10 Ways to Stay Committed to Your 2018 Career Goals
There's always plenty of noise about goals and resolutions in January. Everyone relishes the idea that this could be the year they make their dreams come true. Unfortunately, most of these goals and resolutions have been long-forgotten after a mere few weeks as people fall back into old (and largely unproductive) habits.
So, how do you avoid becoming a resolution-ditching cautionary tale? If you want to buck the trend and actually remain true to your goals for the year ahead, follow these easy tips for helping you stay committed and accountable.
Get very clear on your goals.
This might sound obvious, but before you'll have any success sticking with your goals for the year, you have to actually have goals. The more specific they are, the better.
Vague goals like "make more money" aren't going to keep you motivated and accountable. However, clearly defined goals like "increase revenue by 10 percent" give you something specific to focus on and work toward. Of course, your specific goals will depend on your industry, the current state of your career, and what matters to you. By tailoring your goals, you'll be more motivated to make them a reality.
Give yourself permission to adjust your goals.
Building upon the previous tip, it's vital that you give yourself permission to adjust your goals as needed. Even if you have a specific goal in mind, there are limitless factors that can affect your career trajectory. Personal or family situations, the state of the economy, new technology: All these things can affect your work and your progress toward goals.
Trying to stick to goals as if they are set in stone when the world is constantly changing is counter-productive. By giving yourself permission from the get-go to adjust your goals when necessary, it will feel less like failure when the time comes that they need to be altered. Revisit your goals frequently (on a weekly or monthly basis) and adjust as needed.
Think about the specific benefits of your goals.
Simply setting (and resetting or adjusting) goals isn't quite enough. You also need to consider why you've set your goals.
To really improve the odds of making your goals for the year come true, take some time to daydream. Thinking about the specific things you could gain, such as money, power or success, can help make your goals more visceral and can help you stay committed to them. Visualizing and imagining what you hope to gain through your specific goals will act as a sort of mental carrot dangling in front of you which can help keep you inspired.
Break your goals down.
Let's call this the "get real" portion of setting goals. Most goals won't be realized overnight. To help maintain motivation, it can be extremely helpful to break down bigger goals into bite-sized portions. So, for instance, if your goal is to increase your overall income by 10 percent for the year, you might create specific plans for increasing your percentage every month, such as capitalizing on new marketing techniques or reaching out to a new market. Breaking your goals down into specific and deliberate milestones will make them more accessible and will give you many different moments at which to celebrate your progress!
Clear your mind.
It may seem counterintuitive, but taking a mental time-out can actually work wonders in helping you attain your goals. After all, you can't work all the time; at a certain point, you'll start to spin your wheels (or notice that you're spending more time on Facebook than actually working). So, take some time to clear your mind in the way that works best for you. Maybe it's working out. Maybe it's going for a road trip. Maybe it's 20 minutes of meditation. By taking the time to engage in an activity that helps clear the cobwebs from your mind, you'll be able to re-approach tasks with a fresh point of view.
Approach trends with caution.
Around this time of year, you see all sorts of "marketing trends of 2018" articles, which promise to offer you the secrets to improving your business. Unfortunately, many of them amount to little more than clickbait.
The fact is, trends come and go. It's simply their nature. So yes, be trend aware, but avoid falling into the trap of chasing trends.
Learn all you can.
Rather than following the latest marketing or business trend, focus on educating yourself on the world and the interactions of consumers and products. Ultimately, learning all you can about business and the world will help you think for yourself as an entrepreneur. This is how you can begin to adjust your mindset from that of a follower to a visionary. Wouldn't you rather be the one creating trends than one of the many who is following them?
Adjust your habits.
Now, it's time to get real with yourself. Turn inward and give yourself an employee review of sorts. What habits are serving you in helping you reach your goals? What other habits might be hindering you?
By taking stock of your habits both good and bad, you can begin to make the changes necessary to make your goals a reality. Work on building upon your good habits and work hard to diminish the bad ones. You'll see great benefits in your overall productivity and see your goals become closer than ever before.
Make time for what matters.
Family. Health. Friends. Travel. Where do these things fall on the spectrum of your priorities? Believe it or not, making your personal wellbeing a priority will work in your favor when pursuing career goals.
Truthfully, most of us don't want to achieve goals in our career solely to make our resumes more impressive. We want to attain those goals so we can enjoy a better quality of life. Working right now to make time for the things that matter in your life will help you stay motivated and inspired to pursue your goals.
Don't forget about pleasure.
To truly be great at any job, you need to have passions that are equal if not greater than your career. So what truly gives you pleasure? Is it reading? Yoga? Photography? Whatever it is, make time for it.
To many, pleasure may seem like a luxury you can't afford when you're trying to climb the career ladder. However, pursuing pleasurable activities, hobbies and passions, can actually help you pursue your goals. Every time you engage in an activity that gives you pleasure, it acts as a mental "reset" button, which allows you to approach your work with renewed vigor.
Regardless of your career and personal goals in the coming year, these tips can help you achieve them. By focusing on self-improvement, balance and positive motivation, you'll reap incredible gains in whatever goals you're pursuing.