How to Set Career Goals for a New Season

How to Set Career Goals for a New Season
by Kelly Poulson
September 23, 2016
Kelly Poulson is a Career Contessa mentor. You can book a one-on-one session with her to discuss your own career goals. 
It’s beginning to get cooler outside, the sun is setting earlier, and there are plenty of sales on stationary.
For a lot of us, our official “back to school” days are over. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get a fresh start each fall like all of the students out there. It’s a perfect time of year to revisit your goals, both professional and personal! Don’t wait for New Year’s day. Get a jump on everyone else who won’t be focused on this work until year end.

Remember how far you’ve come

Oftentimes, we’re not tracking what we’re working towards and never acknowledge the milestones along the way. Take time to celebrate what you have accomplished! No doubt you’ve done a lot over the course of the year. Give yourself props for both large and small accomplishments. Change is pretty darn difficult after all. Don’t forget to give yourself the hard earned pat on the back you deserve. It’s a great way to kick off revisiting goals and to get you energized to create more and perhaps push yourself even further.  
Build the habit before you go for broke. It significantly increases the likelihood of success.

Brainstorm and Set your Sights on What’s Next

Once you’ve celebrated your many successes, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to build upon them. Now is the time to look towards the future. There are a variety of ways you could get started. Why not try a visioning exercise or do some brainstorming? Different approaches are all over the place these days, but a few personal favorites are the passion roadmap in Passion Planner or a life audit. Whatever method you choose, be certain to give yourself the time and space to really dig in. What’s the use if you’re rushing through it in a quick session and frazzled about other things? This work is important and deserves your focus! If you’re looking for some potential thought starter ideas, check this out.

Make a plan

Now that brainstorming has clearly pointed you in the right direction, it’s time to plan, friends. Goals alone won’t do the trick. Break goals down into smaller chunks and attach timing and deadlines to them. People are much more effective at achieving their goals when they attach meaningful dates and break actions down into smaller pieces. For instance, you want to run a marathon in fall of 2017. You don’t start running 26 miles on day one, silly. You might start walking a few times a week. Build the habit before you go for broke. It significantly increases the likelihood of success.

Ask for Support

You don’t have to go it alone! People are much more likely to achieve goals if they’ve got support systems in place. That support can come in a lot of ways: gym buddy, boss, mentor, friend. Use the network that you’ve got to find the right partners for you. Ask them to help you on your journey. It couldn’t hurt if you were also willing to do the same in return. Having someone to cheer you on, hold you accountable or call your bluff is really key when chasing your goals.

We might not be heading back to class, but setting and working towards your goals is a great way to learn as well. About yourself. Revisiting goals isn’t an easy process. But, it can be inspirational and (dare I say it?) fun if you go about it the right way. This year, channel your excitement for fall into building a plan for yourself. Whatever your approach, don’t forget to shoot for the stars and go all in. 
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Do you set seasonal goals? How?