3 Tips For Setting Achievable Career Goals In The New Year

Professional woman thinking about the tips to setting achievable career goals

At one point or another, we're probably all guilty of declaring ourselves to New Year's resolutions with full enthusiasm, only to fail miserably by the end of January. What exactly occurs in those four weeks that leads us from one extreme to another?

One moment, we're buying brand new planners, starting gym memberships, and then feeling overwhelmed and indifferent with no motivation to continue these goals that, by the way, we created.

Perhaps this cycle doesn't apply to you and you're savvy at setting goals and staying committed to them. But, have you asked yourself—are you setting goals the right way? For both successful and unsuccessful goal-setters, here are three tips for establishing achievable career goals in the New Year.

Make Sure The Goals You Set Are Actually Your Own

Professional woman thinking about her career goals


What does this even mean? Well, humans are social creatures by nature. We tend to look to those around us for confirmation on what we feel is acceptable or attainable. We may face pressures from family, friends, or colleagues that inadvertently influence our next professional or personal move.

Cutting past the fluff—think about a time right now where you were coerced into doing something that you didn't want to do. What was it and why did you make that decision?

We forget that goals are essentially a series of smaller decisions that we make for ourselves. So, if you could create one career goal right now, what would it be?

  • Do you want to make more money by next year because you feel that you need a more affluent lifestyle to be happy? Or, because you sincerely need the increase to help support your family?
  • Do you want to change careers because of family influence or inner-passion?
  • Do you want that promotion because it makes you look good or because you really feel excited about taking on more responsibility in your current role?

Goals are labeled personal for a reason—they should apply directly to what you need and want, not what others see fit for you.

Give Yourself A Chance To Differentiate Between Unrealistic And Attainable

Professional man setting realistic career goals


This one can fall through the cracks pretty easily, because we often set ambitious goals for ourselves that are failures in disguise. However, when you're able to create reasonable goals that are achievable in a healthy, allotted time frame, you're more likely to stick with them long-term.

For example: If you want to learn a new skill or become certified in a new program, research the time it will take to complete. Then, take your schedule and daily routine into account—how much time can you actually dedicate to learning this new skill?

Remember: Just because a goal takes you longer to achieve than someone else, it doesn't make you any less intelligent or wonderful. You have to move at your own pace to prevent burnout.

"X" The Trepidation Out

Professional woman creating achievable career goals without fearing failure


Think about some of those most influential people of our time: J.K. Rowling, Oprah, or Steve Jobs? Now, imagine if J.K. Rowling gave up on her Harry Potter series after the 2nd or 3rd or 4th publisher rejection? In fact, it took her 12 publishers to finally get the opportunity to bring the world-wide phenomenon we've come to love to life. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in his early career because he had a reputation for being difficult to work with. Oprah also faced adversity, including severe abuse, but still kept faith in her journey. She dropped out of college to pursue her first televised role, transitioning into the television personality we all respect today.

It is true, without a doubt, that we can accomplish great things when we leave our comfort zones. Although we're not asking you to go bungee jumping off an airplane, we hope that you'll be open to exploring a new horizon, whatever it may be—a personal trainer, career change, or new hobby.

Brainstorm: What is one professional avenue you want to take but fear?

  • Do you want to network with a new department and transition out of your current role, but are nervous on the steps it will take?
  • Perhaps you want to ask for a raise but do not feel valuable enough?
  • Or, maybe you're just confused and feel stuck in your 9-5 job?

If you've read this far and thought to yourself, "I just don't know what my career goals should be, let alone how to approach a hard conversation with a co-worker," read further.

Work It Daily has career coaches that can help you with big questions like, "Should I go back to school to further my career?" and smaller dilemmas like, "I have a difficult coworker and just don't know how to handle this professionally?"

We're here to listen, help, and provide resources to help you move forward. How do you want to move forward with the New Year and why? Are YOU ready to take the next step?