Realistic Career Goals for 2016 – Goals that Stick or Goals that Fail? You Decide!

Realistic Career Goals for 2016 – Goals that Stick or Goals that Fail?  You Decide!

It is a stretch to be hopeful in Chicago during the month January.   However, it is the New Year and many possibilities are waiting for us in this untraveled year ahead.  Now would be a good time to make a few career goals.  More importantly how about making New Year resolutions that stick?    Not the ones you already know in the back of your mind you will flunk.  But easy to implement resolutions that can help you get ahead in your career while also improving your quality of life.   Is it that promotion you want, is it a career change, are you a college grad wanting a job, are you relaunching your career after staying home for your family, or are you looking for that perfect part time job.  Whatever your goal is stick to it.  Talk to everyone about your goal including; family and friends, people you see at the gym or people you sit with at your child’s basketball game.  The most unsuspecting person can help you reach your goal by giving you inspiration, hope and even better some valuable advice.   Make a list of things you need to do every day that can bring you closer to your goal.  It could be something as simple as reading 30-60 minutes a day about the industry you want to work in.  Hiring managers want employees who are knowledgeable about their fields.  Make a goal to attend a monthly networking meeting.  Attending networking meetings would be invaluable for anyone in the job market.  Networking meetings are abundant; Check in your local newspaper or search the web for your area.  Whatever your goal is make a realistic plan each week that brings you closer to your goal.  Each step counts!

Here are a few Career New Year Resolutions  from the Wall Street Journal  12/30/10:

1. Sign up for a magazine: Or a newsletter or an email list — anything that will help add to your knowledge. “People are not investing enough in their learning and development,” says Sushil Baveja, head of corporate human resources at DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd. a Delhi-based conglomerate.

Reading a technical journal could bring you up to speed with the latest in your field of work or a management newsletter could inform you of the best management practices. If you don’t get time during the week, dedicate some time over the weekend to catch up on this reading.

Mr. Baveja says that only 10% to 15% of employees and managers make an effort to continuously update themselves professionally, and they usually “edge out the rest.”

2. Add a skill or two: Don’t count on your company to always train you for new roles and challenges. Take matters into your own hands.

Figure out where you want to go in the next few years and what you need to get there. Maybe you need more people-management skills to get to the next level in your career, or some client-facing experience if you want to make it to a top managerial position.

Plan on adding up to three of those skills in 2011, either by taking on different roles or projects within your company or through external education. “Unless you upgrade your skills now, you’re not going to be saleable tomorrow,” says Dony Kuriakose, director of Edge Executive Search, a Delhi-based search firm.

3. Take a step toward time-management: Scores of books have been written on time-management. Organizing your time better can help you achieve your work goals, lower your stress levels, and boost your overall productivity.

In the New Year, consider taking one step toward better time-management. A good starting point is to learn how to prioritize.

Be “very clear about what’s urgent and what’s important,” says Anuraag Maini, head of human resources and training at Delhi-based DLF Pramerica Life Insurance Co. Once you make that distinction, it can help you plan your work day better.

If possible, consider planning for long periods of time, say three months in advance. This way, you can pace yourself and achieve your targets without running around at the last minute.

4. Join a trade association: We all know networking is important for numerous reasons – to be informed about potential jobs or to help improve your current job or even to help you find a mentor. This year, consider networking by joining a professional association. Plan on attending at least a couple of meetings in 2011. “That’s a good way to interact with your fellow professionals,” says Mr. Baveja.

5. Define a goal outside work: “Work-life balance” is an oft-used but elusive phrase for most people. One way to work toward this is to set a goal of what you want to do outside of work. Maybe you want to spend more time with your family or want to learn golf or simply catch up on some murder mystery books. Define the goal and then “move your schedule around,” says Mr. Maini.

He cites the example of a senior official in his company who leaves the office daily at a certain time to spend time with family and then checks his emails and calls later at night.

“The pull has to be powerful enough,” says Mr. Maini, otherwise you might not give it equal importance as work.

6. Set break reminders: In 2011, resolve to tackle or avoid the numerous health problems that besiege desk-tied workers around the world. Poor posture, lack of movement and the little exercise we get in our work-filled lives leaves us with back and muscle pain, poor eyesight and so on.

One easy way to resolve all of these problems is to take regular breaks, even if it’s five minutes in an hour. If you won’t remember to do this on your own, set reminders in your calendar. Also, be sure to add a lunch break or another longish break once or twice during an eight-hour workday.

Don’t forget to add some exercise to your list of things to do away from work!  If the only time you have available to work out is before work just remember with a little caffine to get you going  at 5:00 or 6:00 am anyone can work out!

7. Time with team-mates: If you’re a manager, one of your biggest tasks is to retain and motivate your team. For this you first need to understand your team-members’ aspirations and help them achieve it.

In 2011, you can start this process by spending more time with your team-mates. It could be in informal ways, like taking each of them out for coffee or sharing the lunch table with them. Or, you could try a more formal way, such as having a regular feedback meeting about their work and goals.

Plan on spending some time on this each week. This soft touch could go a long way in enhancing the productivity of your team.

Happy 2016!