It’s easy to come up with a list of career resolutions – the hard part is keeping them. That’s because people often dilute their attention by setting too many goals, or become overwhelmed trying to reach a major goal in one big jump where they’d be better off pursuing a series of small sequential steps that lead to a major achievement.
Career objectives differ from personal resolutions like losing weight or starting an exercise program. In those, you have total control over the outcome. So when developing career goals, be sure not to factor luck or the actions of others into your plans.
Limit of Three
If you try to accomplish too many goals at once, you’ll be unable to meet any of them. Dedicating your time and energy to just one goal at a time is probably the best strategy for busy professionals.
You might want to land a new job or launch into a new technical specialty, but there are probably a series of small steps you need to take to reach that milestone. Break down major objectives into actionable tasks. Revise them frequently so you can track your journey toward your ultimate goal.
Don’t adopt a career goal that hinges on the actions of others, like getting a promotion or a raise. Opt instead for goals that are within your control, like earning a certification or preparing yourself for a managerial role. Then you can create another goal – like changing companies if you’re unsuccessful getting that promotion or raise.
Put your short list in a prominent place and revise it frequently. Don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching your interim steps. Enter into an agreement with a supportive and trusted colleague who’ll encourage you to stay the course if you encounter obstacles along the way.
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman