Project Objectives
May 20, 2021

5 tips to help you identify & achieve your professional goals

By Brian McHale

We all needs goals in life. And whether they’re personal or professional, it’s important that we set ourselves up for success.

Once we’ve decided what our goals are, we want to turn them into reality.

Setting professional goals can improve our performance both in the short and long-term.

And the best results are achieved when we framework our goals into actionable steps for success.

In this article we’re going to be talking about the positive impact that targeted goal setting can have on your professional career and, most importantly, how to identify and achieve those goals.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

 

What are career goals?

Career goals are simply work-oriented aspirations.

You might want to think of them as your professional milestones.

Having goals keeps us focused towards achieving bigger and better things in our professional lives.

Now, that doesn’t mean that every professional goal has to be big or grand. Both short and long-term goals are important for success.

Whilst you’ll probably want to set some big picture goals – getting that raise or promotion, for example – the smaller steps are equally as important.

After all each step is a step closer to your ultimate ambition.

And having short term milestones in place is a great way to hold yourself accountable and keep moving forward.

 

How setting goals can positively impact your professional career

Setting goals can have a positive impact on your career.

Goals help us remain focused, measure progress, and actually improve our productivity.

And setting a clear framework for your goals is the way to go.

Did you know that individuals are 42% more likely to achieve goals when they are physically recorded?

Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of goal setting at work.

 

Goal setting helps you stay focused

Direct your efforts and energy into what really matters.

Setting specific, targeted, strategic goals is one of the best ways to stay focused and on track at all times.

When you go into a project with intention then you’re already on your way to delivering your intended results.

Setting goals reduces distractions, tangents, and keeps you efficient every step of the way.

 

It makes it easier to measure progress

It can sometimes be hard to know if you’re actually on track to meeting your goals.

Measuring your progress at periodic intervals is a great way to keep tabs on your progress.

What can you measure regularly that directly relates to your goals?

For example, if you’ve been put in charge of your company’s SEO planning for the quarter you might consider setting yourself a lead generation target for each month.

With Project Central you can keep your tasks organized in one simple and easy-to-use dashboard.

Perfect for eliminating clutter and focusing on the tasks at hand.

My Tasks - Groups

 

And holds us accountable for our actions

When we commit to tangible goals, we’re forced to take responsibility for our actions and outcomes.

Both good and bad. And after all that’s how we learn, grow, and ultimately succeed.

When we set meaningful and measurable goals, we’re more likely to hold ourselves to them.

 

Goal setting keeps us motivated

Take a step back for a moment and ask yourself what makes you feel motivated?

Chances are achievement is one of your motivating factors.

That could mean running a marathon or reaching a quarterly goal.

Either way, the end goal is what keeps us motivated and satisfied with our work.

Whether you’re working on a short-term project – perhaps you’ve been asked to take the lead on your company’s quarterly content strategy – or a long-term journey, goals are key to getting there.

 

It shows that we are responsible employees

Consistently setting and achieving professional goals is a great way to demonstrate that you’re a responsible employee and valuable team member.

Reaching both short and long-term goals is a great indication of a person’s ability to manage tasks, projects, and people.

In other words, it’s a key indicator of professional success.

So, if you’re hoping to take some extra project management responsibilities, proving your ability to meet professional goals, will help you stand out from your coworkers and win those leadership roles.

 

And encourages us to become better

Consistently setting professional goals is like working out your professional muscles.

When we regularly set new goals that challenge us to achieve bigger and better things, we become better.

Goal setting is a key indicator of career advancement.

After all, goal setters are actively improving their skills with every new accomplishment.

 

Ultimately, goals make us more productive

Last but not least, goals make us more productive overall.

Having a goal to work towards is the best way to maintain a consistent level of focus.

And here’s a pro-tip for you. Once you’ve identified your key goal, dissect it down into smaller, bite-size goals that feel less daunting.

That way you can maintain your progress without feeling overwhelmed or burned out by the bigger picture.

With Project Central project managers can easily set priority tasks for their individual team members.

Perfect for breaking down a project into actionable goals and objectives each day.

Free Project Plan Template in Excel

Click to download our Free Project Plan Template in Excel to begin simplifying your project management.

How to identify and achieve your professional goals

So, we know exactly why goal setting is so useful.

But how can we go about identifying – and then actually achieving – professional goals on a regular basis?

Well, that’s a great question.

And one many professionals will end up asking themselves at one point or another.

It’s one thing talking about goal setting and another thing entirely actually meeting our goals.

But don’t worry. We’ve got your back.

We’re going to help you set and smash your own epic goals.

Before we get started, if you’ve not heard of SMART then listen up. Make sure that your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Action-Based, Relevant & Time-Based.

The SMART method is a fool-proof strategy for building realistic, productive, actionable goals.

