How to set career goals

Whether you’ve just started your career or are now considered part of the furniture, it’s important to not only have career goals, but to reassess them regularly to ensure you’re reaching your full potential. 

There are three types of goals: outcome goals, process goals and performance goals, and when combined can help you achieve your career goals. 

Outcome goals

Outcome goals are the results you hope to achieve in the end. With outcome goals you can take steps to influence the results, but ultimately, it’s out of your control. For example, you could have an outcome career goal to become a manager or director. 

You can take steps to be considered for the position, but it’s out of your hands as you don’t do the hiring.

Process goals

Process goals are the behaviours and strategies you put in place to help you achieve your outcome goals.

For example, if it’s your goal for financial independence whatever your salary, apply the 50-30-20 rule to your earnings, and you’ll soon find managing your money much easier, and your savings will increase too. 

Process goals are within your control and increase the chances of achieving your desired outcome goal. 

Performance goals

Performance goals set the standards we perform the process goals and are measured by tangible results. For example, a process goal could be to make 10 sales calls a day, a performance goal would be to convert 3 sales calls a day in to paying customers. 

Meeting performance goals on your process goals is the surest way to achieve your outcome goals. 

SMART goals

Any goal you set needs to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely and combined with outcome, process and performance goal will increase the success rate of your career goal. 

Long-term and short-term goals

It’s important when setting out your career goals you consider long and short-term goals. Long-term goals are useful for keeping you motivated and should be discussed with your manager. Not only will this help you stay on track but demonstrate to your manager your long-term potential too.

A word of caution though: if your long-term goal is too big, it can seem too far removed, and unattainable. Instead break your long-term goal down into shorter goals and celebrate each milestone. 

Whatever your career goals, it’s important to speak about them with your colleagues and managers- this too could be a goal of yours if you currently don’t openly communicate, as they are the people that will help you achieve your goals too. Remember, it takes discipline and time to accomplish anything worthwhile. 

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