January is already half way through.
How scary is that? The new month in the new year in your fresh new work diary probably has your neatly printed ‘to do’ lists and resolutions looking at you smugly from the page or screen.
Or perhaps you haven’t even got around to writing them yet. Never mind! It’s not too late to begin.
Whether you have a job, or run your own business, your work life will almost certainly feature in your plans for 2018.
Perhaps you are just starting out, or ready to take a step up. Maybe you’re even looking for a complete change of direction.
Whatever your situation, chances are your plans are little more than vague ideas at the moment.
If you already have your goals, objectives and strategies totally under control, then relax. You are way ahead of the pack.
If not, you are like most of us at this stage of the year, and you might appreciate a little nudge.
Try following this process, step by step:
SMART Steps to achieve your goals
Step 1: Revisit your ‘wish’ list.
Most people wish for more, and for greater success. Your list, even if it’s just in your head, probably reflects that. But how have you expressed it?
Does it include things like, “I wish I had a better job” or “I want more recognition” or “If only I could improve my sales figures”?
There are three major problems with “wish”, “want” and “if only” statements.
- They focus only on the end result. You should plan much smaller steps along the way. There’s no such thing as ‘overnight success’ or success by ‘wishing and hoping’.
Each step is important.
Each step takes time.
Each step requires commitment.
- Focusing on the end result makes the goal seem huge and overwhelming. The very last step seems a long way away. You’re faced with such a ‘big ask’, you are far more likely to abandon the goal altogether.
- This type of statement is far too vague.
When do you want ‘a better job’, and what does ‘better’ look like?
How do you define ‘recognition’, and what do you want to be recognised for?
What is your precise target for improving sales?
And here’s the big question: What’s your plan for achieving these goals?
To solve these three problems, you need SMART goals.
Step 2: Check your list to see how SMART it is.
A SMART goal gives you direction. It pushes you to ask (and answer) questions about exactly what you want. It prompts you to make definite plans to achieve your goals, rather than simply express your wishes and dreams.
A SMART goal is:
Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?
Measurable: How will you track your step-by-step progress and measure your success?
Attainable: Do you have the necessary abilities and resources to achieve each step?
Relevant: Is the goal purposeful and appropriate for you, in your particular situation?
Timely: When, exactly, will you achieve each progress step and the final goal?
Step 3 – Now write a SMART goal
A very worthwhile goal, especially at this time of the year, is to review and improve your résumé.
So be SMART about it.
Specific: Make sure that your résumé is up to date, that it states accurately all of your experience and skills, and that it is written and presented in a way that reflects your professional approach.
Measurable: First, show it to someone who knows your work, so that you can be confident that you have included everything. Then consult someone who can make sure you have represented yourself in the best possible way.
Attainable: You can achieve your goal by learning more about what makes a great résumé. If your ability to prepare one is a little shaky at the moment, seek help from experts. You can contact Those Comms People for advice about putting together a professional résumé, and a cover letter template
Relevant: Yes and yes! This goal is highly appropriate, and has a clear purpose. Everyone needs a current résumé. You never know when an ideal career opportunity will appear.
Timely: Now is the perfect time to start. Your goal also needs a completion time. Decide on it straight away, write it into your goal plan, and stick to it.
Remember the January list?
This goal – I will review and improve my résumé – should be on it. If not, put it there now, and transform it into a SMART goal.
It’s an ideal starting point. And when you’ve applied the SMART checklist to your resume, you can move on to the next item on your list. Here are some suggestions.
It’s already the middle of your new beginning … but the end is one step closer.
Start now! Get SMART.