New Year Priorites and Goals
For many women at work, goal setting is an annual practice to kick off the new calendar year. Starting the year with good intentions feels good, but how often do those intentions dissipate as time passes?
A goal without a plan is just a wish. If I set a goal to lose 10 pounds, but I don’t have a plan for how to achieve it, it is not going to magically happen (except maybe in my dreams). So, how can we increase our odds of success? Here are some suggestions for activating your goal-setting muscle.
Choose a theme for the year. I came across this idea several years ago listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier. I quickly embraced it for myself and in turn recommended it to my clients. Check out this recent Happier episode if this is a new concept for you.
My theme for 2022 is lighter. The past two years have felt heavy, and I am ready to inject more fun into my work and life. The theme for me means lighter physically, emotionally, metaphorically. I am already finding the theme useful as a north star to guide my actions. On the recent Pink Power Alliance Zoominar, participants shared their themes for the year. Here are a few examples: kindness, magic, harmony, balance, resilience, rebellion, faith, fun, peace, joy, embrace.
In setting goals, I encourage those I work with to expand their themes beyond career. We all have competing demands for our time and attention, and striving for life balance isn’t easy. Perhaps, a more realistic goal is to achieve work-life integration. Personal and professional lives can co-exist peacefully and are intrinsically interwoven. Consider goals across these six interrelated categories: financial, career and professional development, personal development, health and wellness, spirituality. Self-care, health, and wellness are at the top of many New Year’s resolutions as working women especially, struggle with managing stress and burnout.
Write it down. I’ve seen the act of documenting goals have a powerful impact. More than half of our participants in the recent Pink Power Alliance Zoominar said they don’t have a regular practice of setting goals, and this percentage is not uncommon. It can be intimidating to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). It doesn’t have to be high-tech. Pink speaker and The Coca-Cola Company’s Global Vice President of Talent and Development Tapaswee Chandele showed us a notebook where she records her goals for the year. Shirley Hughes, the owner of the hot new bakery Sweet Cheats, used a physical whiteboard to display her annual goals but found that overwhelming. Now she focuses on the micro-level with weekly and monthly goals.
Try writing down a broad goal for each of the six categories above. For example, maybe you have a professional development goal of adding a particular skill. You don’t yet know how or when, but at least you can write down the what. You can go back later and fill in the details. Perfection is not the goal but rather progress. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to documenting goals.
Assign goals by quarter. I encourage those I work with to add specificity around 90-day goals, to map out the year, and drop in goals they want to achieve by quarter. Even if your goal is taking a two-week vacation in June, it’s important to capture that because your time away will influence what else you can get done that month.
Track performance against goals. How many of us wear fitness trackers to count the number of steps we take each day but don’t do anything to track our career performance? You might be surprised how much you are accomplishing once you start keeping track! It can be as simple as jotting down (on paper or in a Word document) each success as you go. Annette Tirabasso, one of Pink’s Featured Coaches in attendance, keeps track of her “wins”. At the end of each quarter, you can summarize your accomplishments and roll over any incomplete items. Knowing your key accomplishments will pay dividends when your performance review rolls around.
If you struggle with follow-through or find yourself in reactionary mode, consider enlisting the support of a coach or accountability partner. It helps to have someone else encourage and keep us on track when we take a step backward or lose conviction. It doesn’t have to be just one person. In fact, it’s probably best to have multiple people on “your team”. One person might be a fitness partner while another supports your personal development goals.
Once you experience the benefits of setting and achieving your goals, you will be motivated to continue. It gives you a sense of controlling your journey and eliminates or reduces indecision as you head into the New Year!
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” T.S. Eliot
By Joyce Auskelis
Joyce Auskelis is a Career Strategist and founder and CEO of DefiningNEXT where she empowers individuals to proactively manage their careers. She has a deep understanding of a wide range of industries and job functions through prior leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and Deloitte. Joyce is a sought-after external advisor to hundreds of client organizations and individuals trying to “figure out what is next” in their career or life. She is a catalyst for positive change and derives great joy from helping others realize their full potential. For more, check out www.defininingnext.com and Joyce Chapman Auskelis – The Highlands Company.
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