We are all striving toward a better life, yet the majority of the population sits every day in an office, or working out in the field, unhappy with their day job. The unfortunate fact here is that most of these people dream about a better future, but never actually make any plans or take any type of action to make those dreams a reality. Some think that they are not worthy, while others might consider taking action too much of a risk.

Professional goal setting is something that everyone should really do, along with personal goal setting. Through such strategies, you can lay out a clear path in front of you, ensuring you can knowingly strive toward a better future and be sure of what to do every step of the way.

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Whether you are already in a management position or still working your way up from a phone operator or a storefront assistant, setting up career goals should be something that you need to do now – and you need to realize that this is not something you should do once and let go of. It takes continuous work, amendments, and monitoring to ensure you can reach the goals that will ultimately help you get set up for a better life.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of setting up professional goals for yourself. In addition to guiding you through this process, we will also tell you how to go about achieving professional goals – many people have started out with the planning, but they end up putting away those papers and never taking any action.

The Benefits Of Professional Goal Setting

Before we dive into the guide on setting some professional goals, let’s take a quick look at why it is important that you set such goals for yourself and what specific benefits you can expect from this entire process.

The biggest advantage of having your goals clearly set for yourself is the fact that you will have a vision in your mind, as well as on paper, of where you are now and where you truly want to be in life – career-wise, of course. Your personal goals should be set out on a different plan.

In addition to that bigger picture, you will also start to visualize a path that will ultimately lead you to those bigger goals. When you know the milestones that are needed to achieve the big picture, then it becomes easier to start setting up plans that will help you achieve them, getting you closer to your bigger career goals one step at a time.

There is another major benefit – people often find that they became more interested and engaged with their work when they know where they are going. Think about this for a second. You are a contact center operator working for next to nothing. You probably do not care much about how you provide customers with support and you never really truly look into ways that you can deliver results. Once you know that if you reach certain milestones, you will be to reach a better position, every call you make will suddenly start to have more meaning that it has ever had before.

How To Set Professional Goals For Yourself

We’ve taken a quick look at how you can benefit from professional goal setting – now let’s move on. In this section, we’ll give you a few tips on how you should set up professional goals that will help drive you toward a better position at your current employer, or perhaps an improvement on your current career toward a job where you will be happier and earn a better income.

Before you do anything, you will need to answer one very important question: where do you want to go, career-wise? Where do you see yourself within the next decade? Would you still like to be at the same company you are now, would you like to be with a different company, or are you dreaming of operating your own business?

The ultimate goal that you have in mind for yourself after let’s say a decade is a very important factor that you need to concentrate on. Don’t be hasty, as this may cause you to set up an unrealistic goal. Don’t expect to take over Apple within the next ten years – but setting up a competitor to an existing company might be a better scope on reality.

This “big picture” that you are aiming for should be clear. You need to visualize your goals and understand exactly what you will be striving for in the next couple of years.

Now, we will focus on the SMART goal setting strategy. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

These are the five rules that you need to follow with every goal that you will be setting for yourself, no matter how big or small.

Once you know exactly what the goal is you want to strive for in the next decade or so, write it down. Be as specific as possible, as this will help you set better milestones and develop a more accurate timeline.

Divide And Conquer Is The Way To Go

You’ve started the process of setting your professional goals already. You should have your ultimate goal – that big picture that you are aiming for – written down, or perhaps typed in a document that you will use to set up your goals and monitor your progress.

Now we will, as the title of this section suggest, “divide and conquer” – well, in this section, we’ll cover the “divide” part, and then continue reading to discover how you can actually achieve each goal and ultimately reach the bigger picture that you have in mind for yourself.

When we say divide, we mean breaking down that big goal that you would like to reach into smaller goals – what we like to call milestones.

Milestones make achieving your goals easier and will also ensure you can stay motivated during the entire process of reaching for those bigger goals. Motivation is a particular area where many people get stuck, and they eventually start giving up on their dreams because they do not have any means of tracking their progress or realizing how much closer they are to their big goal compared to where they were when they only started with the goal-setting process.

