you achieve this. For example, your short term goal can be to write three pages every day. This is a specific goal to lead you to your larger goal.

    1. Measurable

Define your own metric of success. What evidence will prove you are making headway? How often will you reevaluate your goals to make sure you’re still on the right path. It’s also important to set beginning and end dates for your goals as well. Setting a timetable to achieve your goal can both help keep you motivated and on-schedule. Just make sure it’s realistic. If your goal is to get promoted to the next level at your company, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to make this happen.

    1. Realistic

It may seem like a no-brainer, but your goals need to be achievable. Setting goals you can accomplish within a reasonable timeframe will help keep you motivated and focused. Short term goals are also key to being realistic.

Take Risks

This may seem like yet another no-brainer, but goals are supposed to challenge you. It’s not going to be easy.

It’s hard to make pivots in your career, to speak up when you want to make a change and to go after what you want.

You have to be willing to set goals that you may not accomplish. Failure is indeed a part of life and it is in our failing that we often learn the most important lessons. In the times we fail we better learn how to succeed.

It is never too early, or too late, to start setting goals, trying to learn new skills, and looking at where you can be making changes.

To a Richer Life,

The Rich Life Roadmap Team

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