how to set long term goals

The first step in accomplishing anything meaningful in life is to determine what it is you want to do. Your career is no different. If you want to end up in a satisfying position in your career, you will need to define for yourself what your objective is. Setting career goals is an important start to achieving your vision. Knowing how to set goals well will help you achieve that vision and set you on the right path.

Visualization Defines Reality

A career in professional sports is one of the most pragmatic and concrete professions there is. You check the scoreboard at the end of the game, and either you have more points than the other individual or team or you don’t. So why does such a pragmatic profession devote so much energy to visualizing success? Because it works. Those who can visualize achieving their objectives are much more likely to accomplish them.

Start with visualizing what career success looks like to you. Does it mean achieving a position within a certain company? Is it obtaining a certain salary number? Whatever it is you picture when you think about success, that’s your starting place for defining your career goals.

Make Your Goals Specific

While you are picturing success, dig a little deeper. If success equates to a high salary, what is that number? Vague answers aren’t enough to motivate success, because it’s impossible to measure your progress in achieving them. Make your goals as specific as possible, laying out time frames, dollar amounts, a specific company or position that you want, and anything else that helps make success meaningful to you.

Write Down Your Goals

how to set goalsStudies show time and again that we are more likely to pursue written goals to completion. Something about the act of writing the goal on paper brings it out of the realm of wishful thinking for us and makes it a concrete, achievable objective. Write down that goal and put it somewhere you are sure to see it every day. Perhaps the bathroom mirror, stuck on the front of your refrigerator, or next to your front door. Keep that goal always in front of you where you can see it.

Set Targets Along the Way

It is easy to become discouraged in the middle of pursuing a long-term goal. Success breeds success. Created targeted milestones along your path to your overall goal; this gives you a benchmark for measuring your progress. Checking off short-term objectives along the way provides encouragement to keep pushing toward your ultimate goal.

Remain Flexible

What was important to you at 20, might seem unattractive at 30. At the pace of change in the world today, the position you hoped to achieve ten years ago may be obsolete by tomorrow. Take time on a regular basis to re-evaluate your goals. Be willing to change as you progress through your career.

Challenge Yourself

You should have realistic goals, but if the goal is too easy, you are less likely to find the motivation to achieve it. Set goals that challenge you; goals that you have to stretch to meet. Too often we underestimate ourselves and so don’t accomplish all we might have. Set a goal that feels just a little out of reach, and the feeling you get from accomplishing it will be so much the sweeter.

Everyone works hard to achieve but setting goals channels that hard work in the right direction, so you can achieve more.

Additional Resources:

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