New Year, New Goals: Hitting Meaningful Professional Goals
2018 is still a (mostly) blank page for all of us—which means this is the perfect time to plan out the year ahead and look at professional goals. Tackling a massive goal is possible, if you know the small steps you need to take that will enable you to meet it.
On that note, have you set aside time to sketch out your professional goals and the milestones you’ll need to reach to get there? (As a remote worker, you have more time for worthy pursuits than most of your office-bound colleagues.) Do you know what concrete tasks you’ll aim to complete this quarter and this year in order to work toward them?
No? Well, you’re in luck: the point of this post is to help you set professional goals and get on the fast track toward your next career milestone.
Read on for some ideas to help you reach your professional goals:
Start by visualizing your ideal professional future.
We’re not suggesting you attempt to look decades into the future; considering where you’d like to be near-term (as in, two years from now or less) is more helpful. It’s also an easier time-frame to grasp!
For example, you might want to run your own business by the end of next year, with a handful of long-term clients. Or you may wish to serve in an executive role at a distributed company. Think about what will work best with the lifestyle you desire—whether it’s more flexibility to be with your family, travel, or learn new skills.
Determine your key milestones by working backwards.
What milestones will help you get there? Now’s the time to dive into the details and outline the specific tasks you must do—or delegate. Assign realistic dates as deadlines for when you can expect to have achieved these milestones.
If your goal is the former, you’ll want to study the market, create content and build your own website, mine your network for contacts, and start prospecting for potential customers. If it’s the latter, you can prepare by identifying bigger projects with transferable skills that you can take on within your current role. Spearheading these will help demonstrate your leadership capabilities.
Dive into your to-do list!
Without taking action, the very best laid plans amount to little aside from a fancy spreadsheet. At this point, you’ve pinpointed the “what” that you need to accomplish to get you to the “where” you’d like to be.
Each of your key milestones contains smaller objectives along the way—let’s call them “skipping stones”—and these seemingly tiny or even tedious tasks are what bright futures are built upon. Cross your skipping stones (writing website copy, conducting research for a new project, etc.) off of your list, and you’ll not only be prepared for the next step toward your goal; you’ll actually feel more productive because you know they’re part of a bigger picture.
Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back.
Commitment isn’t for the weak. You’ll want to remain encouraged throughout the process, and the best way to do it is by celebrating your small wins along the way.
Landed that first client, or have yet another contract in negotiations? Did your boss accept your project proposal, or has your work recently made a positive impact on your current team? Any of the above (and more) are reasons to be proud of yourself, and to take a moment to reflect on your progress.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
By Kristi DePaul | Categories: Work Remotely