Time for yearly work goals? Here’s how to pick them and stick to them

Career coach Hannah Salton says, “Speak candidly with your manager to understand what they expect of you.”

Seksan Mongkol Kamsao | Moments | Getty Images

As the new year begins, resolutions are everywhere, and the workplace is no exception.

Many companies ask employees to set goals as part of their assessment during this time, but setting achievable goals can be difficult.

This process can feel overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you’re new to the company and employees.

But it’s important for your career, says Rosemary McLean, director of Career Innovation Company, which provides career and business strategy support.

“Goal setting is often an integral part of business life when trying to achieve results,” she told CNBC’s Make It.

check in

Before setting specific goals, it’s important to ask both your manager and yourself, says career coach Hannah Salton.

“Speak candidly with your manager to understand what they expect from you,” she told CNBC’s Make It. Considering how it can help you develop your skills, Salton added.

It will be uncomfortable, but please do not overdo it

Other factors to consider before setting goals, experts say, include focusing on transferable skills that could be useful or warrant advancement in different industries and roles. .

That requires setting ambitious goals, career coach Alice Stapleton told CNBC’s Make It.

“Goals need to feel a little bit out of your comfort zone and maybe dig deeper,” she says, adding that one way to do this is to set goals that force you to learn something completely new. I added that it is to be set.

When you think about your goals that way, a lot of different ideas can come to mind. Rather than spreading yourself thin, McLean says it’s also important to narrow them down and focus on your choices, which could include setting goals of varying difficulty. there is, she suggests.

And when it finally comes down to actually setting goals, Stapleton says the so-called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound) approach can help.

take responsibility for yourself

Having such a clear plan also helps with accountability, experts say. Thinking about goals throughout the year, not just in terms of assessments, is another way to do that, Salton says.

“Set aside personal check-in times, such as 30 minutes each week to reflect on progress and set small goals for the week ahead,” she says.

Stapleton also shares that view. She suggests setting short-term goals to help you work toward your long-term goals and having them as visual reminders. You can hang it on your desk or use it as your desktop background.

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed or think you’re so used to looking at your goals on a daily basis that you might end up missing them, McLean has another idea. Self check-in.

“It’s important to find time throughout the year to intentionally work on your career, so blocking time on your calendar to do this can work,” she says.

get the support you need

Another great way to make sure you’re on track, experts say, is to ask your boss or colleagues for help. Enrolling in training courses, collaborating on projects, learning from each other, and joining the company’s mentor program are among the ways to do that, they add.

Communication is essential if you want to make the most of these opportunities, Salton says.

“As the year progresses, be honest with your manager about whether you think your goals will be met. If not, try to be specific about the additional support you need to succeed,” she adds. increase.

But support can also come in a more personal form, says McLean.

“Some people offer different types of support, such as information, praise, boosting confidence, and suggesting ways to overcome setbacks,” she says.

Ultimately, though, goals are a great way to progress at work, but it’s important to remember that they’re not the only thing that matters.

“It’s also a great opportunity to explore how you grow and want to grow,” McLean says.

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