With the year almost half over, it’s time to size up your progress.
Your career may look like an amusement park, and you might feel like you’re stuck in a line that’s barely moving. Or maybe you rode one roller coaster only to see the other rides (goals) differently.
Just how far along are you on your career goals for this year? And what can you do now to assure that by fall, you’ll have advanced a couple of them, whether you’re looking for a new employer or to launch a side business or land a new client?
A mid-year review of your professional and personal career goals can help you refocus your energies and establish new mini-goals to advance them. “Do not avoid the topic,” said Susan Heathfield, About.com guide to human resources.
Here are seven steps for assessment and renewed engagement on your plans:
- Write down your goals. “When you write them down, you are committing” to them, Heathfield said. Without a written record of them, “you sort of let yourself off the hook.”
- Clarify what you really want. Take time to consider what really matters and what is not so important, six months later. Decide which goals you could abandon and which ones are crucial. Pick a No. 1 and No. 2 goal and start visualizing what success would look like when you achieve them.
- Measure what you’ve accomplished so far. Count the number of networking events you’ve attended. Go back and see how many letters of praise you’ve received (and how many of those have been forwarded to your boss). How many blog posts have you written, or have ready to post when you launch? How many potential clients have you approached? What else have you accomplished that wasn’t on your official list? Write down your stats and status updates.
- Break down your top priorities into small parts. Some people find it helpful to put a weekly reminder on their calendar to check on their goal or to move it forward, said Heathfield. Others like clear action steps mapped out or written into a file.
- Uncover your motivations. Sometimes we forget the real reasons we want a promotion or a new client. If those are the means to a beautiful honeymoon or a way to pay for your kid brother’s college costs, make that emotional connection clear to yourself again.
- Reward yourself. If you’ve achieved one of your goals, it’s time to celebrate. And a Facebook post does not really equal a celebration. Go out for a sundae or take your goal buddy out for an afternoon of jet-skiing.
- Take a break. “Think about other things that are important in life,” she said. You can become burned out if you have applied for jobs non-stop while working full time. So give yourself a week away to savor summer, friends, recreation, life. That will help recharge your batteries – and make it easier to reconnect to your goals.
Some people will find that by mid-year, they’ve checked off many of their goals. If that’s true, then they need to establish some new ones – and make them as high as the giant Ferris Wheel at the state fairs this summer. Others may be disappointed to see how little they have accomplished. They need to buy some new tickets to success, and take along a goal-buddy or career coach for accountability on the ride to success.
Vickie Elmer regularly contributes articles on careers and small business to the Washington Post. She has collected a slew of journalism awards, large and small. Her career and workplace articles also have appeared in Fortune, Parents, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, the Financial Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday and many more. She has been called “dazzling,” “incredibly competitive” “creative” and “prolific and feisty” by those who work with her. Elmer is the mother of three children and the co-owner of Mity Nice, a start-up that employs teens to sell Italian ice and sweet treats from a shiny silver cart in Ann Arbor, Mich. An active volunteer, she encourages kindness and creativity and embracing change, and she blogs and tweets under the moniker WorkingKind.