Goals not only serve as guideposts along your career path but also are tools for motivation and evaluation. As such, setting effective goals and continuing toward them is essential to workplace success and well-being. The tips below, compiled from business and lifestyle experts, will help ensure that your road to career success is as seamless as possible.
Rather than attempting big goals, like getting a major promotion or winning the most coveted account, psychologist Joan Rosenberg, Ph.D., says to start with the smallest goal you are willing to commit to, whether it is attending one career-enriching event a quarter or increasing sales by a small percentage each month. Be specific! Vague goals like “take more initiative” are less motivating and very difficult to measure. Once you’ve knocked out a few smaller goals, start to slowly attempt bigger and bigger ones.
See the positive
When a goal takes longer to complete or simply doesn’t go as anticipated, many people get discouraged and lose their drive. After you reconfirm that the goal and associated timeline are realistic, stop and appreciate all that you have achieved rather than focusing on all that you have not yet accomplished.
Feel the feelings
Negative self-talk is often an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable physical sensations that underlie difficult feelings linked to past failures or painful experiences. Instead of just replaying a painful memory, really allow yourself to sit in the emotion. Not only will you gain insight that you can put to immediate use, but you’ll also become less anxious and, in turn, more focused on your goals.
Roger Love, voice coach to the stars, says that co-workers judge your emotional state by how your voice sounds. Speak loudly, clearly and evenly. Finish your sentences with periods, not question marks. Limit caveats (e.g., I’m still working on this but) and fillers (e.g., basically, a little, almost). Sounding more confident will cue your listeners to see you as confident. This, in turn, will actually make you feel confident in both the goals you set and your ability to reach them.
Set aside 10 minutes at the start and end of each day. In the morning, create a short gratitude list and set intentions for what you’d like to achieve. Post-work, think about any wins for the day and recall any recognition or compliments you received. If there were things you wish you’d handled better, replay them in your head with the desired response. And, as Michelle Garside of Soul Camp warns, try not to bring issues from the previous day into the new day.
Feed your soul
Garside believes that achieving goals requires your optimal self. And being your best self requires setting aside nonnegotiable time for whatever feeds your soul, be it hitting the gym, seeing a movie with your spouse or getting outside for a walk. While it may feel like you don’t have time for these outside-the-office diversions, they are essential for keeping you focused, creative and productive when inside the office.
Embrace the possibility of failure
Happiness expert Petra Kolber believes that achieving goals means taking risks. In an effort to avoid failure, people often set small goals they’re confident they can achieve. This ultimately prevents growth, making for a more limited and more isolated experience. She says to release the idea that you can control everything, ask for help when you need it, and sometimes force yourself to say yes to opportunities even before you know you’re ready. And if you do fail, keep in mind that negative results are valuable learning tools.
Use worst-case-scenario planning
Entrepreneur Mel Abraham is a fan of imagining the worst. He says that thinking of everything that can go wrong en route to a particular goal, and finding solutions for each potential obstacle before you even start the journey, mitigates some of the risk associated with more substantial undertakings.
Here are four mental tricks to employ to accomplish any goal you’ve set.
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