The Importance of Setting Goals

Picture of Notebooks

I think that setting goals is an important thing to do if you want to progress in your career and there are a few ways to use goal-setting that I have found useful. A study by California’s Dominican University showed that when goals were written down there was a 42 percent success rate. Pretty good huh! Detail is key though and you need to be specific about what you want to achieve and by when. Ever heard of SMART targets? When I was training to be a teacher it was part of the teacher-training lingo and it’s used in many organisations. I use it in my teaching as well as in my own life. So how can you start becoming a goal-setting go-getter? Here are a few ways that have helped me.

The Notebook
I love notebooks. Any excuse to buy a beautiful shiny new one. Who didn’t love buying new stationary at the beginning of term? Sorry, I digress. Putting your goals down on paper is important so start today. Write down what you want to achieve. Of course, we live in the digital age so you don’t have to use good ol’ fashioned pen and paper. Committing your goals to computer or your SMART phone (see what I did there) is also fine.

When you have written down your goals e.g. ‘I want to become the manager’,’I want to get super-fit’ or ‘I want to write a novel’ you need to expand upon them and be super-specific. This is where SMART comes in. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound.

Is your goal specific and clear? Sometimes the goals we set can be vague at the outset so being as clear as possible is key. If you want a better job or you want a promotion, when do you want it by? It’s better to write, ‘I want a promotion’ by (month) than just ‘I want a promotion’.

How will you know when it has been achieved? You need criteria by which to measure your goals.

Ask yourself whether it is attainable and if not, how can you make it so? If you have just started a job and you want to be a manager in two months that may not be attainable. Don’t set the bar too high.

I believe dreams can come true but I also believe we have to work super-hard to achieve whatever dreams we have. Set targets to achieve each month.

Time Bound
Have a time by which you want to achieve certain goals and check-in on them from time to time to see where you are on your journey. We are a work in progress though so if you look back and review your goals and see that things are moving at a slightly different pace, that’s OK. Just review and revise!

I have found goal-setting to be a real motivation booster and I hope they can help you too on your journey to achieving your dreams. Have you used SMART targets or other goal-setting tricks to achieve your dreams? I would love to hear.

Want to read more about goal-setting? Check out these other great articles on the subject.

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