We’ll break this big goal up into milestones up to the point where you will be able to create a to-do list on a day-to-day basis, ensuring you know exactly what you need to do to reach the milestone.

Setting Up Your Milestones And Performance Goals

We’ll start by breaking up that big goal. You need to think carefully about how you will get to the big goal you have set for yourself.

Let’s continue with the example we used earlier. You are striving toward a management position at the contact center you are working at. There are different levels of call center agents, and you have started at the bottom. Because you have not yet set any goals for yourself, you’ve been here for some time already.

To get to that management position, you will first need to go through a few channels. You’ll most likely have to reach a higher level of your current position first – become a more “elite” call center agent. From there, you will reach for a supervisor position. Once this milestone is reached, you can start focusing on that management position.

There are, in actual fact, performance goals. They are like stepping stones to the big career goal that you are aiming toward.

We’ve mentioned before that you need to be specific – so now you will have to break these performance goals up into smaller milestones that you need to reach in order to achieve them.

Each of the performance goals and the milestones that you set should be as specific as you can possibly make them. This will greatly help in your journey toward achieving each of the milestones and make things much clearer. Confusion is often faced by people who fail to ensure that their goals are specific and appropriately measurable against the bigger goal that they have visualized.

Prioritizing Your Milestones

Once you have set your milestones, the next obvious step is to ensure you prioritize them appropriately. This is another crucial step that you should be sure to follow, as it will help you avoid giving priority to those goals that are not as important as the others in reaching the milestones that you have set aside for yourself.

Take a good look at every single goal that you have set up and the milestones, then set them in a timeline format according to how important they are, while still being relevant to the situation. There is no use in setting up goals that you can only achieve in eight years as the number one priority on your list and the next on the “to do” list when you first need to work your way up through other milestones.

A Quick Guide To Achieving Professional Goals

You should now have a good idea of the ultimate goal that you are striving toward, as well as the smaller milestones that you will need to achieve if you want to those bigger ones. The next part is actually to take action.

This is the one area where many people drop out – they spend days setting up their goals, developing the perfect plan for themselves, and when it comes to taking action, they continue to delay their actions until they forget about them. Do NOT let this happen to you.

1. Take goals one step at a time

Take things one step at a time. Look at your very first milestone, see what you need to do to achieve this milestone, and then start doing it.

2. Have an action plan

A good idea at this point would be to buy a separate diary or to download a to-do list app. Use this app or diary to place entries on a day-to-day basis. Breaking up your day into multiple tasks that you need to complete before the end of the day makes things a lot easier and give you a way to track your progress and to congratulate yourself at the end of the day when you check off the last task on the list.

3. Get accountability on your goals

Another great way to help you achieve your goals is to get an accountability partner or publicly state your goals. This positive peer pressure helps you commit and focus on the outcome to avoid losing facing.

4. Level up

During the early stages, it might also be a very good idea to invest in your own future by taking a course or two. When you are planning to move up in your career, then there is a good chance that you will need to obtain a new skill or two.

What better way to kickstart your journey to that big goal than to get started with a useful course that will equip you with the skills you will need later on. Chances are, once you complete these courses, you’ll start to notice that those skills will come in handy during the earlier milestones as well, and might even become an aid to help you reach your milestones faster.

There is also 5 tips on how to achieve your goals that high performers use.

Need to accelerate progress?

When it comes to professional goal setting, there are various steps to take into consideration, but one of the most important factors is not to delay, but rather to take action. In this guide, we walked you through the basic process of setting up your own professional goals, and we gave you some essential tips that will help you ensure that your goals can be achieved.

As a last tip before you go: Remember that postponing will only lead to you continuing to feel stuck where you are now. Take action today and avoid being disappointed tomorrow. Why not start right now by signing up for an online Career Accelerator Course. You’ll only have to make a small investment to gain a new thought, breakthrough or skill that could help you rise up or find an entirely new opportunity that will take you one step closer to your bigger goal.