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How to Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve

Before your next performance review, sit down and set goals so you’re prepared and have actionable items ready to go – always a great way to impress your boss!

Your goals should be a balancing act between supporting your company’s mission and helping you grow in your career. If the goals you’re setting don’t do one of those two things, then they won’t be helpful to you, and you’ll be less likely to follow through with them.

7 Tips for Setting Achievable Goals

Setting goals sounds easy, but achieving them can be more difficult. When you’re ready to set your goals, follow these tips to make sure you set ones you know you’ll achieve.

1.     Understand Your Team

When you’re sitting down to write your goals, it’s important to know and understand the functions of everyone on your team and their relationships. This will help you write goals that not only help you be more productive, but also help your whole team be more productive and helpful to the entire company. You’ll be able to create goals that will better support your team members.

2.     Make Your Boss’s Job Easier

It might not be explicitly written in your job description, but part of your job is to make your boss’s life easier. Before you write your goals, sit down with your boss and ask them what you can do to make their job easier. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’re being proactive so they can get back to bigger picture projects.

3.     Focus on What You Can Control

You can’t control everything, especially if you’re setting goals that rely on other people or other departments. When you’re creating a plan for achieving your goals, have a clear plan for how you can achieve the goals you can control and have a clear communication plan for the goals that rely on other people.

4.     Think About Your Long-Term Career Goals

Just because you’re writing goal to achieve in your current job during the upcoming year, doesn’t mean you can’t think about your long-term career goals in the process. Figure out what skills and accomplishments you need to take the next step in your career. Write goals that help you gain those skills.

5.     Think About the Big Picture

Think beyond your daily tasks and your job description. You can add educational opportunities to your goals because continued learning can help you expand your responsibilities, which will help the company grow and will help you move forward in your career.

6.     Make Your Goals SMART

The best way to help you achieve your goals is to create SMART ones. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Make sure that it’s realistic to achieve yours during the time limit you set. If you set a bigger goal for yourself, consider breaking it up into smaller goals to make it more manageable and realistic.

7.     Review Last Year’s Goals

Pull out your goals from last year and look at what you completed and what went unfinished.

Determine why you didn’t accomplish some – was it because your job description changed and those were no longer relevant? Were the goals too lofty and it just wasn’t possible to complete them in time?

Look at the goals that you were able to accomplish. Did they help you grow? Did they help your company grow?

Use last year’s goals as a starting point for this year’s goals. If you weren’t able to accomplish a goal last year because it was bigger than you thought it would be, set that goal again this year, but break it up into more manageable pieces.

If your goals will help you and your company grow, instead of just giving you something to do every day, you’ll be more motivated to accomplish them.