You can check out our previous blog post on the topic right here.

It’s time to identify and achieve the SMART goals that work for you.

And here’s how!

 

Identify your passion

Wherever possible it’s best to align your goals with your passions.

That way you’ll be more inclined to stay motivated and put your all into the process.

Whether you’re setting a grand career goal or a quarterly goal find a special something that brings out your inner gusto.

 

Figure out your strengths & weaknesses

Take into account your strengths and weaknesses.

Self-awareness is key.

We need to know where we shine, and where we struggle.

Your goals should align with your strengths but also strengthen your weaknesses.

Remember, goal setting is about growth – personal and professional.

If you’re not entirely sure where you stand when it comes to your strengths and weaknesses, it’s worth having a discussion with a colleague or supervisor who you know you well and that you trust.

Failing this, you could even think back to your latest performance review.

What did your manager praise you for?

Which areas did they identify as having room for improvement?

Once you’ve identified your individual skill-set take a moment to reflect.

Setting goals means taking on new challenges.

And that’s great.

Challenging ourselves is how we learn and grow.

But be wary. Everyone has their limit.

Prioritize balance and sustainability.

Ask yourself how much pressure you can realistically take on.

There’s no point burning yourself out in the process.

 

Identify the ‘why?’

This one’s super important. All goals need a clear ‘why?’.

All that means is that you should have a clear reason why you want (or need) to achieve that particular goal.

For example, perhaps you have been placed in charge of this month’s website audit.

You’ve taken on the role of project manager and your goal is to optimize the content strategy. Your ‘why?’ might be that web traffic over the previous quarter was low and needs improvement.

This one’s a simple concept but super important.

 

Regularly review your progress

With your goals identified, it’s time to deliver.

One of the best ways to stay on track to achieving your goals is to review your progress regularly.

It’s a good idea to schedule in regular personal and team performance reviews throughout the duration of a project to ensure that you’re on your way to achieving your goals.

Not only will this keep you on track, but you’ll enjoy a renewed sense of motivation as you see yourself making progress in real terms.

Creating a project template is a great way to hold yourself accountable and monitor progress.

With Project Central project managers can create new project templates in a matter of seconds and get to work straight away with project files, activity reviews and gantt charts all accessible from an intuitive and easy-to-use project dashboard.

Project Tasks

 

Set measurable goals

Last but not least, remember to set those all-important measurable performance goals.

Every new professional goal should be backed up by a series of measurable performance goals to keep you and your teams on track.

Having a way to quantify your progress is so important for maintaining drive and assessing whether or not you’re on track to meeting your final goal at the end of a project.

 

Project management goals – top examples

As an occasional project manager, setting goals is part-and-parcel of life.

Whether you’re venturing out to manage your first ever project or an old-hand, there’s always room for growth.

Project management is all about setting actionable short-term goals that support larger long-term outcomes.

Identify clear professional goals in order to hone your management style and achieve bigger and better results with every new project.

Here are some examples.

 

Goal 1: Learn to use new technologies

In the age of digitization, it’s never a bad idea to become more technologically literate.

Technology is now an integral part of every business process.

And even more so since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

Learning to use a new management tool is a fantastic goal to set yourself.

If you’ve got a project to manage in the near future, Project Central is a simple and intuitive project management software perfect for teams using Office365.

With this new tool at your fingertips, you’ll be able to manage your team with increased efficiency, seamless integrations, and data-driven reporting to help set those all-important measurable goals.

 

Goal 2: Improve networking & collaboration skills

Networking and collaboration are essential.

But many of us still lack confidence in these areas.

Think about how you could improve your communication style.

Perhaps you have found presentations difficult in the past, or need to get equipped to hosting online meetings.

Whatever it be, make improving your collaboration skills one of your first and foremost professional goals.

Now, since this is quite a generalized goal, it’s a good idea to cut it down into actionable steps.

For example:

  • Learn to use video-conferencing software
  • Attend more conferences and webinars
  • Find a local business meetup group.

 

Goal 3: Get better at time management

Last but not least, let’s talk time management.

Unless you’re some kind of robotic enigma, there’s no doubt that your time management needs improving.

Our professional lives can be super hectic.

And even the most organized of us don’t get it right all the time.

Think of some ways to improve your timekeeping and set some actionable goals to help you improve.

That could mean trying the pomodoro method, reducing distractions, or perhaps trying out a time tracking or project management software such as Project Central’s in-built project tracking tool.

Smash those goals out the park

You’re ready to smash those goals out the park.

Setting professional goals is so important for growth and development.

Goals help us grow and learn as individuals whilst keeping on track to achieving bigger and better things.

If you’ve been tasked with managing a team of your own, try setting yourself some short-term actionable steps that will help you hone your project management skills for the future.

And remember, measurable steps make for memorable outcomes.

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